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Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

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Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby Geoff » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:43 pm

A thought provoking article by Gwenda Ward which I suggest the majority of experienced coaches in the UK will agree with. I assume there will be some who don't but it raises issues and challenges that cannot be ignored and sums up how many people feel. Is it possible to unravel the current development and coaching set-up designed by well paid bureaucrats in UK Sport?

Some extracts:

Re CVC and Daegu....We onlookers can only agree. This is certainly not the finished or even nearly finished product that we might have expected for our £11,000,000 per annum investment. Notwithstanding the national delight at the medals accrued by Mo’s maturity, Greene’s composure, Ennis’s courage, England’s joyful and elegant opportunism, Idowu’s solidity and Turner’s luck, there is much to be concerned about one year away from London.

.........But the real worries go far beyond the ups and downs of Daegu. A couple of medals more or less in London might be a side-issue if the system that has been so expensively put in place was strengthening the sport’s infrastructure so as to consistently produce talent able to realistically vie for top 8 status. But the Shakes-Draytons, Morses and Williamses are thin on the ground. In sprinting the stream of male talent no longer seems to be making it through. Women’s sprinting, Williams apart, is not continuing the gentle improvements of recent seasons. With the exception of two pole vaulters and recruits Aldama and Proctor, women’s jumping is all but dead in terms of global standards…and so on and so on.

Why is this the case? Of the many contributory factors, the state of coaching must be the most fundamental. It seems rare to find a coach who is happy with the system these days, and my experience is that the nearer to the top the coach functions at, the less happy in the sport he, or very occasionally she, is likely to be. I have the impression that the higher echelons of coaching can be a bit like the court of Henry VIII. Fear and insecurity, suspicion, power-play, manipulation, who’s in – who’s out, opaque decision-making, shifting goal posts….mixed metaphors not withstanding, not a particularly happy ship!

..........Upon these ancient axioms is based every development strategy the sport as ever had and it seems to me these have mostly failed. The notion that your average athletics club functions in order to “develop the next generation of champions” is based in faith, not reality. The idea that a club or even a cluster of clubs can supply an adequate coaching service to cover all events and levels of talent in its area is based in hope, not experience. The assumption that, even if and when a state of the art coach education syllabus is available, sufficient numbers of intelligent, caring and athletically ambitious individuals, with just the right event group and geographical spread, are going to fund themselves through the system, donate all their spare hours to the detriment of family and career, and then happily give up the talent they develop to a highly paid, controlled and pressurised “elite” is deeply unrealistic.

http://www.theinsidetrack.org.uk/
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby SteveK26 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:25 pm

The problem , in my opinion, lies in the schools PE programmes . Every school should have a well qualified, all-round athletics coach, capable of passing on good basic skills in most events. These coaches should come through the educational system where a career in PE is not viewed as a poor mans academic.In other words it should be a respected, well paid and desirable occupation to take up, and should sit squarely alongside all the other teacher posts in our schools.
Its not happening at the moment,to my knowledge, and most athletic talent is lost to football. Nobody is inspiring the kids at an early age. I dread to think how low the interaction between schools and clubs has fallen. Do we now just HOPE the talent is out there somewhere?
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby sidelined » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:27 pm

Thanks for posting this, Geoff. I just read the previous blog, about the lack of women in positions of power in athletics, which was equally interesting. Here are a couple of quotes:

...the absence of female influence in decision making affects athletes; the bottom line is that there are fewer women athletes and they perform less well because their differences from male athletes are ignored. Any resulting under-performance is seen as evidence of their shortcomings, not the fact that they have had a handicap imposed on them. There are fewer female coaches because a male perception of what coaching is and how it should be done is so dominant.

...absence of serious attention to mental preparation for performance, and indeed the occasional active hostility to it by some coaches is, I suspect, an outcome of the exclusively male perspective on what coach education should address. (I’d love to hear the views of coaches and athletes on this – especially if you disagree). But it is undoubtedly a glaring omission which seriously hampers many athletes’ ability to perform on the day, and which can be a particular issue for women, especially those coached by charismatic “big” personality male coaches.

But the chances of getting the current regime to accommodate basic mental preparation and “coaching for confidence” techniques at a simple level into their hard science dogma are remote. And of course this same hard science approach makes it impossible to discuss many of the other powerful issues that inhibit female success.


