Nine of the UK’s top high performance coaches have been chosen to be part of the second intake of UK Sport’s World Class Coaching: Elite Programme.
The cohort includes: Greg Baker (Disability Table Tennis), Andy Banks (British Diving), Ben Bright (British Triathlon), Andy Flower (England Cricket), Stephen Jennings (GB Taekwondo), Pasan Kularatne (Disability Target Shooting), Jack Maitland (British Triathlon), Hugh Styles (GB Sailing), Stuart Wilkinson (Wheelchair Tennis).
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.
Simon Timson, Director of Performance at UK Sport, said: "Supporting and challenging our best coaches to become world leading is one the core pillars to achieving our goal of enabling more athletes to win more medals in Rio 2016 and beyond.
"The Elite Programme provides tailored opportunities for our best coaches to develop personally and technically so they can contribute even more to the development of a stronger, more sustainable high performance system.
"In addition to becoming better coaches themselves, our expectation is they will also learn to mentor and develop aspiring world class coaches within their sport, develop more effective talent pathways and efficiently integrate sports science and medicine support, so ultimately more athletes realise their full potential on the Olympic and Paralympic stage."
Andy Flower, recently appointed technical director of elite coaching by the England and Wales Cricket Board, has been selected for the Elite Programme to work alongside coaches from Olympic and Paralympic sports, and described the opportunity as an "exciting prospect".
Flower said: "I will have the chance to tap into some expertise and knowledge from all sorts of different areas, both through the other sports, but also the businesses and experts that will be accessible to us through this that will assist me significantly in my new role."
On the benefits of working with a range of Olympic and Paralympic sports, Flower said: "A lot of the principles are transferable; we’re all in the business of getting results and performing at our peak, and maximising the potential within our organisations, and individual athletes. The Olympic sports have had outstanding success in the recent past, and I will be very interested to investigate some of their methods and principles."
Greg Baker, Head Coach for the British Table Tennis Association for the Disabled, and a graduate of UK Sport’s Elite Coaching Apprenticeship Programme (ECAP), said: "I really want to move towards managing other coaches and support staff, as well as athletes. This represents the next level for me and I think this programme can really help me with that.
"Programmes like this massively help the success of British sport. ECAP helped me personally and I think really helped our sport to achieve the results we did in London. I think programmes like this really can be the difference between winning and losing medals."
UK Sport has worked directly with over 250 coaches to enhance their professional development, including British Skeleton coach Mark Woods and British Curling coach Rhona Howie (formerly Martin), both former athletes turned coaches, who have just returned from Sochi 2014 where their athletes helped Team GB reach a historic four medal haul.
Another former Olympian and ECAP graduate, GB Taekwondo coach Stephen Jennings, added: "I like the idea of working on a project, developing myself and also giving something back to the sport of taekwondo, to help the sport move forward.
"One of the best things about programmes like this is the chance to bounce ideas off the other coaches."
The Elite Programme complements UK Sport’s other coach development initiatives – Athlete to Coach and the Elite Coaching Apprenticeship Programme – and the foundation programmes delivered by sportscoachUK, to ensure a clear career development pathway for high performance coaches in British sport.
*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.