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Athletes on the move

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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby jjimbojames » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:26 pm

mump boy wrote:Marilyn has left Ayo and moved to someone who i've never heard of and whose name escapes me but he's a middle distance and endurance coach

I think it a good move from her, she needed to make changes and working on her endurance is the most obvious adjustment to make, she will always have speed and with added strength i think we'll se her kicking away with the big girls in the home stretch next year :D

I see Maz ran in a Met League XC race recently - don't remember her ever doing this before, but am very happy to see her embracing the endurance needs
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby Geoff » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:53 am

An athlete who refused to move!

Jessica Ennis says Charles van Commenee wanted her to move
Jessica Ennis has revealed former UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee wanted her to move to London ahead of the Olympic Games.

The Sheffield-based athlete resisted the move and subsequently won Olympic heptathlon gold at the 2012 Games.

The 26-year-old told BBC Radio 5 live that Van Commenee also put pressure on her own coach, Toni Minichiello, to make the move.

.....Revealing that pressure had been put on Minichiello, she said: "Obviously my coach works for UK Athletics and there were discussions about 'your job will be made available in London and this is where you'll be based'.

"They knew that would be difficult for me because we're a unit and we need each other to perform and to achieve what I need to achieve.

"Luckily Chell [Minichiello] was very adamant we both believed in what we were doing in Sheffield and we both stayed strong on that and it worked out really well."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/athletics/20261929

It just shows the problems of having centralised facilities in our sport. In my opinion it cannot work unless a total and complete change is made to the structure of coaching in this country which seems very unlikely. I think Jess was being diplomatic with her comments on this particular attempt to force a move!
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby Geoff » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:16 pm

Charles van Commenee tried to relocate me to London, says Jessica Ennis
• 'Van Commenee knew move from Sheffield would be difficult'
• Coach Toni Minichiello and I stood our ground, says Ennis

Jessica Ennis has revealed how she stood up to Charles van Commenee when the former UK Athletics head coach attempted to force the heptathlete into relocating from Sheffield to London as part of the sport's restructuring in preparation for London 2012. When Ennis refused, the Dutchman chose a different tack by trying to move her coach, Toni Minichiello – a UKA employee – to Lee Valley.

"They knew that would be difficult for me," the Olympic champion told BBC 5 Live on Thursday, "because we work as a unit and we need each other to perform and to achieve what I need to achieve, but luckily Chell [her coach] was adamant we both believed in what we were doing in Sheffield and we stood strong with that and it worked out very well."

Van Commenee, who during his three-year reign became known for his controversial approach, used similar tactics on the high jumper Martyn Bernard when he threatened to remove his funding if the athlete did not relocate from Liverpool to London. He also famously had a year-long public spat with the triple jumper Phillips Idowu ahead of the Olympic Games.

Asked if it seemed that Van Commenee's methods were at odds with helping her to prepare for 2012, Ennis said: "Some comments maybe weren't great. I think Charles is a slightly different character and might go around things in a slightly different way." Asked if she was being diplomatic by the presenter, the 26-year old laughed and said: "I'm being very diplomatic, yeah."

Ennis wrote about the incident in her book, Unbelievable, released this week, recalling how – following her world indoor title win in Qatar in 2010 – Van Commenee had begun suggesting that Ennis should change her training setup. "I could not understand that," Ennis wrote. "I had won the world title and everything was working perfectly. Moving to London would have been the very worst thing for me."

She describes what the move would have meant – giving up life with her fiance, Andy, whose job was based in Sheffield, moving away from family and friends and her dog, Myla, to live in what she describes as akin to university halls of residence. She says Van Commenee simply "didn't get it. I don't like conflict, but if it is something that I am passionate about then I will put my foot down and argue until the sun comes down".