The two blogs are, to my mind, closely related...
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby bevone » Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:25 pm

I dont think we should go down the blame it on the school teacher line. In fact many PE teachers are actually excellent coaches and are in the voluntary system already. Athletics is like cricket and rugby, very much a club based sport. You cannot teach cricket in 12 lessons in the summer - you go to your local club just as having three javelin lessons in three years at school will not make you a world beater athlete. It is what you do when the raw material shows up. How many have access to PV or hammer faciities or coaches or both? How many throws coaches are at each track. Most trackes are full of kids doing laps and spinters doing drills and then ruinning bends!!!!!!
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby usedtoit33 » Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:36 pm

I suppose it depends on what you see the job of PE teacher to be. He/she is there to teach the children about a range of different sports and, given the obesity/lack of physical activity in today's society, the benefits of exercise, and encourage children to be as active as possible. I do think it's important that children try as many different things as possible to find out what they enjoy most and what they're good at.

I'd hope that the PE teacher would point the gifted students towards the local club of whatever sport they're interested in. There can be conflicts between club and school though. When I was running in the 80s, I joined a club independently of the school. Local clubs weren't mentioned. Naturally enough, the PE dept were focused on having their better athletes compete in schools competitions and weren't happy if I was running for the club on the same weekend as a schools event.

Clubs, sadly are voluntary organisations and unless they become self-funding and raise enough money themselves to pay at least a coach's expenses, there's never going to be enough public funding for them. Especially in today's economic climate. I don't object to children paying a small fee per coaching session, as they do in other sports. My friend's son pays each time he goes to a football training. Does this happen in clubs these days?

It is shocking to read that people are hostile to the idea of mental preparation. I seem to remember a series of sports psychology seminars for female athletes in the 90s having a lot of success and remember interviews where the leading athletes said they really benefited from them. Mental preparation is what brings it all together! You can overthink things, but if you're doing it right it can only help.

And I fully agree about the lack of female coaches and representation being a key issue. There are the obvious physiological and psychological differences between the genders to consider. And having female representation at the higher levels would help women's sport immensely. I can't believe I'm still advocating more female representation in sport nearly 30 years after the WAAA joined with the AAA.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby trickstat » Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:18 pm

As regards female coaches, Sally Pearson has had the same female coach since she was 12 while a woman coached Kelly Holmes to her double Olympic gold.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby Kermit » Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:14 am

I agree there should be more female coaches, just as there should be more female strength & conditioning coaches, but let's bring it back a step and look at schools. If you are going to identify kids for sports that has to start in Primary schools and that is virtually impossible without a male member of staff!

It is a known fact that the teaching fraternity is screaming out for more male teachers and this lack of male teachers brings it's own problems to those children of single parent families - a lack of a male role model. Let's face it the majority of women detest sports so they will discourage it.

Then we have another problem looming just like we had with the last Tory government. Here is a headline from one of tomorrow morning's broadsheets....

Major sporting bodies, including the Football Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Lawn Tennis Association and the Rugby Football Union, fear that new planning rules will remove crucial protection for playing fields and open spaces


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/hands- ... lders.html
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby LJforlife » Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:20 am

SteveK26 wrote:The problem , in my opinion, lies in the schools PE programmes . Every school should have a well qualified, all-round athletics coach, capable of passing on good basic skills in most events. These coaches should come through the educational system where a career in PE is not viewed as a poor mans academic.In other words it should be a respected, well paid and desirable occupation to take up, and should sit squarely alongside all the other teacher posts in our schools.
Its not happening at the moment,to my knowledge, and most athletic talent is lost to football. Nobody is inspiring the kids at an early age. I dread to think how low the interaction between schools and clubs has fallen. Do we now just HOPE the talent is out there somewhere?


I agree it does start in school I finished school a few years ago now (showing my age) during my time at school it was all about football, you could play for your borough, county, england schoolboy trials we traveled all over england in the national cup. I sought of fell into athletics only because I was half good at a couple events and could run fast, most children in schools knowledge about athletics in general is very poor in terms of events, clubs, international, uka and gb athletics team etc ask a class how you go about running in the olympics most will probably have no idea ask them how you can play in the world cup I reckon 3/4 would know, how do we expect kids to be passionate and excited about something they don't even understand?
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby trickstat » Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:51 am

Kermit wrote:It is a known fact that the teaching fraternity is screaming out for more male teachers and this lack of male teachers brings it's own problems to those children of single parent families - a lack of a male role model. Let's face it the majority of women detest sports so they will discourage it.


