UK Sport’s Coach Leader Programme finished in April 2021, supporting 12 of the highest potential coaches from across the Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community to succeed in Tokyo, Beijing and beyond.
This included three Winter sport coaches, Pat Sharples, GB Snowsport Head Coach, David Murdoch, Olympic Head Coach at British Curling and Jimmy Howard, Performance Coach at British Skeleton. The Programme provided a series of learning and development opportunities in order for them to be the best possible leaders both now and in the future.
Key to the programme has been supporting each coach with an individual development plan and enabling them to work one-to-one with a coach developer and a leadership developer, as well as having access to additional aids most appropriate to their specific journey. The programme firmly placed the coaches at the heart of the experience, meeting them where they were at and evolving the content to adapt to their changing needs and wants.
Graduation Day! Received my Postgraduate Diploma for Professional Coaching Science from Hartpury University Graduation at Gloucester Cathedral as part of the @uksport Team Leader Programme.
So much gratitude to my developers, lecturers, employers and family. @BritishCurling pic.twitter.com/potXPCivtO
As part of ensuring coaching is our collective and sustainable competitive advantage across the UK high-performance community, the Programme has been based on helping the coaches to better understand themselves leaders, build and maintain relationships, and further enhance their respective leadership and coaching skills to be at their best when it counts.
The programme has privileged the coaches’ voice, providing them with a safe and secure space to share stories and help each other, particularly during the pandemic. The programme was extended by 12 months to help ensure the coaches were supported to help solve problems and navigate the dynamic high-performance environments they work in, especially considering the impact of COVID.
The programme has been run with backing from Hartpury University with each coach receiving a bespoke post-graduate diploma.
Dame Katherine Grainger, Chair at UK Sport, said: “What has stood out from this group is the way they have supported and challenged each other throughout this incredible learning opportunity, which is testament to the character of all of the coaches involved.
“Coaches, alongside athletes, are at the heart of our high-performance community and coaching is our competitive advantage. This group of 12 are among the best across our Olympic and Paralympic high-performance community and thanks to the programme they are now even greater equipped to provide continued world class support and direction for their athletes.”
Dave Murdoch has been to three Winter Games as an athlete and disappointment in 2006 and 2010 will have only made his silver medal at Sochi 2014 even sweeter. Dave now holds the title of Olympic Head Coach for British Curling and is currently in Beijing for the 2022 Winter Games with both the men’s and women’s curling teams battling it out in the gold medal matches at the weekend.
Speaking to Katherine Grainger last year on the ‘Medals and More’ podcast he said, “I have learnt so much on my coaching journey, I have made mistakes and looked at how can I be better. The biggest challenge has been the transition from athlete to coach. I am fortunate to be part of this Programme where the cohort is made up of many coaches from across sports and the knowledge, I have gained from speaking with them, the developers and the lecturers and the work we have done together has been brilliant. It has been so good for me to understand other sports and different situations.
“Even the reading as part of the university work has been essential, it has been a big journey over the last few years. With coaching you are always learning, you never master it. So as long as you are willing to be better and adapt within that is all you can do as a coach.”
A post shared by Pat Sharples (@patsharples)