10 of the UK’s top high performance coaches have been chosen to be part of the inaugural intake of UK Sport’s World Class Coaching: Elite Programme.
The coaches selected are: Michel Assouline (Para-Equestrian Dressage), Mark Delaney (Canoeing), Christian Felkel (Rowing), Anna Mayes (Netball)*, Rob McCracken (Boxing), Dave McNulty (Swimming), Peter Moores (Cricket)*, Biz Price (Synchronised Swimming), Paul Thompson (Rowing), and Eddie Van Hoof (Gymnastics).
These coaches have been chosen due to their proven ability to deliver success at the highest level within the British high performance system, and will benefit from a ground-breaking three-year development programme, with an investment of approximately £20,000 per coach, per year. The Elite Programme will allow unparalleled access to world leading expertise, technology and experiences, while delivery of the programme will highly bespoke, designed to meet the needs of every individual coach and sport.
UK Sport has identified high performance coach development as a crucial area of focus if British sport is to better the incredible performance by Britain’s athletes at London 2012 in Rio in four years’ time, as well as creating a stronger, more sustainable high performance system, and the coaches selected have been identified as future leaders of coaching in their sport, capable of sharing their knowledge and expertise.
Liz Nicholl, Chief Executive of UK Sport, said: “I’d like to congratulate the coaches selected to our World Class Coaching: Elite Programme. UK Sport has set some highly ambitious goals for the next cycle, not the least the challenge of delivering a stronger, more sustainable high performance system. The system will only ever be as successful as the people within it, and these coaches have been selected for the important role they will play.
“These coaches are fantastic ambassadors, not only for their sports but for the coaching profession, and I commend them for embracing this opportunity to learn from other sports and industries, to be open and willing to share their own expertise and of course their commitment to continuous improvement for themselves, their sport and their athletes. We look forward to working with them on this exciting journey for British sport.”
UK Sport’s Head of Coaching, Graham Taylor, said: “Our aim is to take British Coaching from world class to world leading, and with these 10 excellent coaches selected to our Elite Programme I think we’ve made a fantastic start. These coaches possess second to none technical ability and proven track records of success, but we want to take their skills to the next level; they will support, learn from and inspire each other to innovate and anticipate, while engendering these characteristics in their athletes and teams to make brilliance business as usual in their sport.”
Michel Assouline, Head Coach, GB Para-Equestrian Dressage, said: “I was very honoured to be asked and to be taken as part of this group, on this Elite Programme. I have always felt in life, whether you are coaching or with other aspects, that it is a journey and you must carry on with your development, I’m really excited and I hope I can deliver.”
Mark Delaney, GB Canoeing Canoe Slalom Technical Coach, said: “This is a massive opportunity for me and really excited about mixing with coaches from other sports. I've been locked into the world of canoe slalom for the last 12 years so it will be great to see how top coaches in other sports operate, and share ideas and knowledge amongst ourselves.
“I know all the coaches on the course will be absolutely outstanding so I'm really excited about that. It will take me out of my comfort zone for sure, which is the only way you can make yourself better at anything, and I know I will learn a massive amount.”
Anna Mayes, Head Coach of England Netball, said: “I am excited and honoured to be part of the Elite Programme. I see it as an opportunity to work with and learn from world leading experts, both in and outside the world of sport, and to embrace the challenge of building and sustaining success. For England Netball, I hope this will help us take the next step towards becoming World Champions and world leaders of the sport.”
Rob McCracken, Performance Director and Head Coach at GB Boxing, said: "It is great to see that the importance of coaching is being recognised and that additional resources are being put into this vitally important area of high performance sport. As a coach, I am always looking at ways to get better and pick up news skills and techniques and am looking forward to taking part in this new programme."
Dave McNulty, British Swimming’s Bath ITC Head Coach, said: “It is a huge honour and a massive opportunity for me to be selected onto this first ground breaking UK Sport World Class Coaching “Elite Programme”. It is a three year programme leading to Rio 2016 and beyond, it will be great to share knowledge and expertise of coaching with the best in the world.”
Peter Moores, Head Coach at Lancashire County Cricket Club, said: “I am proud and honoured to have been selected for this fantastic programme. I have always thrived in elite coaching environments and to be working with top coaches from other sports will be an incredible experience. I continue to have very strong ambitions for my coaching career within cricket and I see this as a great marker in that path. I'd like to thank Lancashire CCC and the ECB for their support throughout this process.”
Biz Price, Performance Director and Head Coach to the British Synchronised Swimming team, said: “This is a great opportunity to share knowledge with other elite coaches in other disciplines in a formal and informal manner. It is incredibly exciting and an important part of my journey and personal development.
“Being able to identify areas of development needed with experts in many fields to broaden my experience base will be invaluable to the athletes and coaches I work with.
“Coaching is also about finding better ways to communicate with the athletes you work with. This is an excellent chance to learn, practice more methods and I feel excited to have elite coaches coaching me.”
Paul Thompson, Chief Coach (Women and Lightweights) for the GB Rowing Team, said: "With the knowledge that the performance that won in London may not be good enough to medal in Rio, the Elite Programme offers an exciting opportunity to make sure I can be in the best position to assist our rowers succeed in 2016. Being a bespoke programme that offers the opportunity to develop alongside a group of successful international coaches from other sports makes the Elite Programme a unique and exciting initiative. UK Sport should be commended for implementing a cutting edge programme that unashamedly pursues excellence in coach development and performance."
Eddie Van Hoof, Men’s Artistic Head Coach, British Gymnastics, said: “This is a really exciting time for British sport. For British Gymnastics the Elite Programme will offer us opportunities to grow and expand the sport. I look forward to working with the other coaches to develop new relationships and ideas.”
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.
With the launch of the Elite Programme, the career development pathway for high performance coaches working in British sport is complete. From the foundation programmes supported by sportscoachUK, for coaches operating at the home country level, through UK Sport’s Apprenticeship Programme and now the Elite Programme, world class coaching in the UK is in a stronger position than ever before.
*The coaches selected from non-Olympic and Paralympic sports are being supported to do so by their own National Governing Body and have been selected due to their commitment to their own professional development and the expertise they can bring to benefit the Elite Programme cohort.