The Isle of Man Sporting Excellence Programme, delivered by Kelly Holmes Education made a much anticipated return to the Island last weekend on Saturday 24 November.
The programme was launched by Dame Kelly and her team in October with a two day workshop at the National Sports Centre plus special appearances from Olympic Bronze medallist, Alex Danson and Olympic champion Manxman Peter Kennaugh.
Last weekend saw a one-day follow-up session take place focussing on media interview techniques, social media, securing sponsorship, core stability and further development techniques for coaches. The interview techniques workshop was run by award winning journalists Tom Knight and Sybil Ruscoe, who have a wealth of experience in sports journalism including the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. They have co-written the bestseller ‘London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – The Official Commemorative Book’. The Sponsorship Manager of British Cycling, John Mulcahy also ran a bespoke workshop on the three stages to approaching potential sponsors and the crucial factors to help an athlete decide whether an agent could effectively represent them in the future.
GB sprinter and British record-holder Montell Douglas joined the Kelly Holmes Education team for the weekend’s workshops with some valuable input about her personal experiences. Montell competed at the 2008 Olympic Games and took Gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, in the 4x100m relay, but sadly missed out on competing at London 2012
Michael Duncalf, a 50-metre prone rifle shooter, led the terrific feedback from athletes and coaches on the programme:
“The first weekend covered sports psychology and nutrition, and it was great to consult experienced professionals who understand our anxieties and can offer practical advice on how to overcome them. It’s really helped me to get my mind focussed on my shooting and improve fitness levels. This weekend’s media training has made me really think about how to get over my nerves and project myself to the outside world – it’s so important to be well-prepared, think positive and a be great sporting ambassador for the Island.”
Bernice McGreal said that she had already felt the benefit of the Kelly Holmes Education experience and felt very privileged to be part of the programme:
“I competed in the Champion of Champions Flat Green Bowling Event in Cyprus in October 2012, and the psychological focus gleaned from the IOM Sporting Excellence Programme certainly helped with my preparation and concentration throughout the competition.”
Athlete Harriet Pryke, who has her sights set on the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the World Student Games next year, thinks the Isle of Man programme is pretty special:
“There are such a broad range of sports represented on the programme and our paths wouldn’t ordinarily cross until we’re on the team bus. It’s great to share this amazing opportunity – learning key skills from top sporting professionals and coaches – with so many Manx athletes”.
Gianni Epifani is well-known on the local sports scene and has been coaching since 1993. For him the programme has presented a unique learning opportunity:
“We have been working alongside some inspirational people, who are recognised experts in their field. It has given us a great platform to share ideas and good practice, and continuously challenge ourselves as coaches going forward.”
The programme provides the participating athletes and coaches a unique opportunity to learn from the highly regarded Kelly Holmes Education mentors. The scheme brings together Isle of Man Sport, the Isle of Man Coaches Association and the Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Association and is sponsored by Creechurch Capital, Microgaming and SMP Partners.