The many different facets of talent development were explored at this year’s Coaching Symposium, held over the weekend of 13-14 September in North Wales.
Over sixty coaches descended upon Plas y Brenin in Capel Curig and The Beacon Climbing Centre in Caernarfon for a weekend of talks and practicals to learn about talent development and how they as coaches can feed into talent development work being undertaken by the BMC.
BMC Ambassador and double world cup winner Shauna Coxsey opened the symposium with an inspirational talk describing her personal journey from uber-keen young climber to professional athlete.
Shauna outlined the role her coach has played in her achieving her goals, one of them being winning her first (and then second) world cup this year. Talking very honestly about this year’s season, both the highs and the lows, Shauna painted a powerful picture of how a successful coach-climber relationship operates at world class level.
Junior GB Team Managers Tom Greenall & Lucinda Whitaker and Mountain Training Coaching Development Officer Martin Chester described the BMC’s talent pathway, namely the support provided at BMC Regional and National Academies, and how the creation of a talent development strategy is planned to move things further forward.
Watch the 2014 BMC Coaching Symposium on BMC TV
Profiling tools currently under development by the BMC to support coaches in their work were introduced by Tom and the way in which coaches themselves can assist with their development outlined. The coaches at the seminar then put these tools by assessing two world cup climbers, using films of them competing.
As a qualified nutritionist, Lucinda presented an enabling way for coaches to explore the food choices of young climbers. Illustrating how a varied diet will result in a more energised climber, Lucinda suggested strategies to persuade young climbers to, quite literally, have some colour on their plate - the odd carrot here, some broccoli there.
Martin looked at two very contrasting coaching skills. Using some simple exercises, the different outcomes produced by different questioning styles clearly demonstrated the need for coaches to consider how they question the climbers they coach. The use of tablet and smartphone apps to film and then analyse a climber’s performance was covered practically in the climbing wall.
With six medals won by GB Team at this weekend's Para Climbing World Championships, team manager Graeme Hill discussed ways in which coaches can break down the barriers for disabled people wishing to climb.
Martin Chester kicked off day two at The Beacon with with Mountain Training's vision for an inclusive coaching system where the needs of the climber are placed centre stage.
The rest of the day was taken up with three very contrasting yet complimentary practical sessions. Mountain Training coaching scheme provider and BMC academy coach Simon Rawlinson explored the role of drills to develop skilful performance.
Simon has been using drills with climbers in S Wales for a number of years to great effect. Coaches climbed on the drills set up and heard from Simon how he uses drills in his coaching, and the benefits he sees them providing.
Tom and Lucinda presented research outlining the correlation between early specialisation in a sport and an elevated risk of burnout and injuries for young people.
Tumble comes to the BMC Coaching Symposium! BMC TV
Drawing on the playful training elements employed by the German national team, some of the session was straight out of the BBC's hit show Tumble.
Functional Movement Screening (FMS) was also undertaken practically. Research has shown that FMS can help to predict the risk of injury, and so potentially of great use to coaches.
Bangor University PhD student Vikki Hadnett presented research, including her own, on the link between anxiety and performance in sport. The way in which the coach can manipulate training environments to help climbers manage stress in a performance environment were demonstrated with a cleverly designed climbing practical.
With Sport England support, the BMC will be delivering two more symposia over the next two years. This third BMC symposium was very well received by those who attended, providing great affirmation that we're delivering relevant coach education.