Coaching Update - 2016


Coaching, Education & Programmes

2016 has been another extraordinary year for the Coaching, Education and Development Programmes. Over the course of the year some 450 coaches and leaders have attended 1 of 45 individual courses that have been run so far in 2016 with a further 8 courses planned before the end of the year.

Figure 1.0 Number of coaches and leaders trained in 2016, as of 25h October 2016

2016, got off to a great start with the inaugural Foster the Future conference, organised by Cycling Ireland, Triathlon Ireland and Swim Ireland in UCD and saw some 130+ coaches come together for the day in a quest for new knowledge and information. The collaborative nature of the event was a first, the first time 3 NGB’s came together, providing a platform for everyone across all sports to benefit. To quote one text we received following the event “Well done. Congratulations bualadh bos on a tremendous job in shaping a great gathering of passionate, friendly folk”. The event, which was MC'd by Coaching Ireland's Liam Moggan, explored some of the latest and best research in how to coach underage sports. Following the success of this years event, planning for 2017 is well under way. IT Athlone will play host to the 2nd Foster the Future conference on Saturday the 25th of February 2017.

The Ride Leader Award, launched in late 2015, has enjoyed great success with a very large number of clubs and leaders participating in the award in 2016. As a body, Cycling Ireland has grown dramatically in recent years, reflecting an explosion of cyclist numbers on the roads. With the increase in numbers participating in formal clubs or informal groups, there is a growing appetite for information, support and guidance on riding in groups on the road. The Cycling Ireland Ride Leader Award aims to support the growth of leisure cycling and participation by providing leaders with an introduction to cycle leading and the competencies required to lead and manage groups on a cycle. Over the course of the year the Ride Leader Award has delivered 18 opportunities, with some 170 leaders getting behind the award.

2016 will also see the addition of a brand-new coaching resource as part of the Cycling Ireland Coach Development Programme. Gearing Up Road is the name given to Cycling Ireland’s discipline specific cycling skills programme required for cycling in a road environment. The Gearing Up Road Programme has been developed for riders aged 11 years and over. Gearing Up Road will build on the basic cycling skills learned in by riders in the Sprocket Rocket Programme. Gearing Up Road will be delivered by a Cycling Ireland Level 1 Coach. The suggested Gearing Up skills will support riders in enjoying successful, safe and enjoyable life-long riding and racing experiences.

Work is almost complete, following a period of a curriculum peer-review, on the development of a New Balance Bike programme, a new fundamental cycling skills programme which focuses on delivery to children aged 2 to 5 years of age. Balance Bikes represent a new entry point into cycling and cycle sport, with the Balance Bike programme developed as a means of progressing to the Cycling Ireland Sprocket Rocket Programme. It is anticipated that the new Balance Bike programme will be launched in early 2017.

Work is currently under way on the development of a new Candidate Management System called Tah Dah. For Cycling Ireland TahDah is a Candidate and Training Provider Management System. It will facilitate the promotion of Awards, Courses, Programmes, CPD Workshops, Conferences and Events. The Candidate Management System will allow us to promote, manage and distribute fully verified training and awards to candidates.

For the candidate, it will be an online portal to create and promote their fully verified digital CV - manage all their training and achievements in one place, book on training & assessment courses, manage their CPD records and promote, run and administer Cycling Ireland programmes such as Sprocket Rocket, Bike for Life, etc. Candidates will receive personalised news, events, training courses, promote themselves and share their fully verified Digital CV online. The Candidate Management System will be launched in early 2017.

Sprocket Rocket continues to provide opportunity and access for young girls and boys to develop key fundamental skills and to participate in cycling.
Over the course of the year the Sprocket Rocket programme has delivered opportunities for over 650 young people to participate, with many clubs and schools supporting the programme in 2016.

This year Cycling Ireland has also developed a national childrens cycling skills league which will complement the Sprocket Rocket programme. The league is currently in pilot phase and is planned to be rolled out in 2017.

Since its introduction in 2013, Bike for Life has continued to prove successful with increased numbers taking part in the programme. So far in 2016 over 440 adults have taken part in programmes all over the country with several more courses planned to run before year end.

Among these programmes was an initiative that was supported by Active Belfast which involved the training of 26 Bike for Life leaders, some of whom then delivered a Bike for Life course to 71 people in the Belfast area.

