After a highly successful launch last year, the first education day for the Isle of Man Sporting Excellence programme in 2013 took place on Saturday 2 March at the National Sports Centre with special guests from the world of cycling and athletics.
Former GB cyclist Bryan Steel and Tony Lester, one of the UK’s leading sprints coaches were part of the Kelly Holmes Education team delivering to the island’s top athletes and coaches, many with their sights set on the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Tony Lester gave a one hour masterclass to some of the athletes focussing on the latest techniques and drills to improve their speed as a performer. He also gave a unique presentation on coaching at major competitions drawing on his experience of coaching six athletes to win Olympic and World Championship medals during his career.
Two times Olympic medallist Bryan Steel spent time with all athletes and coaches; he spoke about the importance of goal setting and time management, passing on different techniques for the athletes to apply to their individual sports. The day also included sessions on biomechanics, nutritional planning and supplements, and a practical insight into self-massage.
Reflecting on the day, Bryan Steel said:
“It was a good day of learning for the Isle of Man Sporting Excellence Programme. One of the themes for the day was assisting the sporting performers to take responsibility for their careers. They have all got this far on ability but to get to the next level they need to start really focussing and committing to their sport. The workshops today were designed to help them do this.”
Former UK Athletics sprints coach Tony Lester added:
“I thought today went really well, the athletes were very receptive and it showed me that you can come away from elite sport and there is another generation of athletes who strive to compete at the highest level. I hope I will have helped them to achieve this.”
Over 30 athletes and 19 coaches from a wide range of disciplines including athletics, swimming, shooting, netball and rugby attended the education day. The programme is designed to equip athletes and coaches with the knowledge and tools for success with a range of educational workshops delivered by Kelly Holmes Education. Dame Kelly Holmes who directs the programme was keen to tutor the coaches throughout the programme, who will in turn educate the athletes who they coach. The third session taught coaches how to create the most effective support team for their athlete.
Some of the athletes spoke about the impact of the programme over the past few months.
Swimmer, Laura Kinley, 16 said:
“I’m really enjoying the programme, it’s a great opportunity to have these experts help us and teach us what they know about their sports at the top level – where we will hopefully be in the future.”
Keith Gerrard, 26, who recently retained his English National Cross Country title, commented:
“I think the programme is fantastic opportunity for the Island, it is a rare opportunity to get the best sports men and women on the Island together from all different sports at the same time. The way the workshops are structured is brilliant, moving through different subjects suitable for my sport, athletics. It’s great especially for some of the younger athletes who are still learning the building blocks of their sport and the more experienced athletes get to refresh on things and reset your mind set and motivation.”
Peter Kennaugh, cycling coach said:
“The programme has been excellent; everything I have done today has been absolutely fantastic. In the future I’ll take a lot of what I have learnt in the sessions back to the guys and girls I coach which will benefit them and will make them better cyclists.”
Mark Denton, Managing Director of SMP Partners added:
“It is wonderful to see so many talented athletes taking part in the Isle of Man Sporting Excellence workshops and benefiting from the specialist coaching. I am sure the Island will reap the rewards at the Island games in Bermuda later this year and the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow.”
The programme brings together Isle of Man Sport, Isle of Man Coaches Association and Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Association and provides athletes and coaches with a unique educational opportunity to learn from experts in their field across many disciplines from psychological to physical preparation.. The fourth education day will be held in the summer.