Parents' insight takes centre stageSubscribe
Grace Cullen 05 April 2012
The parents of some of GB’s top Olympic hopefuls were on hand to share their experiences of the development of their son or daughter at UK Sport’s ‘High Performance Parenting’ workshop last week.
Double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington’s parents, Kay and Steve, marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe’s parents, Pat and Peter, Francesca Halsall’s father, Andrew, and Alison and Chris Mantell, the parents of GB hockey players Richard and Simon, formed an expert panel at the Talent Masterclass at Rugby School.
Led by the UK Talent Team (a collaboration between UK Sport and the English Institute of Sport [EIS]), High Performance Parenting was the final Masterclass in the three-part series, which was aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the elite development pathway in Olympic and Paralympic sport.
The delegates – development managers, coaches and practitioners responsible for the identification and development of elite sporting talent across a range of Olympic sports –spent two days hearing the perspectives of parents, coaches, a former Performance Director and practitioners from across the sporting landscape, with the aim of understanding the key actions necessary to ensure an effective relationship between the athlete, coach, parent and the World Class programme.
Outlining how he plans to take lessons learnt from the Masterclass back to his sport, one of the delegates, British Triathlon Performance Development Manager, Simon Mills, said: “I have already started planning how we can better work with the parents to support our athletes. For us this will start with the clarification of responsibilities and setting out the importance of coherent messaging across and around the athlete.”
The two-day workshop also included the insights of Judy Murray, parent of British tennis stars Andy and Jamie, and captain of the GB Federation Cup, and Jessica Ennis’s coach, Toni Minichiello.
Alex Stacey, Athlete Development Coordinator for the UK Talent Team, explained: “Parents play a crucial role in supporting athletes at all levels of sport but particularly in developing elite athletes, so it is important that coaches, managers and practitioners understand the role of parents as part of the support team around each athlete.
“We were pleased to have some really great speakers which stimulated some good discussions during the sessions. We also provided delegates with a framework of how actions from the session can be practically applied within each of their sports.”
Two previous Masterclasses, ‘Talent Profiling and Confirmation’ and ‘Supporting the Developing Athlete’ were held in December and January respectively.