I'm not 100% sure if I would go as far as to say the the majority of women actually "detest" sport, but there is a very large number who are not at all keen, I think they can be split into 2 main categories:

1) The sport "widows" - typically those who are fed up with their partner spending so much of his time watching football on TV and possibly live. Obviously, a single mother cannot actually fall into this category as she has no live-in partner. She may, however resentment from past experience of former partner(s) and/or family members.

2) Bad memories from their experience of Games and PE lessons at school. I think these tend to revolve around things like unflattering kit, cold winter days and not being into competition as she feels it is not in her nature or, for want of a better way of putting it, she has been "conditioned" into thinking it is "unfeminine".

I think the single mother who doesn't actually detest sport but feels she knows very little about it will be very wary of taking their son or daughter, who they have been told is talented, to their local sports club. She would likely be scared that she would feel like "a fish out of water" there and lacks the past experience of sport that a man is more likely to have had. On top of this, financial issues are often a problem or at least a worry.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby srb » Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:05 pm

'It is a known fact that the teaching fraternity is screaming out for more male teachers and this lack of male teachers brings it's own problems to those children of single parent families - a lack of a male role model. Let's face it the majority of women detest sports so they will discourage it.'

I have found when this topic is brought up that female teachers get very agitated and on the whole disagree. They point out that an awful lot of primary Head teachers are male. There are a lot of all-female primaries who do not want a male teacher on the staff.
However, there are more female teachers who are not really into sport let alone athletics. I have found that Cricket is more popular among the few male teachers (mainly heads) than athletics. Cricket seems to be more proactive as a NGB. Remember the Cricket fiascoes of past years? In fact, for many schools athletics is done up until Whitsun as they prepare for their local area sports. Then it stops. There is little awareness of clubs especially when you move into the rural areas of the Country. Most teachers are not local. Without the SSP (not that they were that good in a lot of areas) there is little chance of links unless the Clubs are very proactive (and this is not just in Athletics).

Basically, it comes down to the Clubs and UKA/EA. Most clubs are only just self-sufficient and could never afford to pay a coach to go into schools which is what is required. Bearing in mind that Networks are going to have to become more independent how is this state of affairs going to change?
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby GBSupporter » Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:20 pm

I think the article Geoff submitted was making the point the top needs to sort itself out coaching wise . It makes sense to do that before you concentrate on schools . Geoff and possibly a few others would know more about that than myself .
Looking at it from a bystanders point of view I see vast differences between the Cycling and Rowing ethos and athletics .
One thing that stands out for me ,elite individuals are brought together ,train as a squad ,and overseen by a head coach . At least thats my understanding . The focus being to get the best people doing the events they are best at in world terms . If they dont make the grade but have potential they try them out in a different event .
I realise you cannot convert a shot putter to a sprinter but there are overlaps to be explored.
Secondly I think Mo Farah has proved the point , in order to become a world beater you need to go that one step further .All distance runners should now be looking at Mo and asking themselves do I have what it takes to achieve the same . For me this applies right across athletics.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby bevone » Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:57 pm

It is sad to hear that some schools still only play football as was reported but a PE teacher should be introducing talent to clubs such as athletics clubs. I know several private schools who send their best athletes to the local national league hockey club or a few state schools send their best athletes to the local natinal league basketball club. With an inlfux of eastern europeans many of the schools now play basketball and again send their best athletes to the local national league basketball club as basketball is really popular in europe and these kids can play. If we look at the Olmypic sports such as rowing, modern pentathlon, sailing and many more - (even athletics) many of the particapants are reliant on the public schools/grammar schools system provding their school experience and rugby really is the same. When you look at what many state schools can provide - with excellent facilities and sports centres on site usually - there is nobody there to teach certain sports becuase there are no school leagues to get involed in. Football and netball seem to be the only sports that do regional and local leagues. I know where I come from, there was a county league but was poorly supported.

I dont know why this coutnry does not try adn invest in coaches to start school league structres ion several events starting at regional level then going to regional finals then on to national finals. Copy the US system and pay qualifeid coaches to train teams and organise events. Within years the standards of sprt will increase, and who knows you could have the upsurge in teams per city and have city and then intercity leagues. now this is a public/private partnership that I think most people would be interested in!!!!!

It does fall upon the teacher to direct talent to local clubs and sportsmark is/was the standard PE departments woudl strive for tho demonstrate that schools had club links and were actively sending their kids to local clubs.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby Exile » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:55 am

trickstat wrote:As regards female coaches, Sally Pearson has had the same female coach since she was 12 while a woman coached Kelly Holmes to her double Olympic gold.


