Following their final workshop this week (20-22 December), the 12 coaches who make up the 2010-11 Elite Coaching Apprenticeship Programme (ECAP) will become the first graduates of the coach development scheme.
The two-year programme offers an accelerated development opportunity for emerging high performance coaches who are already working within the High Performance System, to enable them to become the elite coaches of the future.
One of the graduating cohort, canoe slalom coach, Nick Smith, said: “As a retired athlete transitioning into a coaching role, ECAP has been an exciting opportunity for me to develop my coaching skills.
“The delivery team has led us through a variety of topics relevant to high performance coaching. The course has inspired me to continually progress, face challenges and have a better understanding of others.”
Coming together for the seventh and final workshop at Ashridge Business School, the coaches will this week reflect and consolidate what they have learnt throughout the programme, whilst also providing the opportunity to think about how they will continue their development going forward.
UK Sport Director of Performance, Peter Keen, who will present the coaches with their graduation certificates, said: “I congratulate the 12 coaches who are graduating from ECAP this week for the hard work and dedication they have shown over the past two years. I have no doubt that the journey they have been on and lessons they have learnt will aid them enormously as they continue to progress with their coaching careers.
“Ensuring we have a system in place that means we can nurture and develop our best coaches is crucial to the continued success of British Olympic and Paralympic sport and programmes like ECAP enable this to happen.”
The course offers a combination of individualised ‘on the job’ training, with the coaches working alongside designated Master Coaches and Mentors, complemented by a structured workshop programme, focussing on the non-technical coaches skills. Guest speakers, including England U21 and Team GB football coach, Stuart Pearce, have spoken to the group, offering guidance and advice.
Speaking about the progress made by ECAP graduate and Taekwondo coach, Steve Jennings, GB Taekwondo Performance Director, Gary Hall, said: “Steve has been able to utilise all the benefits of ECAP within his daily role as High Performance Coach to the GB Taekwondo team. Steve has been able to learn and develop in an environment with other coaches who deal with similar performance issues as he does on a daily basis.
“ECAP is a valued elite coach development opportunity delivered by people at UK Sport who understand the needs of elite coaches and thus it is a programme which GB Taekwondo holds in high regard.”
Steve Jennings said: “ECAP workshops have been interactive and enjoyable but also very challenging, we have been taken out of our comfort zone but this was a major part of my learning and something I am really appreciative of.
“The opportunity to work alongside some of Britain’s most successful coaches has been priceless, as have the relationships that we’ve built between us and the honesty we have all come to speak with.
“ECAP has taught me how to effectively manage myself and others; it has been the springboard that has taken my coaching skills and overall approach to a new level.”
Commenting on the progress of another of the coaches, hockey’s Craig Parnham, GB Hockey Performance Director, David Faulkner said: “We are delighted with Craig’s graduation and the value of ECAP on his development. ECAP has helped Craig reflect widely on his approach to coaching, benefiting from experiences with coaches from other sports and understanding himself in leadership and management of staff and athletes.”
Two further groups of emerging high performance coaches are currently midway through their own ECAP journeys, with the latest intake announced by UK Sport in October.
2010-11 Elite Coaching Apprenticeship Graduates
Ian Wynne (Canoeing – Flat Water)
Rob Greenwood (Swimming)
Paul Manning (Cycling)
Mark Earnshaw (Rowing)
Nick Smith (Canoe – Slalom)
James Hillier (Athletics)
Jonas Tawiah Dodoo (Athletics)
Mark Rose (Swimming)
Greg Baker (Disability Table Tennis)
Steve Jennings (Taekwondo)
Craig Parnham (Hockey)
Luke Preston (Judo)