Funding was also received from Sport Ireland under the Women In Sport initiative which is currently being used to support Bike for Life and other cycling activity for over 250 women and girls. 

Cycling Ireland Bike Fest was once again held in St. Annes Park, Dublin on the 19th of June. Now in its sixth year the park was transformed into a cycling haven for all the family taking part in the National Bike Week event. While the wet weather meant numbers attending were down on previous years, it did not deter hundreds of children who still enjoyed a fun day out on their bikes with some children saying “the best part of cycling in the rain was getting to splash in the puddles”. Sincere thanks to the Off-Road Commission, BMX Commission and Track Commission and the very many volunteers who played a significant role in this year’s event.

This year also saw the first ever Mountain Bike Fest which was held in Bike Park Ireland, Tipperary on Sunday 24th July. The day aimed to give boys and girls under 18 an introduction to mountain biking and approximately 200 riders and parents travelled from all over the country to take part. Special thanks to everyone at Bike Park Ireland and all the volunteers who helped on the day as well as the clubs that travelled to Roscrea to make the day such a success.

Cycling Ireland has also been successful in obtaining funding (€100,000) from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, under the Dormant Accounts initiative to support the roll out of a Get Ireland Cycling initiative in 2017. Cycling Ireland, working in collaboration with our clubs, partners and communities intend to co-ordinate and deliver opportunities, across a suite of programme offerings (Bike for Life, Sprocket Rocket, Gearing Up), to people in socially, economically and educationally disadvantaged areas.

Cycle Right – National Cycle Safety Standard

For the past two years, Cycling Ireland has been working with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport on Cycle Right, the new National Cycle Safety Standard. Following pilot delivery of the programme around the country in Autumn 2015, very positive feedback fed into the course content which has now been finalised and signed off.

Spring into Summer 2016 saw the rollout of an intensive delivery of Trainer Assimilation, where almost seventy existing trainers took part in three-day courses to align them to the new standard.

Currently, resources are at design stage and the Cycle Right website is in creation. It is anticipated that Cycle Right will launch formally in January 2017, with the support of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Road Safety Authority. It is planned that Cycling Ireland will continue to have a driving role in the delivery of Cycle Right, from training of trainers, through hands-on organisation of the programme nationwide, to oversight and control of the quality assurance system which will ensure consistent quality in the training of competent, confident cyclists.

Going forward into 2017, new trainers will be able to avail of courses delivered by Cycling Ireland to meet anticipated demand for cycle training in schools around the country.

Thanks and Acknowledgement

Cycling Ireland would like to acknowledge the hugely valuable input into all our programmes by tutors, clubs, local sport partnerships, coaches, volunteers, parents who all contributed in 2016. The success of our programmes could not have been achieved without the dedicated support of our growing network of coaches, leaders and volunteers and to you we say a massive “Thank You”.

Rachel Ormrod, Coach Education and Programmes Manager, Cycling Ireland

Safeguarding Report

2016 has been an important year for child safeguarding. Cycling Ireland appointed a National Safeguarding Officer, Brigid O’Dea, in mid-July. This reinforces the organisation’s commitment to ensuring that cycling is a child-friendly sport, that promotes the inclusion, safety and well-being of all members.

Recent years have seen a major overhaul in legislation and a shift in public conjecture in Ireland that demonstrates a heightened awareness of, and commitment to, issues relating to child protection and child welfare. Cycling Ireland welcomes this tide of change and has taken a proactive stance in ensuring that the welfare and enjoyment of the child is placed as paramount in all circumstances.

The latest members report show that Cycling Ireland has 2610 members with youth licences (<16 years) and 408 Junior members (<18 years), bringing the total of young riders to over 3000. Cycling is a pro-social activity that encourages good health, learning, development and a sense of fulfilment for our riders. Cycling Ireland is dedicated to ensuring a wholly positive experience for our young riders.


A recent success, was Cycling Ireland’s participation in ‘Parents in Sport Week’ (October 3rd – 9th) run by the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit. This week highlighted the role of positive parenting in sport. Parents play a pivotal role in cycling; they act as role models and help children to interpret their experiences, both triumphs and challenges. Cycling Ireland recognises the need for parental involvement in youth cycling and wishes to support parents in guiding their children through the successes and obstacles that they will face over the course of their cycling career.