Without wishing to get into any "UKA-bashing", I wonder whether if Sally Pearson was British, her coach would have been allowed to continue with her once she showed international promise. I suspect, and this is a comment on the system as it stands, that a similarly talented British youngster would be directed to a Hipac and "invited" to join the group of a UKA employee.

In Sally's case, her achievements and experiences have no doubt helped her coach develop and will likely have proved inspirational to many other coach-athlete partnerships. It is highly unlikely that such a situation would occur here - either in terms of a female coach, or an "amateur" coach being allowed to coach an athlete from the age of 12 to World gold. Instead, I fear there would be contracts to sign, moves to make and the end result would be put at risk. A shame.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby sidelined » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:13 pm

Exile wrote:
trickstat wrote:As regards female coaches, Sally Pearson has had the same female coach since she was 12 while a woman coached Kelly Holmes to her double Olympic gold.


Without wishing to get into any "UKA-bashing", I wonder whether if Sally Pearson was British, her coach would have been allowed to continue with her once she showed international promise. I suspect, and this is a comment on the system as it stands, that a similarly talented British youngster would be directed to a Hipac and "invited" to join the group of a UKA employee.

In Sally's case, her achievements and experiences have no doubt helped her coach develop and will likely have proved inspirational to many other coach-athlete partnerships. It is highly unlikely that such a situation would occur here - either in terms of a female coach, or an "amateur" coach being allowed to coach an athlete from the age of 12 to World gold. Instead, I fear there would be contracts to sign, moves to make and the end result would be put at risk. A shame.


Tony Minichiello has coached Jessica Ennis from aged 12 to world gold. Alex Stanton did the same for Paula Radcliffe.

The coaches trickstat mentions aren't British, of course. I think it is scandalous that there are only two women currently coaching lottery-funded athletes: Glenys Morton and Liz McColgan. And the power structures in athletics are entirely dominated by men, and white men at that. There's no sign of change. Anyone who wants to accuse me of being 'PC' should first read Gwenda Ward's article about how organisations with balanced structures are more effective. We often talk about the wasted talent of athletes who drop out of the sport. There must be a lot of coaching talent going to waste too.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby Exile » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:43 pm

Tony Minichiello has coached Jessica Ennis from aged 12 to world gold. Alex Stanton did the same for Paula Radcliffe.


I may be wrong, but I think Jess Ennis was encouraged to move elsewhere, but fought tooth and nail to allow Toni to continue as her coach and to stay in Sheffield. Had she not managed to be so successful so quickly perhaps she would have not been able to argue from such a strong position and things might have been different? I wonder if anyone knows off hand how many of the Podium level athletes are still with their original coaches? It would be even more difficult to find out how many were encouraged to switch coach after signing contracts.

Of course, switching coaches is not necessarily a bad thing, but I think it should be the athlete's decision and the athlete's alone, without any incentives from elsewhere.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby Geoff » Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:47 pm

I'm not sure Toni coached Jess exclusively from the age of 12 but certainly did from around 15 or so. Jess was asked to move and I believe CVC wanted a more hands on involvement in her coaching. Sheffield Council and others stepped in to ensure physio and other support was available in Sheffield. Eventually Toni was appointed national Combined Events coach and Katarina Johnson-Thompson was encouraged to work part time with Toni and CVC is alleged to have said we're paying him 50 grand a year so he needs to earn it! KJT has stayed with her coach for the present at least.

Toni stayed in the national coach role for a few months before being made an Olympic coach with his main responsibility being to coach Jess. I don't think we have a national combined events coach but do have a development coach based at Lee Valley.

You can see there was a battle over Jess, something which should never have happened. Other athletes have changed coaches for podium support. There are also a number of UKA development coaches who are expected to coach up and coming athletes.

All this affects coaching elsewhere and leads to demoralisation and giving up altogether. It cannot be right for the sport as a whole.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby sidelined » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:02 pm

Here's an interesting article about how the triathlon NGB is not attempting to concentrate all its athletes in a couple of centres - for example the Brownlee brothers have remained in their original base in Leeds. I wonder how different this really is from Jess's case? Is Zara Hyde-Peters still in charge?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olliewilliam ... ance.shtml
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby trickstat » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:05 pm

sidelined wrote:Here's an interesting article about how the triathlon NGB is not attempting to concentrate all its athletes in a couple of centres - for example the Brownlee brothers have remained in their original base in Leeds. I wonder how different this really is from Jess's case? Is Zara Hyde-Peters still in charge?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/olliewilliam ... ance.shtml


A quick g***** reveals ZH-P is CEO.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby hank » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:51 pm

All these comments are true, but also false in equal measure. Some PE departments are poor, but then others are outstanding. Some areas have no athletics going on at all, and then where I live in south Essex, many of the schools seem to be doing 2 school based comps every week in the summer, and are drilled every morning and lunch time by their PE department. This does not go on everywhere, and national strategies fail because they are only appropriate for a fraction of the country.

