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uka Women's coaching conference 2011

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Biz Price
Biz Price - keynote speaker at the 2011 UKA Women's Coaching Conference

07 November 2011

The 2011 Women’s Coaching Conference, which was aimed at inspiring female coaches to help the sport progress and engage in coach education and development, was a huge success with almost 90 delegates signing up for the third annual event in Birmingham on Saturday (5 November).

Following the inaugural event in 2009 and last year’s Conference, which was the first to be delivered by UKA’s Women in Coaching Advisory Group (WCAG), the organisers of this year’s event adopted a slightly alternative approach by selecting speakers to reflect the vision of “Inspire, Reflect, and Act”.

Biz Price, Head Coach and Performance Director of British Synchronised Swimming, delivered the opening keynote and set a high standard for the day with her inspirational advice to coaches at all levels of development.

She explained the importance of developing a coaching philosophy and how she turned around the fortunes of Great Britain’s Synchronised Swimmers, who, before she arrived in 2007, had not had representation at Olympic or World Championship level for over 15 years. She explained how she turned the team around and progressed the squad to a top ten world ranking as a result of fitter athletes, more professional coaches and improved working relationships both internally and externally.

“I saw Biz present at the recent European Women and Sport Conference in London and she was truly inspiring,” said Vicky Huyton, a member of the WCAG. “It was the same on this occasion; I could sit and listen to her all day, she’ll say something brilliant and you just want to take it down, she’s very inspiring and her insight into elite performance and training was fantastic while her tips to coaches will be of great use in my own coaching.

“No matter what level of understanding the delegates had of coaching, they would have definitely picked up some ideas to support their own coaching development.”

In addition to Price, Jane Booth - Coaching Manager at the PGA - offered a different sporting perspective but with equally valuable take home points when she spoke about understanding change management and why it is important for sport.

Traci Edwards, a club coach at Harborough AC, discussed implementing the multi event approach with developing athletes while Derek Evely, UKA’s National Performance Centre Director at Loughborough, presented on the advantages of a holistic approach to youth development.

Mark Bawden, the National Lead Performance Psychologist at the English Institute of Sport and Sarah Cecil, UKA’s Sports Performance Psychologist, discussed how to improve coach and athlete relationships through an understanding of personal style, which linked back to Price’s own key point about the value of developing your own coaching philosophy.

“The conference was a great mix of speakers from various sports which gave us all an insight into how other coaches deal with various athlete issues we all face,” said UKA’s Apprentice Coach Hayley Ginn.

"The workshop delivered by Sarah Cecil regarding improving coach athlete relationship has given me some great ideas as to how I can move forward in my own coaching,” added Lincoln-based coach Fiona Robertson; “I highly recommend her workshop."

In addition to the Conference presentations, five coaches - Catherine Crawford; Sarah Henton; Norma Harris; Carolyn Franks; Christine Feely - were awarded with £350 worth of vouchers to be used towards Continuing Personal Development activity.

“This was the first UKA Women's Coaching Conference I have attended and I was very impressed at the standard of speakers on the day,” said Northern Ireland’s Catherine Crawford, one of the grant recipients. “I found many of the points very inspiring and will be implementing some key points into my coaching practice.

“CPD is very important in order to develop as a coach and for opportunities to communicate with other coaches, so I was delighted to receive the £350 grant towards further UKA coach development opportunities.”

Kevin Tyler, UKA’s Strategic Head of Coaching and Development said: “The female coaches in attendance had a fantastic day hearing from performance leaders from a variety of sports which provided them with valuable information and tools to aid their coaching practice.”

Presentations will be available on the uCoach website soon.