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/no ... sica-ennis

I am also passionate about how this approach by UKA, at odds with the home nations, and how it leads to conflict, lack of trust and the erosion of performance coaching in this country. Hopefully, Eriksson will adopt a different approach and perhaps UKA will seriously consider coaching issues that have been ignored in the past.
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby hank » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:30 pm

Blog along similar lines from London based sprint coach John Powell

http://ts1news.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/p ... eform.html

No signs of change yet then :(
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby sidelined » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:23 pm

hank wrote:Blog along similar lines from London based sprint coach John Powell

http://ts1news.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/p ... eform.html

No signs of change yet then :(


Does anyone know where Bolarinwa has gone? How interesting that John Powell applied for the Head Coach job. He comes over as hugely impressive in the documentary Personal Best, especially in an interview with him in the DVD extras. (And I'm not usually a fan of the Metropolitan Police.)

There was an interview with Eriksson which I read in the paper edition of the Guardian, but for some reason can't find on their website, in which he said his job was about supporting existing athlete/coach pairings, but that coaches must be accountable and he would only make suggestions for change if things weren't working. It sound like a far more conciliatory approach than CVC's, but we shall have to see.

The fact that CVC couldn't understand why Jess Ennis didn't want to leave her life in Sheffield behind speaks volumes.
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby Geoff » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:02 pm

Bolarinwa is now with Jodas Dodoo.

Eriksson may well have a more concilliatory approach but will still heap pressure on coaches like John Powell. UKA coaches will be expected to coach the best athletes and the fact they have access to far more resources plus influence will mean 'transfers' are inevitable. As John Powell said we need a wholesale review of coaching at performance level (and below) otherwise more and more coaches will leave.

UKA are failing as a governing body for the whole sport and focus on a narrow and dividing remit. To paraphrase Jess "they just don't get it."
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby kingmaker » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:49 pm

dodoo tried the same sly tactics with a very promising manchester sprinter last year, going through the parents first promising the earth but the parents the earth and as John Powell says the "Holy Grail" . Thankfully that failed as the athlete told his coach about the approach but he is persistent
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby hank » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:05 pm

Who is Dodoo? He is not employed by UKA is he?
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby kingmaker » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:14 pm

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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby kingmaker » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:16 pm

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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby coaches_tenevents » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:56 pm

Why should UKA have the best athletes to coach simply to defend their existance, the last thirteen years show that UKA are the very last people to sen d good athletes to, WHY, simples, because UKA is simply a figment of some crafty g*ts imigination, they are in reality nothing more than a government spectre.
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby trickstat » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:26 pm

Re Jess Ennis I presume there is no Dutch equivalent to "if it ain't broke don't fix it"!
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby SteveK26 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:45 pm

Its well documented on here that I have never liked CVC's methods.
Its interesting that the critisism of UKA on this thread is going unchallenged.
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby Kermit » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:21 pm

I wonder how many men in the CVC years were wooed to leaving their coach and family for the bright city lights that is London?
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby boysen » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:07 am

Just where are the UKA soldiers these days?
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby sidelined » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:18 am

But what would the ideal be for athlete transfers? You can't, surely, stop athletes from switching coaches. Coaches often seem to talk as if their athletes owe them a lifetime of loyalty and servitude. They view athletes as passive and gullible, lured away by the machinations of rival coaches. But presumably, athletes think they are making rational decisions about what is best for their future. Who is right? Who is in a position to judge? Of course coaches give their time, and often put their own money into what they do, but presumably they do it because they enjoy it. They're not saints. There's currently a focus on complaining about UKA coaches, but there was plenty of bitching about poaching before there were salaried coaches.
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby SteveK26 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:15 am

Its my understanding that its not the coaches who are under attack. Its a system that has tried to move athletes away from their comfort zone, just to suit the purposes of UKA, that is being critisized.
The attempt to move Jess Ennis to London (when everything worked so well in Sheffield) is just ludicrous. And totally unjustifiable.
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby boysen » Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:18 am

could it be power and control?Move an athlete, generally a young adult, into an alien environment and what do you have?
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby hank » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:35 pm

I have much respect for John Powell, and he has been making good progress with his athletes over many years. I remember when Chris Lambert left under similar circumstances a few years back.

