Introducing the Progression School

Laura HamptonExperienced Skydivers

One of the best things about our sport is that there are so many different routes for progression!

You really can never get bored. Whether it’s working toward your FS1 straight after getting your A licence, learning to fly like a plane with WS, getting to grips with all the angles through FF and TR, developing your canopy knowledge with CT, or learning to capture the magic with videography skills, there really is something for everyone.

But we also know that getting coaching in these things can be tricky. That’s why we’ve created our Progression School – a way to bring more coaching and better coaching to everyone. Learn more about what it is and how it works here:

Progression School Coaches

Progression School Coaches hold British Skydiving coach ratings and are evaluated on an annual basis to ensure their skills, knowledge and teaching style are aligned with current best practice.

This means they are evaluated every year in the following areas:

  1. Content; is the content of their briefs complete, comprehensive and representative of modern techniques in the discipline?
  2. Delivery; is the way they teach consistent with the high standards set by British Skydiving’s instructor ratings while also being fair, inclusive and respectful to the students?

Progression School Coaches are evaluated by Progression School Trainers who are highly skilled in their discipline, including British Skydiving instructors, elite athletes and highly experienced discipline experts.

We believe in fairness and openness when it comes to evaluations, and the evaluation criteria can be found, along with lots more information, in the Coaches’ Handbook.

Progression School Coach ratings align with the British Skydiving membership year. Evaluations can be conducted from 1st January each year to be re-rated for the coming BS year – so they will be evaluated from 1st January 2023 for their rating to be renewed on 1st April 2023.

Benefits for Coaches

In return for being evaluated annually, Progression School Coaches receive benefits, starting with one packing ticket per coaching jump and growing to include staff rates on tickets and a block of 20 free jumps as their experience and currency grow.

These benefits recognise the amazing work our Coaches do, and incentivise currency and experience to help them be the best coaches they can be for our students.

Benefits reset every year on the 1st April. All grade 1 coaching jumps count toward benefits numbers.

Load organising also counts toward coaching numbers, meaning organisers are also recognised for their work – providing they too have passed an evaluation.

Becoming a Coach

For those people who want to become a Coach, the Progression School exists to make that pathway much more clear and fair. We want anyone to feel empowered to become a Coach, and we support those people through training, mentorship and ongoing investment.

To become a Coach in FS, you will start with attendance at Coach the Coaches – Foundation, an event which we run twice yearly to share all the knowledge needed to become a coach, including a Methods of Instruction brief (a necessary pre-requisite of achieving a British Skydiving rating), an introduction to the principles of good instruction, an outline of the necessary content of the briefs, and practical practice of teaching others.

The next step is to continue to practice those skills with dummy students and the support of a mentor, who is themselves a Progression School Trainer and on hand to support your development and to gain your British Skydiving Coach Rating.

After some practice with real students, you can be evaluated to become a Progression School Coach.

You can also become a Progression School Load Organiser and, since there is not a rating for this through British Skydiving, there are no jump number restrictions for this. Speak to Laura to let her know you’re interested.

To become a coach in another discipline, please speak to Laura who will partner you with an appropriate mentor who will describe the ratings process to you.

Getting Coaching

The purpose of the Progression School is to make coaching available more regularly to jumpers.

As a minimum, those seeking coaching can get it at our monthly Progression Weekends, which occur on the second weekend of every month. This is where coaches are scheduled and therefore guaranteed to be available to you, subject to attendee numbers (we expect the number of coaches to grow through the year!).

You can also expect more coaching availability throughout the year as our pool of amazing coaches grows.

Progression Weekends are primarily intended to offer coaching in FS, FF, TR, WS and CF.

Other events and load organising

We will also be running more events to support your ongoing learning post-qualification.

It can be tricky to find jumps to join after you get your FS1, FF1, TR1 and so on. For safety purposes, you don’t want to join groups that are too big, and for your own learning, you still want to access coaching in your chosen discipline.

Events like FS1+, FF1+ and TR1+ will facilitate small group load organising without added costs to you as the jumpers (i.e. the drop zone will cover the coaches’ jumps).

Events like Bigway Beginners open up opportunities for people to learn about larger group skydiving.

Advanced events like skills camps and the Sky Games make high level skydives something to aim for.

It’s not just about the skydives, either. We know that the UK weather can be ‘complex’ and we’ll be creating educational and fun events that keep us entertained in the bad weather.

Plus, look out for more social events, too – because developing as a skydiver is about the community as much as the skills.

Opting out of Progression School

We hope the benefits outlined here are enough to entice all of the amazing coaches who coach at Langar to become part of the Progression School. However, we recognise this might not be for everyone, and that’s fine too.

You don’t have to be a Progression School Coach to coach at Langar, however you will also not receive the benefits of being a Progression School Coach.

How does this align with British Skydiving?

Martin Soulsby has presented British Skydiving’s new framework for coaches, which includes external accreditation from organisations like 1st 4 Sport and CIMSPA. We think this is great for those who want to go down that route, and can see advantages specifically for those people who make sports coaching their job.

The Progression School is about rewarding Coaches for their amazing work and regulating the quality of coaching they provide. Our system runs independent of the new British Skydiving framework, so though we welcome Coaches who have undertaken the new qualifications, there’s no requirement to have done so to be a Progression School Coach.

You do need to have achieved your British Skydiving coach rating to be a Progression School Coach at Level 1 and above.

What happens now?

  1. We have moved to Burble for jump tickets and you can now buy a Coaching Ticket, which represents the cost of two tickets and one packing ticket*
  2. All existing coaches should contact Laura Hampton (laura.hampton@skydivelangar.co.uk, via Facebook or at the drop zone) to arrange their evaluation – as a minimum, evaluators will be available on every Progression Weekend
  3. All prospective coaches should sign up for the upcoming Coach the Coaches event

*if a student is jumping with a coach who is not yet evaluated by the Progression School, or who has opted out of being part of it, the £5 packing ticket contribution is absorbed by the drop zone and supports our ongoing investment in facilities.

Questions and feedback

If you have any questions or feedback, please contact Laura Hampton in the first instance, via Facebook, email or in person.

Resources for Progression School Coaches

Coaches’ Handbook

FS Lesson Frameworks

FS Full Lesson Plans (Example – make your own)

FS New Coach Workbook

FS Coach Evaluation

Post FS1 Brief – Lesson Plan

FF First Jump Brief

FF Lesson Frameworks