UK Sport has identified high performance coach development as a crucial area for enhanced investment if British sport is to maintain the incredible performance standards set by Britain’s athletes at London 2012.
A significant increase in funding for elite coaching for the next cycle will be considered by UK Sport’s Board in December, alongside investment decisions for all Olympic and Paralympic sports and landscape partners. Taking elite coach development to the next level will be key to support the aim of maintaining performance in Rio 2016, while creating a stronger, more sustainable high performance system.
A key intervention for the next cycle, which will be unveiled to coaches and Performance Directors at UK Sport’s World Class Performance Conference today (Monday 26 November), is the World Class Coaching: Elite Programme. The Elite Programme will look to support up to 12 top coaches, working within the British high performance system, with proven ability to deliver success at the highest level. This ground-breaking three-year development programme, with an investment of £20,000 per coach, per year, is designed to make those selected future leaders of coaching in their sport, capable of sharing their knowledge and expertise.
UK Sport’s Head of Coaching, Graham Taylor, said: “Our aim is to take British Coaching from world class to world leading, such that the performance levels from London can be maintained in Rio and beyond. London proved testament to the existing quality of coaches within the UK yet we know there is more than can be achieved.
“With the launch of the Elite Programme, we now have a clear career development pathway for high performance coaches working in British sport. Through the foundation programmes led by sportscoachUK, for coaches operating at the home country level, through our Apprenticeship programme and now the Elite programme, world class coaching in the UK is in a stronger position than ever before.”
UK Sport has worked with over 200 coaches on their professional development over the past eight years, and of these, more than 50 worked with athletes who competed at London 2012 where Team GB and ParalympicsGB achieved outstanding medal hauls. These coaches worked directly with athletes who secured at least 32 of the medals won across the Olympic and Paralympic Games, including 12 golds.
While London 2012 showcased the fantastic coaches working within British sport, UK Sport’s Mission 2012 reporting process sports highlighted ‘Coaching’ as the most rated ‘red’ or ‘amber’ element of athlete support over the London Olympic and Paralympic cycle. This indicated sports felt they ‘needed help’ from UK Sport or were ‘working on it’, and with athletes rating coaching as the most important support service1, this is clearly an area where the UK high performance system can continue to make good progress with UK Sport’s backing.
UK Sport Chair and former Chief Executive of the National Coaching Foundation (now sportscoachUK), Baroness Sue Campbell, said: “Coaches are fundamental to every athlete’s success and, just like any other fast paced, demanding career, coaches need to be well
supported in their development.
“We want to build on the success of our athletes at London 2012, and we believe coach development to be a key way to retain talent and expertise within the system and lay stronger foundations from which our athletes can thrive in the future.”
GB Rowing Team Performance Director, David Tanner, said: “Top quality coaching has been a cornerstone of our successful performance programme. We have not only ensured continuity of excellence from our top guns led by our two Senior Coaches, Jurgen Grobler and Paul Thompson, but we have striven to recruit and develop coaching talent across the board.
“I am sure that UK Sport’s World Class Coaching programmes will help sports like ours and others to nurture the next crop of coaches who will become a vital part of any team's success."