Vivian Jones is a newly-qualified Level 2 coach. He uses sign language and lip reading to communicate, as a profoundly deaf coach. We asked him to share his experiences.
BC: What convinced you to take part on the Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Cycling?
VJ: Cycling is in my bones. I have raced downhill and gravity enduro all over Britain and Europe for a few years now and I wanted to be able to pass on some of that passion for cycling. I also work as a cycle mechanic at Pedalabikeaway Trail Centre in the beautiful Forest of Dean and I wanted to expand my skills into other areas of cycling.
BC: What kind of support did you receive on the course?
VJ: I am a profoundly deaf hearing aid wearer. I use British Sign Language (BSL),speech and lip reading to get the most out of communication. My deafness has different implications in different settings, so to make sure I had complete access to the course content I needed a sign language interpreter to support me which was funded by the government’s Access to Work scheme. This worked out pretty well together with my excellent British Cycling trainers Marshall Thomas and Nigel Capewell who took the time to become deaf aware.
BC: How will the Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Cycling help you in your future coaching activities?
VJ: The certificate has given me confidence in my own abilities as a coach. I am now planning to take the Mountain Biking Level 2 coaching award in the near future.
BC: What are the challenges you face as a coach?
VJ: Obviously there was some initial concern that I wouldn’t be able to hear what the children in said and that the children wouldn’t understand me. That doesn’t seem to be the case, especially now that they have got to know me. Being Deaf I tend to use a lot of gestures & body language when I am communicating, which has proved ideal for coaching and the kids seem to enjoy me being a bit more expressive.
BC: What advice would you give to others considering coaching?
VJ: Just go for it. Even if you do have a disability there are usually ways around it. You never know what you can achieve until you try.
British Cycling aims to make coaching courses more inclusive by supporting coaches with funding for extra support.