Coaches on UK Sport’s Elite Coaching Apprenticeship Programme (ECAP) were joined by peers from their sport as they gave one final presentation before graduating from the prestigious course.
The two-year development programme aims to accelerate the learning of coaches already working within the high performance system to enable them to become the elite coaches of the future.
Gathered at Ashridge Business School for their closing workshop, the 12 coaches were congratulated by UK Sport Performance Director Simon Timson.
Timson said: “Front and centre to our strategy to build a stronger and more sustainable high performance system is ensuring that the system is populated by world class people in all areas and at all levels, you are at the very heart of that.”
Timson concluded by asking the coaches to reflect and look ahead to the future: “What is the one key thing you have learnt on this programme that will make the single biggest difference to your coaching and your athletes on the next leg of your journey?
“You have a very serious responsibility as we look to Rio, Tokyo and beyond. You are part of the future of British sport.”
The 2011-13 cohort of coaches represent a range of Olympic and Paralympic sports and includes GB Rowing Team’s Paul Stannard, who was recently awarded the Nick Broad Award for Emerging Talent by Leaders In Performance.
Stannard, who coached Olympic champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning on British Rowing’s successful Team Start Programme and is now working with the GB senior team, said: “ECAP has given me a greater understanding in my abilities as a coach, I have more confidence in those abilities and I’m more able to use them with my athletes on a daily basis.”
Another of the graduating coaches, former world and European swimming medallist Mel Marshall, said: “It’s been a real rollercoaster, I feel like I’ve just got to the end and I’m now able to enjoy the view. There have been a lot of challenges and times when we’ve felt uncomfortable, but those challenges have allowed us to become quite certain in our abilities.”
ECAP follows a traditional apprenticeship model, where the Apprentice Coach learns ‘on the job’ alongside a Master Coach from within the sport, with on-going support from a Mentor.
British Gymnastics’ men’s artistic head coach Eddie Van Hoof, himself part of UK Sport’s Elite Programme, has acted as a Master Coach to junior national coach Barry Collie.
Speaking about ECAP Van Hoof said: “It gives coaches the opportunity to find out what their real focus is and what their beliefs and philosophies are.
“Barry was one of my first appointments six years ago, he came straight out of the sport and the first two years were tough for him while he got used to being on the other side of the fence, but having done ECAP we have all seen an immense change in him.”
British Cycling Head Coach Shane Sutton, Mentor to Jon Norfolk, commented: “Having skills added to your armoury through programmes like this allows you to cope better with situations that come up on a daily basis in coaching. I would never have bought into the process if I didn’t feel it would be beneficial.”
Over 30 coaches have now graduated UK Sport’s ECAP, including British Para-Swimming Head Coach Rob Greenwood, British Cycling Endurance Coaches Paul Manning and Chris Newton and GB Short Track National Development Coach Joanna Eley.
Full list of graduating coaches: Tom Dyson (Rowing), Paul Stannard (Rowing), Peter Jeffrey (Badminton), Julie Hollman (Athletics), Corinne Bracken (Equestrian), Melanie Marshall (Swimming), Richard Blackshaw (Swimming), Nick Ruddock (Gymnastics), Barry Collie (Gymnastics), Craig Morris (Canoe Slalom), Jon Norfolk (Cycling), Damian Ball (Diving)