How to deliver Active Fans sessions

5 June 2020

How to deliver Active Fans sessions

Coaches have the main responsibility regarding the delivery of Active Fans sessions as they are best equipped to enable participants achieve their objectives. To attain the best results, coaches need to create a safe atmosphere for participants so that their self-confidence can be evaluated. Additionally, they need to be able to fulfil the role of entertainer, to make the sessions fun, engaging and themselves approachable thereby helping participants stay motivated to participate, even if their goals seem to be far out of reach.

This requires a coach who is an excellent teacher and understands situations related to health. Participants can possess a wide range of differing objectives and and ideal coach needs to be able to adapt to each unique situation. Similarly, they need to be an excellent communicator. Communication is crucial to convincing participants that are close to dropping-out and/or have the tendency to give up easily.

 Active fans values:-

 1. Concentration : To listen to the advice that the session leaders give.

2. Determination : To complete the programme despite all the hurdles present.

3. Patience : To be aware that results will not appear instantly.

4. Responsibility : To be responsible for their own health, nutrition, and turning up to the sessions.

The creation of objectives with the participants is an important part of the delivery of the programme, and all coaches would have to discuss this in detail in order to set up specific and feasible objectives for each. The main problem that has been reported by the Active Fans partners is that people attempt to achieve unattainable objectives. These objectives can of course be altered throughout the project, to make sure that everyone can finish the project cycle to the best of their abilities.

To implement this programme successfully, it is important to be aware of the fact that many people will be at a very low level of activity. Thus, medical checks would be necessary at the beginning. It is especially essential to have an overview of their capacities, because some of them could be at risk of heart related issues or debilitating injuries. Active Fans partners advise conducting comprehensive medical checks covering various different health examinations such as blood tests, blood pressure measurements, InBody and ECG.

Providing participants with homework tasks is another determinant for success. Partners observe that these tasks help participants to stay focused on achieving their objectives enabling them to take initiative and create beneficial habits that could last a lifetime.

To deliver high-quality sessions, project managers could arrange evaluation meetings with delivery staff after each session to discuss improvements allowing for the creation of a session framework fully adapted to the needs of participants.

Step by step (Theory)

  • Week 0 : Introduction to the programme + medical check
  • Week 1: Getting started
    1. How to eat better, be more active and how to keep it up
    2. Who’s who?
    3. Factors affecting our eating and activity
    4. Energy balance (intake vs output)
  • Week 2: What are we eating?
    1. Healthy eating explained
    2. SMART goal setting introduced
  • Week 3: Making changes
    1. Personal healthy eating plans
    2. Health benefits of long term weight loss
    3. Personal 5-10% weight loss
    4. Importance of support from other people
  • Week 4: Physical activity
    1. Importance of physical activity to health
    2. Overcoming barriers to being active
    3. Action planning for physical activity
  • Week 5: Thinking about drinking
    1. Alcohol and weight gain
    2. Alcohol units and planning your drinking
  • Week 6 : Halfway down
    1. Stages of change model
    2. Measurements taken to review progress
  • Week 7: How are we doing?
    1. Representation of weight loss achieved
    2. Reflection on how things are going
  • Week 8: What to look out for?
    1. Food labels and choosing healthier foods
    2. Importance of regular meals and breakfast
  • Week 9: Practical stuff
    1. Favourite meals, eating out and takeaways
  • Week 10: Myths and moods
    1. Common ideas about healthy living
    2. Dealing with setbacks
  • Week 11: Making progress
    1. Review of plans made
    2. Energy balance and locus of control
  • Week 12: Looking forward
    1. Review of progress and next steps
    2. Top tips for maintaining weight loss

Step by step (Practice)

  • Week 1 : Getting started
    1. Introduction to pedometers
    2. Short stadium tour wearing pedometers
    3. Baseline step counts
  • Week 2 : What are we eating ?
    1. Baseline steps counts determined
    2. Learning to increase activity gradually
    3. Setting step count target
  • Week 3 : Making changes
    1. Review of step targets
    2. Principles of fitness : warm up, aerobics, strength, flexibility and cool down
    3. Warm up exercises
  • Week 4 : Physical activity
    1. Using the Rate of Physical Exertion scale
    2. Warm up and 20 minute aerobic training including some football drills
  • Week 5 : Thinking about drinking
    1. Warm up and 20-30 minute aerobic training
  • Week 6 : Halfway down
    1. Principles of strength training
    2. Aerobic/strength training using body weight
  • Week 7 : How are we doing ?
    1. Principles of stretching and flexibility training
    2. Aerobic, strength and flexibility training
  • Week 8 : What to look out for
    1. Aerobic, strength and flexibility training including some football drills
  • Week 9 : Practical stuff
    1. Aerobic, strength and flexibility training including some football drills
  • Week 10: Myths and moods
    1. Aerobic, strength and flexibility training including some football drills
  • Week 11: Making progress
    1. Possible visit to local sports centre to use gym equipment/ try exercise classes
  • Week 12: Looking forward
    1. A small-sided football game, if possible

Active Fans sessions need to be fun, as well as challenging, and the trick is to make sure a balance of these two aspects. Ideally, the secret is to ensure vulnerable participants don’t feel like dropping out, while simultaneously guaranteeing they derive value from the programme.

An integral aspect of the Active Fans programme is the social gathering of the participants before and after the practical sessions. The opportunities for social interaction are highly valued by participants and complete the holistic purpose of the Active Fans sessions. While the health benefits of the programme can be incredible, participants also appreciate the social value of this project. Some past participants mentioned that their group felt like a family that was supporting each other through sessions. They have also conveyed that it has contributed to their participation and motivation throughout the project.

One person expressed it this way: “It felt like a family. We were in this together and we needed each other. Great to have this support!”

Selecting a venue that has a space where participants can gather socially after the practical sessions is therefore a crucial part of the implementation of this programme. Some participants created social media groups on Facebook to motivate people to keep up with the programme after the 12-week period had elapsed.