With the countdown to London 2012 truly off and running, the need for outstanding British coaches has never been greater. UK Sport today unveiled the identities of nine coaches singled out for development – the majority of whom will be hoping to be the driving force behind home medal success in seven years time.
The move came as the UK’s high-performance sports organisation revealed the 2005 intake of its innovative 'Elite Coach’, which aims to accelerate the development of the nation’s most exciting coaching prospects. Being part of Elite Coach promises a challenging three-year journey on a fast track to coaching excellence.
The scheme will see tailor-made programmes developed for each of the nine coaches, which will not only allow them to develop their technical skills by working with and observing the best in action, but also to develop the leadership skills which are the hallmark of the best operators in high-performance environments in the world of sport, business, industry and the arts.
"As the name suggests, our intention is to take some of the most promising coaches that British sport has to offer and to expose them to the best practitioners from the sport sector and beyond - wherever they happen to be in the world", said Liz Nicholl, UK Sport’s Director of Performance. "When you add that to the ability for this group to share their experiences with one another, you have a powerful mix that will result in a new breed of elite coach capable of inspiring our athletes to new heights."
The announcement pits some former athletes with others who have already embarked on a coaching career and – in an expanding role for UK Sport – involves two elite rugby coaches:
- Ian Barker - Sailing
- Chris Boardman - Cycling
- Karen Brown - Hockey
- Steve Gladding - Diving
- Kate Howey - Judo
- Jim Mallinder – Rugby
- Ciaran O’Brien - Swimming
- Nigel Redman - Rugby
- Dan Salcedo - Triathlon
The nine new candidates will follow in the footsteps of last year’s inaugural group, who now have 12 months of experience under their belts and, for some, early medal success to celebrate.
Just making the starting line for the three year programme was an achievement in itself, as candidates – who had to be nominated by their governing bodies – underwent a rigorous selection process.
"Coaches will play a critical role in our ambition to move up the Olympic medal table both in Beijing and critically in London 2012. As such, Elite Coach represents a key strategic investment in our drive for success and as the past 12 months have shown, is capable of delivering results in an accelerated timeframe", added Nicholl.
"Whilst we had put a tremendous effort into building a programme around all those selected and were always confident that it would deliver, we hadn’t necessarily anticipated just how much the group would develop its own dynamic of support, challenge and drive, that has had a hugely positive impact on both the coaches and their sports."
Both the 2004 and 2005 groups will come together for the first time in October where they will hear from key figures within the high-performance coaching industry and spend time putting the finishing touches to their individual development programmes which will see them undertake anything from international exchange programmes with the world’s most successful sports, to placements in business and the arts.
UK Sport hopes that the £500,000 per year programme will over 50 elite British coaches by 2012.
The 2004 successful elite coaches were:
- John Amos - Weightlifting
- Tim Foster - Rowing
- Mike McFarlane – Athletics
- Graeme Randall – Judo
- Paul Ratcliffe – Canoeing
- Kevin Renshaw – Swimming
- Adam Sotheran – Diving
- Nick Strange - Rowing