Another exciting development was the launch of Sport Ireland’s ‘Safe Sport’ app which is an excellent resource for young people, parents, coaches and clubs/organisations participating in sport on any level. This app provides guidance on a number of areas such as good practice, staying safe online, safeguarding your club and adopting a child-centred approach. This app, which is free to download, is a terrific point of reference for your safeguarding concerns.


The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 to 2016 was enacted on April 29th 2016. This act makes it a legal requirement that all individuals engaging in ‘relevant work’ with children and/or vulnerable adults fully complete the Garda Vetting process prior to up-taking their position in the organisation. This applies to both paid and voluntary roles. In addition, this act includes the introduction of ‘spent convictions’ provision whereby certain convictions, no less than seven years old, will now be excluded from the Garda Vetting disclosure certificate. This means, that information regarding a single minor offence that occurred years ago will no longer be included in the information disclosed by the National Vetting Bureau.

Apace with the enactment of the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 to 2016 was Cycling Ireland’s migration from a paper-based vetting system to an electronic, eVetting, system. This means that all vetting checks are now carried out online. The move to eVetting has been a very positive departure and has resulted in a much speedier and efficient processing of vetting applications. The turn-around period for Garda vetting checks, prior to the introduction of eVetting was, on average, four weeks. This has now been reduced to an average of five days to two weeks. This efficiency has resulted in lowered frustration among CI staff and members and, as a result, has enhanced members willingness to engage in the process. Since the migration to eVetting on July 19th, Cycling Ireland has successfully processed 110 applications.

In the coming weeks, in addition to processing Garda Vetting applications, Cycling Ireland will undertake the processing of Access NI applications (also carried out online). Going forward, all vetting checks will be carried out centrally which ensure a smooth and streamlined vetting operation. Within the Access NI system, we will see the introduction of an EU pilot programme. This scheme allows any criminal record information that may be available on EU citizens seeking work in regulated activity in Northern Ireland and holding nationality from the following countries; Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain, to be obtained.


An important piece of new legislation, introduced towards the end of last year, was the Children First Act 2015. This act has affected change in organisations that work with young people through the introduction of mandatory reporting of child protection concerns by certain professionals and others to The Child and Family Agency (Tusla). Another welcome change included in this bill was to abolish the common law defence of reasonable chastisement. This means that the use of corporal punishment is comprehensively outlawed and that physically assaulting a child (eg. hitting or smacking) will no longer be defensible on the grounds of discipline; an important and overdue addition to Irish legislation.

Code of Conduct

Vetting aside, Cycling Ireland has created an updated Code of Conduct, which must now be agreed to by all members as part of the annual membership registration. This code of conduct is important to ensure pro-social behaviour by all members and to assert the welfare and well-being of the child as paramount.

Safeguarding training

In mid-November 2016, Cycling Ireland will see a number of tutors trained in delivering child protection training. Up until now, club CPOs (Child Protection Officers), and other CI members have undertaken Child Protection Training through their local sports partnership, however, from 2017 onwards Cycling Ireland Tutors will be enabled to deliver these training sessions to their members. This will allow more cycling specific scenarios and discussion and is an exciting development within the safeguarding space.

Thanks and Acknowledgement

Cycling Ireland would like to acknowledge the hugely valuable input of our clubs’ Child Protection Officers who are working towards ensuring a child centred approach in their clubs. Cycling Ireland would also like to thank all coaches, volunteers and members who assist our youth riders, parents for their time and support, and, of course, our youth riders who bring a positive energy, dynamism and fun into our clubs and our organisation as a whole.


Child Protection in Sport Unit, NSPCC: https://thecpsu.org.uk/

§ Sport Ireland, Safe Sport App: www.sportireland.ie/Participation/Code_of_Ethics/Code-Of-Ethics-App/

§ The National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 to 2016: www.lawreform.ie/_fileupload/RevisedActs/WithAnnotations/en_act_2012_0047.PDF

§ Cycling Ireland eVetting FAQ: www.cyclingireland.ie/page/about/safeguarding/e-vetting-faq

§ Children First Act: www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2015/act/36/enacted/en/pdf

§ Co-operating to safeguard children and young people in Northern Ireland: www.health-ni.gov.uk/publications/co-operating-safeguard-children-and-young-people-northern-ireland

Brigid O’Dea, National Safeguarding Officer, Cycling Ireland

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