Eleven former world class athletes, including GB Taekwondo’s 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Sarah Stevenson, have been selected to benefit from UK Sport’s new fast-track 'Athlete to Coach' programme, in order to support their transition to world class coaches.
UK Sport has identified high performance coach development as a key ingredient to winning more medals at the next Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio, while building a stronger, more sustainable high performance system, and has doubled its investment into this area for the Rio cycle.
The 'Athlete to Coach' programme, designed to meet a demand from sports for help at the foundation level of the coaching pathway, will support former world class athletes, who have been identified and nominated by their sports, to accelerate their careers in world class coaching.
The coaches selected are (Coach, Sport):
- Amanda Coulson, Boxing
- Ben Rhodes, Sailing
- Charlotte Burgess, Archery
- Darran Langley, Boxing
- Louise Donington, Canoeing
- Marcus Bloomfield, Cycling - BMX
- Matthew Lawrence, Para Canoeing
- Penny Clark, Sailing
- Ruslan Panteleymonov, Diving
- Sam Hunter, Gymnastics
- Sarah Stevenson, Taekwondo
UK Sport has worked directly with over 250 coaches to enhance their professional development, including British Skeleton coach Mark Woods and British Curling coach Rhone Howie (formerly Martin), both former athletes turned coaches themselves, who have just returned from Sochi 2014 where their athletes helped Team GB reach a historic four medal haul.
Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport, said: "Congratulations to the eleven coaches selected to participate in our new Athlete to Coach development programme. This exciting programme provides an important opportunity to harness the experience and knowledge of some of our most talented former athletes as they embark on a career in coaching.
"We know there is untapped coaching potential waiting to be unlocked within our athlete community, particularly among female athletes; while there is an almost even split of split of female and male athletes on the World Class Performance Programme, there are far fewer female high performance coaches, so I am delighted to see how many we have on this first intake of the Athlete to Coach programme.
"These coaches are the future of British sport, and we look forward to supporting them as they build a new career in high performance coaching, and help us to build a stronger, more sustainable system for the next generation of medal winners."
Sarah Stevenson, Olympic bronze medallist and GB Taekwondo High Performance Coach, said: "I’m extremely excited to be a part of the Athlete to Coach programme.
"I think that former athletes have something really special to give back to those currently practicing sport and I hope this course will give me the skills to pass on my experience.
"I’m looking forward to meeting the other coaches on the course; sharing experiences, finding out what their barriers have been in the transition from athlete to coach and continuing to develop as a coach myself."
Penny Clark, former World number one sailor and now British Sailing’s Laser Radial Women’s Youth and Podium Potential Squad Coach, said: "As soon as I heard about the Athlete to Coach programme I knew it would be the perfect vehicle to help me in my transition, and would provide me with the essential building blocks that will become the foundations of my new career as a coach.
"In addition to the knowledge, skills and techniques I am hoping to gain from the programme, I am excited by the opportunity to build professional relationships with coaches from a number of different sports and share experiences and ideas as we all progress through our own unique coaching journey."
Athlete to Coach will complement UK Sport’s existing coach development initiatives - the Elite Coaching Apprenticeship Programme and Elite Programme – and the foundation programmes delivered by sportscoachUK, to ensure a clear career development pathway for high performance coaches in British sport.
Graham Taylor, UK Sport’s Head of Coaching, said: "Our aim is to take British Coaching from world class to world leading, by supporting high performance coaches at every stage of their development.
"At the very start of the elite coaching pathway, with Athlete to Coach, we hope to accelerate the development of talented athletes who want to use their knowledge and experience as a competitor to coach others to follow in their footsteps. This isn’t always an easy transition to make, but our sports have told us if we can better equip these transitioning coaches, it could have a great impact on our coaching workforce."