UK Sport has launched its first Paralympic-specific coach development initiative, in response to a common theme emerging from Paralympic sports via the Mission 2012 monitoring tool, which helps drive performance standards across all Olympic and Paralympic sports.
Following a period of consultation with the sports in question, who had highlighted a need for help in the area of development of the coaching workforce, UK Sport has devised a 12 month programme, which will combine a series of four workshops alongside bespoke individual development plans, aimed at coaches working with London 2012 medal potential sports and athletes.
The initial introductory session, held at UK Sport’s London based head office last week, invited the coaches, alongside the Performance Director or Manager from within their sport, to discuss the key qualities of an elite coach working in Paralympic sport and shared challenges over the coming months towards the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
UK Sport’s Director of Performance, Peter Keen, presented to the group on the theme of the ‘pursuit of excellence’, and said: “This group is going to make a significant impact on our medal success at the Paralympic Games in 2012, so when the need for development was highlighted to us via Mission 2012 we felt it was imperative to support them.
“Via this programme we can share some of the ‘gold standards’ we have identified within the system, as well as some tips, tools and techniques which can be put to good use immediately within the sports.
“The group will also now have an ongoing network of cross-sport support, and the opportunity to share valuable knowledge and expertise in the build up to the home Games.”
Garry Peel, a coach on the programme from GB Wheelchair Basketball, said: "It's a great opportunity for Paralympic coaches to meet and discuss their experiences and also to help each other in producing the best athletes in the world in preparation for London."
The workshop content will be tailored to meet the coaches needs, but are likely to include topics such as developing self awareness, as well as communication and practical skills such as planning, goal setting and time management.
The coaches present for the initial introductory session to the programme were as follows: Tim Hazell (Disability Archery), Neil Horsfield (Disability Archery), Sinclair Thomas (Wheelchair Basketball), Garry Peel (Wheelchair Basketball), Tom O’Connor (Wheelchair Rugby), Pasan Kularatne (Disability Target Shooting), Matt Kenny (Disability Table Tennis), Geraint Richards (Wheelchair Tennis), Stuart Wilkinson (Wheelchair Tennis), Keith Antoine (Disability Athletics).