Steve Caddy shows how a 'Rookie Scheme' could be the starting point for a sporting career

Over the last 10 years, King's Sports Camps have provided thousands of children with an effective cure for the holiday blues. In 2001 alone, more than 200,000 child places at sports coaching courses were filled at 300 camps across the country during the Easter and summer holidays.

With the sports on offer ranging from aerobics and American football to fencing, lacrosse and orienteering, many children return year after year between the ages of four and 13.

But an increasing number of older children are continuing their association with King's by joining the coaching ranks. The Rookie Training Scheme, designed for 14 to 17 year olds, is also a valuable experience for those planning a career in physical education.

"The scheme was originally started to cater for children who were too old to continue attending the camps but wanted to carry on coming. When they have been attending since they were five, it becomes part of their life during the holidays," says Rookie Scheme organiser Lisa Horton.

"We are also targeting other young people who are interested in doing PE when they leave school and have experience of sports or working with children. The scheme gives them the opportunity for further coaching."

Graduates of the scheme are qualified to return to King's Camps as coaches. And their experience becomes an asset when pursuing a full-time career in sport.

Last year, King's hosted 276 Rookies over the Easter and summer camps. This year, they are working towards 350.

"We have the capacity to take on a lot more," says Lisa. "In some places, like Sheffield, Birmingham, Northampton and Nottingham, people are fighting for places. In others, like Blackpool and Colwyn Bay, we want to generate more interest."

The scheme has four levels, so "Rookies" can increase their knowledge and skills through a progressive cycle:

Bronze Award, for those aged 14 plus, providing a foundation for the key subject areas, including the opportunity to organise an activity and observe coaching sessions

Silver Award, for 15 plus, looking more intensely at child development, preventing injury and how to adapt games for children of varying ages and abilities

Gold Award, for 16 plus, teaching an understanding of risk assessment and safety on the poolside, with an opportunity to organise a coaching session

At 17, participants can choose to continue with the Rookie Training Scheme, going on to the Platinum Award if they want to develop their skills and confidence. Alternatively, they can apply to work as an Assistant Coach and take their first step on the King's Career Path

Participants need to spend a minimum of two weeks on a camp through the year. King's recommend three weeks ­ one at Easter and two in the summer

Background facts:

King's Sports Camps is part of the King's Trust, an educational charity that aims to educate and develop young people through leisure time activities

King's are at the forefront of health and safety provision for young people and have acted as advisers to Ofsted. All Sports Camps are registered by local authorities in line with the Children's Act 1989

Tell me more!

Further details are available from: Rookie Training Scheme, King's Sports Camps, The Manor House, Ecclesall Road South, Sheffield, S11 9PS. Telephone: 0114 2818100; email:;