Some athletes are with coaches who do not really know what they are doing, and will eventually grow out of that relationship. They need to move to progress, or be retained. Other coaches are good, and have been mistreated and undermined by (Some) in the NGB (and some in EA have helped).

All of our sports targets are about medals at major games, or about running participation. Change these and or professional administration will sign to a different tune.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby Kermit » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:00 pm

Geoff wrote: I don't think we have a national combined events coach but do have a development coach based at Lee Valley.


Gregg Phillips multi events squad was based at Chemsford up to the Melbourne CG. Whilst the move to Lee Valley wasn't forced upon them them by UKA they had no choice once Chelmsford City moved in to Melbourne Stadium.

UKA played heavy with PSD & her coach when they were based at the Brunel HiPAC. Coach was tied to Brunel due to work purposes but PSD was told that if she didn't move to Lee Valley then she would not get funding. I believe England Athletics intervened.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby TheRealSub10 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:17 pm

sidelined wrote:
Exile wrote:
trickstat wrote:I think it is scandalous that there are only two women currently coaching lottery-funded athletes: Glenys Morton and Liz McColgan. And the power structures in athletics are entirely dominated by men, and white men at that. There's no sign of change.
To add a little balance to this perspective first of all CVC himself is mixed race and second since the new regime started they have employed 3 maybe even 4 female coaches (all of whom seem very bright and hard working) and set up a women s committee with annual conference and other get togethers. It's a step in the right direction rather than the 'no sign of change' that you suggest. As for Sharon (Sally's coach) you might be interested to know she has always worked to better herself and may be even getting a little help and advice from a few British sources after visiting the UK a couple of years ago on a Athletics Australia scholarship.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby sidelined » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:50 pm

TheRealSub10, I stand corrected. Obviously these changes take time. It's interesting that Cameron is talking about imposing quotas for female board members for private companies, as they do in Finland. I wonder if that might apply to NGOs too? UKA could start moving in that direction now.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby Kermit » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:25 am

I believe that what Cameron is saying is lip service to buy the future votes of women. Women have the same problems in coaching and the health & fitness industry as black managers & coaches do in the world of Football.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby sidelined » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:34 am

Kermit wrote:I believe that what Cameron is saying is lip service to buy the future votes of women. Women have the same problems in coaching and the health & fitness industry as black managers & coaches do in the world of Football.


I'm sure you're right, Kermit, but that doesn't mean it's not a good idea...
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby gruffalo » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:15 pm

As far as the Top British coaches are concerned you can talk all about politcal hiearchy etc but the question always will be are they good enough. For the vast majority I think not.

My favourite quotes
"A coach may be defined as an egoistic person who associates with an athlete in an effort to enhance his/her own credibility"

"unbridled natural talent" - commentator on Eurosport or Beeb re Kirani James

"You talk about this stuff like you read it in a book" - Brian Cox in the Bourne Supremacy

How do you gauge how good a coach is?? Just because he/she has done a UK course doesn't make them world class (re "Brian Cox") or have the ability to hone natural talent rather than bridling it - because they have read a book.

The thing is the sport is professional. For the top athletes and their coaches it is their full-time job. As professionals they should be expected to be treated like professionals.

And what are the coaches. I see them as Employees to the Athletes (Employer) - not the other way round.
For the top athletes on Podium funding let's face it in any other professional role in life, especially in sport, many of the coaches would be sacked for failing to bring success.

Whats more many of the so-called top coaches are affiliated to so many athletes at different clubs that the law of averages states eventually you will have an "international" success. How much is that down to the coach or the individuals "unbridled natural talent"

It shouldn't matter (politically) which coach which athlete is with. Male/female/black/white/green or whether or not they are on UKAs preferred list. The athlete is the employer so should be entitled to a say without fear of political intervention.

That is why in a previous post I said I feared for Jodie Williams. I don't know whether she is with the right coach now or if she should move to XXX or if UKA will try to "force" her to move or given Team GBs ever more disappointing sprinters generally whether there is a coach in the UK worthy of Jodies "unbridled natural talent"
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby GBSupporter » Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:12 pm

[quote="gruffalo"]And what are the coaches. I see them as Employees to the Athletes (Employer) - not the other way round.
For the top athletes on Podium funding let's face it in any other professional role in life, especially in sport, many of the coaches would be sacked for failing to bring success.