What I would also observe however, is that John does not really help beginner or even intermediate young athletes, so athlete transfer must have already taken place at least once in these athletes development before they have landed on John's door.

Poaching did indeed go on well before UKA, but the AAA, SEAA would see it as their role to keep this in check rather than be part of it. UKA have removed all these rules (structure) and seemingly think things will regulate themselves. I think they could be right, as the Jess Ennis situation shows. Athletes having options, and choosing what it right for them.
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby kingmaker » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:42 pm

hank wrote:I have much respect for John Powell, and he has been making good progress with his athletes over many years. I remember when Chris Lambert left under similar circumstances a few years back.

What I would also observe however, is that John does not really help beginner or even intermediate young athletes, so athlete transfer must have already taken place at least once in these athletes development before they have landed on John's door.

Poaching did indeed go on well before UKA, but the AAA, SEAA would see it as their role to keep this in check rather than be part of it. UKA have removed all these rules (structure) and seemingly think things will regulate themselves. I think they could be right, as the Jess Ennis situation shows. Athletes having options, and choosing what it right for them.


thanks for that Hank. Paints a slightly different picture
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby athlete101 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:44 pm

kingmaker wrote:
hank wrote:I have much respect for John Powell, and he has been making good progress with his athletes over many years. I remember when Chris Lambert left under similar circumstances a few years back.

What I would also observe however, is that John does not really help beginner or even intermediate young athletes, so athlete transfer must have already taken place at least once in these athletes development before they have landed on John's door.

Poaching did indeed go on well before UKA, but the AAA, SEAA would see it as their role to keep this in check rather than be part of it. UKA have removed all these rules (structure) and seemingly think things will regulate themselves. I think they could be right, as the Jess Ennis situation shows. Athletes having options, and choosing what it right for them.


thanks for that Hank. Paints a slightly different picture


I think someone is trying to mislead the readers with nonsense.

Perhaps facts need to be checked!!
John Powells most successful athletes whilst working under his tutelage would possibly be James Ellington, Chris Lambert, Dwayne Grant, David Bolawinra, Wade Bennet Jackson, Tim Abeyie. and Andrew Matthews, conrad williams.

Im dont think ANY of these athletes achieved Youth and/or Junior GB level selections before actually being coached by John Powell. - please correct me if I am wrong
Maybe Kingmaker you are confused as some athletes were with him from a young age and then left at some stage but came back. that certainly was the case with James Ellington and Dwayne Grant.
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby hank » Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:29 pm

I don't think that is what myself or Kingmaker was saying. What I am saying is that if a coach works with teenagers, say year 10 or 11, they will have been helped previously by 1 or more coaches. John tend to have athletes approach his group from a number of south london clubs. We seem to have in place a kind of unofficail pathway from club - to recognised event specific group - to UKA coach.

Please correct me if I am wrong.
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby coaches_tenevents » Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:22 pm

I think Kingmaker is confused. UKA have caused much devastation with their poaching policy, and regardless of the little bit of occasional poaching which went on before UKA, what UKA have done is diplorable and anyone trying to draw comparasons is simply obsfucating. UKA SUCK and everyhting they did sucks....but you always get the odd one who tries to get an edge by siding with them in some perverse manner.
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby athlete101 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:45 am

hank wrote:I don't think that is what myself or Kingmaker was saying. What I am saying is that if a coach works with teenagers, say year 10 or 11, they will have been helped previously by 1 or more coaches. John tend to have athletes approach his group from a number of south london clubs. We seem to have in place a kind of unofficail pathway from club - to recognised event specific group - to UKA coach.

Please correct me if I am wrong.


I fully understand what this current post is saying, however your last post was clearly saying something different.

