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Retention of Ringers

  • There is no substitute for experience.

Recent Developments in Coaching Pip Penney October 9th 2008

  • “The right environment can change a person with undeveloped ability into

a talented one”. Shinichi Suzuki

David Brailsford, Performance Director of the British Cycling Team at the 2008 Olympics stated “Each cyclist was put through his Foundation Stones, a list of individual items which affect overall performance”.

Good, accurate foundation skills are what a learner builds on later to fully develop his performance. In ringing these are bell handling / ringing style, bell control, listening skills, striking skills and an accurate understanding of theory.

These should be taught in a careful graded way so as to make each further level easier to achieve. Each learner will progress at his own pace.

It is the responsibility of the coach to ensure that the tuition given is not only stimulating, constructive and enjoyable but also based on sound, correct principles.

How can we apply these principles in ringing?

Difficulties of Building Adequate Foundation Skills within Traditional Ringing Training

As soon as a learner can handle a bell it is traditional for him to attend Ringing Practice where he will develop his bell control, listening skills and start to pick up an understanding of “ringing jargon”. Can we ensure that he is having a “stimulating, constructive and enjoyable experience”, and getting enough time handling the rope to develop his basic skills well, if he is sitting on a bench for one and a half hours with only 2 or 3 goes on the rope. Later, he can make use of this time to follow other ringers or learn new methods but initially there is a great risk that he will not be fully engaged and may lose interest. No one wishes to continue a new activity that he is finding boring. In most other activities the new learner would be engaged for the majority of the session. Think of everything from a tennis lesson, an orchestra rehearsal, a step class, football training, line dancing or going to the gym. In each of these the learner is occupied and kept active for the whole session. He does not have to sit around and wait for others to take their turn; his interest can be maintained throughout, and it is evident to the learner that the session is arranged for his benefit. If the teaching sessions are learner-centred and designed specifically to meet the training needs of the learner, maintaining a stimulating and enjoyable environment throughout this will help to ensure that ringing can compete for his interest against any other hobbies he may be pursuing.

The traditional approach to early training presents us with a major problem, it is difficult to apply the sound and correct principles of training in most normal ringing practices. When a learner joins a ringing practice in the traditional way his needs have to be accommodated around those of the more established ringers. This does not give the best environment in which to concentrate on


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