Its a bit simplistic to blame an athletes failure on a coach . Surely an athlete has to take responsibility also. Clearly theres some coaches like Malcolm Arnold and Aston Moore that do get it right .So if one of the athletes coached by them fails for whatever reason is it down to the coach or the athlete ?
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby gruffalo » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:09 pm

GBsupporter

It may be simplistic to you but it is how you perceive the coaches role. There are many coaches who give up their free time unpaid to coach athletes who also train in their free time. Both holding down full time jobs. I see these people as a completely different animal to the professional athlete and the professional coach relationship. Especially where both are receiving "funding" or support for their jobs from a NGB. If an athlete fails to produce the goods then they are removed from the funding/support level - but what happens to their coaches. How many of a coaches athletes need to fail/not progress before the coach themselves are deemd to be as responsible for the failure as the athletes.

People are very quick to apportion all blame on the athletes. IMO opinion unfairly.

Many people have been critical of athletes, especially the sprinters - there have been even murmurings from the mumbling colin jackson and other comments on the beeb regarding the sprinters and now the coaches.

Michael Johnson once remarked that UKA was rewarding mediocrity (athletes) - I think it equally applies to the coaches.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby Kermit » Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:49 pm

gruffalo wrote:That is why in a previous post I said I feared for Jodie Williams. I don't know whether she is with the right coach now or if she should move to XXX or if UKA will try to "force" her to move or given Team GBs ever more disappointing sprinters generally whether there is a coach in the UK worthy of Jodies "unbridled natural talent"


No need to worry. She is being funded outside of UKA by a multi-millionaire, trained by a former Olympian and one of Europe's best sprint coaches who if I am not mistaken was the coach of the last gold medal winning 4x100m relay squad.

They withstood a lot of pressure from UKA (and many of posters on this website!) to compete at this year's WC whilst achieving her main goal and becoming the country's fastest female sprinter of the year.

She is in very good hands.
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby Geoff » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:25 pm

Kermit wrote:
No need to worry. She is being funded outside of UKA by a multi-millionaire, trained by a former Olympian and one of Europe's best sprint coaches who if I am not mistaken was the coach of the last gold medal winning 4x100m relay squad.


I agree with your comments on Mike Mcfarlane but if you are referring to the Athens 4x100 relay team their coach was Steve Perks who is now a South Wales headteacher and has recently been appointed as a director of Welsh Athletics.

I have never been sure why McFarlane was basically sacked by UKA but he's certainly well respected around the world and has coached three successive World Youth 200m champions. How can we justify a system which encourages athletes to leave a coach like him and move to a governing body funded full time coach with promises of funding and additional support?

A reminder of the last part of Gwenda Ward's article....
The assumption that, even if and when a state of the art coach education syllabus is available, sufficient numbers of intelligent, caring and athletically ambitious individuals, with just the right event group and geographical spread, are going to fund themselves through the system, donate all their spare hours to the detriment of family and career, and then happily give up the talent they develop to a highly paid, controlled and pressurised “elite” is deeply unrealistic.

Gwenda's article articulates some of the wider concerns and issues of the sport and the lack of a 'seamless structure.'
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Re: Next Stop London. All Change, Please.

Postby TheRealSub10 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:46 am

Geoff wrote:The assumption that, even if and when a state of the art coach education syllabus is available, sufficient numbers of intelligent, caring and athletically ambitious individuals, with just the right event group and geographical spread, are going to fund themselves through the system, donate all their spare hours to the detriment of family and career, and then happily give up the talent they develop to a highly paid, controlled and pressurised “elite” is deeply unrealistic.

Gwenda's article articulates some of the wider concerns and issues of the sport and the lack of a 'seamless structure.'
If you are really serious about taking someone to the elite level then how is a coach education syllabus going to help you? Since the dawn of time the best coaches have been self starters who didn't wait for anything, they found the best people they could find and learned from them directly. Coach education is not aimed at producing world record holders but at supporting your average club coach who doesn't have the time or resources to find the information for themselves. And as far as i can remember anyone who was really serious about being a fantastic coach (the John Anderson's and Wilf Paishe's of this world) ended up being employed by the federation anyway because their hard graft earned it. Of course that doesn't stop people like Wilf being forced out by the more seedy characters of our sport after the fact but that is another story.
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