Most athletes do naturally move once they feel progress is stalling or lack faith that their coach can take them any further. However there is a very distinctive difference when there is down right Poaching going on. Ive seen this situation many times such as the one John Powell is referring to with regards to Bolawinra. I've never met him but im of the opinion its an awful decision to move away from a coach who has a track record of producing good sprinters at junior/u23 level and moving to Jonas who has done nothing. Jonas does however work closely with Afilaka too so maybe the pull of having Adam Gemili as a training partner proved too much to let go.

No offence to Bolawinra but this illustrates just how easy it is to Poach young athletes because athletes at his age will be naive. Gemili is a raw talent and I wouldnt offer any congratualtions to Afilaka for making a sprinter sprint. (he didnt even want him to go Olympics!)
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby kingmaker » Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:06 am

coaches_tenevents wrote:I think Kingmaker is confused. UKA have caused much devastation with their poaching policy, and regardless of the little bit of occasional poaching which went on before UKA, what UKA have done is deplorable and anyone trying to draw comparisons is simply obsfucating. UKA SUCK and everything they did sucks....but you always get the odd one who tries to get an edge by siding with them in some perverse manner.


I'm not confused "coaches_tenevents", Hank was just offering a slightly different viewpoint to others posted on this ubject and he may have a valid point. And unlike some on this forum and others I think that different views can give an overall picture of what is happenning. I feel for John and have told him so.

Personally I feel that the centralisation of our best athletes to an unproven coach in strange and unfamiliar surroundings is NOT the way to go. Taking athletes away from coaches who have helped them to develop from the age of 11, 16 or 18 to international level is NOT the way to go either. If we keep moving our athletes from their coaching set ups just to have "control" over them it will backfire in more ways than one. A) the athletes may not develop and B) our hardworking and on the whole unpaid coaches will definately have their progress stymied

BTW: Obsfucating? I think what Hank said was clear and Edge? Really?
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby olympic » Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:57 am

Interesting to see lolo jones and Tiana Madison doing bobsleigh and aiming for the Olympics - they seem to be doing quite well at it. Should some of our sprinters try this in the winter as part of their training - with success may improve motivation?
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby Kermit » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:12 pm

Olympic, as far as I can see that option has been available to the sprinters for a number of years. And it's great to see Lolo has made it into the Olympic squad.
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby trickstat » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:14 pm

athlete101 wrote: Gemili is a raw talent and I wouldnt offer any congratualtions to Afilaka for making a sprinter sprint. (he didnt even want him to go Olympics!)



I think some credit is due as Gemili is now much less of a "galloper" than he was last year.

Inclined to agree with you re the Olympics as it came a few weeks after his main target of the World Juniors which were only in Barcelona.
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby Sobe1 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:34 pm

athlete101 wrote:
hank wrote:I don't think that is what myself or Kingmaker was saying. What I am saying is that if a coach works with teenagers, say year 10 or 11, they will have been helped previously by 1 or more coaches. John tend to have athletes approach his group from a number of south london clubs. We seem to have in place a kind of unofficail pathway from club - to recognised event specific group - to UKA coach.

Please correct me if I am wrong.


I fully understand what this current post is saying, however your last post was clearly saying something different.

Most athletes do naturally move once they feel progress is stalling or lack faith that their coach can take them any further. However there is a very distinctive difference when there is down right Poaching going on. Ive seen this situation many times such as the one John Powell is referring to with regards to Bolawinra. I've never met him but im of the opinion its an awful decision to move away from a coach who has a track record of producing good sprinters at junior/u23 level and moving to Jonas who has done nothing. Jonas does however work closely with Afilaka too so maybe the pull of having Adam Gemili as a training partner proved too much to let go.

No offence to Bolawinra but this illustrates just how easy it is to Poach young athletes because athletes at his age will be naive. Gemili is a raw talent and I wouldnt offer any congratualtions to Afilaka for making a sprinter sprint. (he didnt even want him to go Olympics!)



