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UKA Coach Building A Better Coaching Environment


Jumps Blog - October 2013

  • Posted: 21.10.2013
  • Author: Alan Richardson (UKA)
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Hi everyone,

I am writing this blog on the back of a hectic month of coach development across the UK. I find that this time of the year is incredibly motivating and demonstrates how far the sport has come in the last four years. I believe that it is not the skill set of coaches that makes it this way, even though it has undoubtedly improved, but the keenness to share experiences between coaches that will take the sport forwards. The last month has taken me to present and share my ideas in Glasgow, Belfast, London and Loughborough and across all four venues I have found the level of communication between coaches inspiring.

I believe that this has been shown in the numbers attending and being involved with our Coach Development programmes. In England, the National Coach Development Programme (NCDP) started with 64 coaches in 2009 and now has over 90 in the Jumps and Combined Events. Each of these coaches is, in turn, aiming to support two further coaches. This means that a further 180 coaches are being supported. Add that to the further good work happening in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and we are moving forwards rapidly.

With this in mind I would like to theme this blog as ‘Pass it on’. By this I mean for each of us to take our own responsibility to pass on the information we learn to at least one other coach each time we learn something new.

Being involved in these conferences means I have taken in some other presentations by some great speakers and I want to share a few key messages that not only I have presented myself but also that I have taken away from others

1) Planning is key and attention to detail within this plan is key. This is something we all know but how and why do we let things slide from the great practise in week one through the tough, cold winter months. Behaviour change takes up to 24 weeks and we need to keep on top on our own behaviour changes as well as making sure the athletes we work with do the same.

2) Working with young athletes means a need to develop a bigger base. While people use this term often, I mean of skills, rather than fitness. Whatever the event, we are aiming to build a bigger base of general skills to enable us to add specific skills on top. If our base is narrow then the peak maybe high but far more unstable. If the pyramid then wobbles and falls, injury can often occur.

3) Develop speed and technique as key qualities. Listening to sprints coach Steve Fudge in Belfast he pointed out how he focuses on developing speed qualities with lower volumes as a priority in developing performance and staying healthy.

4) Be patient. Becoming an elite athlete takes a long time and athletics is a late development sport. Take the time to develop key skills that will leave technique that lasts for a career rather than try and develop physical qualities to have short term success. Both physical and technical qualities should be developed in tandem and provide a good balance to the programme.

5) Young athletes are not mini adults. Use the adult programme as a vision of where to get to but build forwards towards it rather than watering down the programme of an adult and giving it to a young developing athlete.

Please ‘Pass It On’. We can rarely pay back those who help us (nor do they often wish this) but we can ‘Pass It On’ as they did to us.


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