Athlete101,

What on earth are you talking about re: young athletes and John Powell. I have been in the sport long enough to know John's reputation and him "poaching' young athletes from other people, Pots & Kettle, I don't think these athletes have been poached from John but maybe they want to put them selves in a position to improve at SENIOR LEVEL, Something John Powell have not done in the 36 years career like he puts in his blog. Yes he does well with Junior athletes but I don't think in the that period he has had anybody get to a major final (World or olympic) Semis or Final, somebody can correct me if I am wrong, so what the point of his message. James Ellington's Performance at the O's marks the 2nd time in 2 years he has been dumped out of a Majors in the 1st round, (Surely he will look elsewhere) and till John sorts out the problem of his athletes NOT PROGRESSING at the Higher level then they will ALL always want to leave.

Re: the coaches you have mention, I am currently at the European Sprints Conference in Warwick and I coincidentally listen to Afilika speak yesterday about his training with Adam Gemili and Jeanette Kwaykee ( whose leg injury is genetic he said but she has finally sorted it). He seem a detailed and knowledgable coach, I think you are completely wrong regards his training and Gemili. He said everybody forgets Gemili ran the year before and only broke 10.40sec once to having a year when he ran a PB in April and all the way through to Sept, I ask how many of our sprinter did that or can do that, on your point about the Olympics he said their aim was always the WJC and Olympics was a bonus.

Athlete 101, If its just the talent and If I am not mistaken ( and this is me checking Po10) Did Bolarinwa not beat Gemili most of the time the year before so whats happened in 2012? Is it still talent or coaching or both? has you have put it. If that theory is right then we would see how another great young Junior gets on this year when Ennis's coaches works with Jasmin Sawyers and then lets see if the coaching takes her to the next level or would you say its just the talent.

Afilika sound like he has also coached some athlete to a decent level, Fifton ( who funny enough was told to leave him by CVC, (1017 or so, 2047 and not improved since he left) Fagan, Angie BB, Nelson (who went to him with a lot of Injuries) but have now been sorted out to win the trials last year ( his second athlete to have won the womens 3 A's 3 of the last 5 years). He said he knows results can be better, but he sounded like a coach that self analyses and wants to be better and I don't think you can say that with some of our other coaches with the results and at least he has had athletes in Semi/ finals / medalist ( indoors and Outdoors) at Major something you can not say any John Powell.
I dont know who Jonas is so it will be wrong of me to comment, but is the issues that coaches like John Powell should get better rather than blaming other coaches his athletes have gone to as the problem. You sound like a bitter coach slagging off another coach out of jealousy or hatred.

UKA have not covered themselves in glory as they ( CVC) have moved athletes under handed to the coaches they have employed and paying big money to e.g Dan pfaff ( no doubt thats where Enni's would have been told to go). At the end of the day athletes move because they want to move, who they go to and how much money the coaches has spent is irrelevant sometime ( Not saying it should not be appreciated and acknowledged) and thats the bit where I agree with John"s call for a Coaches Forum or body as that will at least put a process or guideline in place that the athletes needs to tow if they want to move.

Lets hope UKA moving athletes changes with Rana in Lufbra but somehow I don't think so as I heard here yesterday that DC, malcolm have now moved to lufbra as well...... the new endurance coach does not have any athletes yet......for the time being ( watch this space) ....So some how I feel this is a topic that will rumble and rumble.
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Re: Athletes on the move

Postby sidelined » Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:53 pm

That's a very interesting post, Sobe1.

I can't help feeling that all the talk of 'poaching' is very patronising to athletes and makes them seem like passive pawns in a power-play between rival coaches, rather than individuals making up their own minds about what is best for them. Some coaches seem to be on a real power trip and seem to talk about their athletes as if they were indentured slaves. (I'm not being specific here.)

If athlete transfers were to be regulated (and I can't see how without restricting athletes' freedom) what kind of system would people like to see in place?
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