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UK Athletics

british athletics announces first apprentice coach programme graduates

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Apprentice Coaches

24 April 2013

Eight coaches have completed the Apprentice Coach Programme as part of British Athletics’ continued commitment to coaching development. Through the programme that began in 2009 Apprentice Coaches were able to learn their trade from experienced world-class coaches to ensure a coaching legacy for coming years.

James Hillier, Steve Fudge and Julie Hollman have recently been appointed to full-time coaching roles within British Athletics. Hillier has progressed to the role of Assistant Hurdles Coach, Fudge becoming National Institute Coach for Sprints and Hollman being appointed to the role of Assistant Coach.

Other graduates will continue to be employed in some capacity by British Athletics and the Home Countries and will remain involved in the development of athletics in the UK.

Five of the coaches also benefited from UK Sport’s Elite Coaching Apprenticeship Programme (ECAP). The two-year programme offers an accelerated development opportunity for emerging high performance coaches who are already working within the High Performance System, to enable them to become the elite coaches of the future.

James Hillier, who worked with world-renowned hurdles coach Malcolm Arnold and attended ECAP during his apprenticeship, believes that the experience he gained from the programme will be invaluable moving forward.

“I was very grateful to have been given the opportunity and exposure of working with and learning from world-class hurdles Coach Malcolm Arnold as a British Athletics Apprentice Coach.  Malcolm encouraged me to learn through experience and helped me to recognise the importance of understanding the athletes I work with.”

Steve Fudge, who was mentored by Kevin Tyler during the programme, believes that his apprenticeship has equipped him for a successful career in coaching.

“The apprentice coach program offered me an opportunity to fast track my coaching skills. As well as the direct coaching experience I also had access to world class coaches, such as Dan Pfaff, and world-class support therapists and scientists. This allowed me to build a well-rounded set of coaching skills that has enabled me to support the needs of some of Britain’s most exciting sprinting talents.”

Coaching Professional Development Manager Tom Crick believes that the success of the programme is further indication of British Athletics’ commitment to developing coaches.

“This apprenticeship has given eight coaches a fantastic opportunity to accelerate their coaching development and explore what it means to be a coach to elite athletes. The programme was part of our commitment to developing British coaches within the high performance system and has also allowed us to identify motivated individuals who can contribute positively to coaching and coach development moving forwards.”

Femi Akinsanya was an apprentice jumps coach working under Aston Moore, coach to former triple jump World Champion Phillips Idowu. Akinsanya was a 1998 Commonwealth Games triple jump finalist and previously worked as an athletics coach in South Cambridgeshire schools. During his apprenticeship Femi assisted Aston in coaching Louise Hazel to Commonwealth Gold and qualification for the London 2012 Olympics. He will shortly begin working as a National Coach Mentor in horizontal jumps for England Athletics and will continue to advise Idowu on his technical preparation.

Alasdair Donaldson worked under George Gandy with some of the country’s top athletes at Loughborough as Apprentice Endurance Coach. Donaldson previously an Athletics Development Manager for the Tayside & Fife region and represented Great Britain over 800m when the European Cup was held at Gateshead in 2000. A consistent contributor to uCoach, he will continue to be involved in the development of online coaching resources. Donaldson was recently recruited by British Triathlon to assist in Team GB’s preparation for the Rio Olympics.

Steve Fudge worked with Derek Evely and Kevin Tyler during his apprenticeship. During his apprenticeship Fudge coached Richard Buck to the European Indoor 400m Bronze in 2011, as well as three European Indoor and Outdoor Relay Medals, and Michael Bingham to a World Indoor Relay medal. He is also the coach to sprinter James Dasaolu, who won a silver medal over 60m at the recent European Indoor Championships. Fudge is now National Institute Coach for Sprints based at Loughborough.

Hayley Ginn was mentored by current Head Olympic Coach Peter Eriksson and was an apprentice Paralympic Sprints and Wheelchair Racing coach. Ginn was an ECAP graduate and worked alongside Dan Pfaff with a group of athletes including Paralympic T44 100m champion Jonnie Peacock as well as F42 javelin thrower Scott Moorhouse and T51 wheelchair racer Stephen Osbourne. A former Strength and Conditioning expert from Cambridge, she will continue to be involved in supporting coaches working with amputee sprinters.

James Hillier worked with Malcolm Arnold and his hurdles group based at Bath. A former Commonwealth Games hurdler, Hillier is currently coach to James Gladman, who finished fourth in the 110m hurdles at last summer’s IAAF World Junior Championships. He was a member of ECAP and is now an Assistant Hurdles Coach based in Bath.

Julie Hollman worked as Apprentice Combined Events Coach under the tutelage of Dan Pfaff, coach to the likes of Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford. As an apprentice coach she guided Grace Clements to a Bronze medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. A 2008 Olympian in the heptathlon and ECAP graduate, Hollman progressed into coaching following her retirement and is now an Assistant Coach at the Institute in Loughborough.

Emily Parker was Apprentice Horizontal Jumps Coach, mentored by Derek Evely in Loughborough, and an ECAP graduate. During her time as an apprentice Emily has developed an in depth knowledge across combined events and regularly contributed to British Athletics’ uCoach resource. She will continue to be involved in the development of online coaching qualifications.

Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo was Apprentice Coach for Sprints and Hurdles working with Dan Pfaff at Lee Valley and an ECAP graduate. During his apprenticeship he assisted in the coaching of Rhys Williams, European 400m Hurdles Champion, and coached a successful group of young sprinters and jumpers including 2013 British Indoor 60m bronze medallist Sean Safo-Antwi. Tawiah-Dodoo has also coached in Rugby, where he worked with age group internationals and fully capped players from Gloucester RFC, Bath Rugby, London Irish and Exeter Chiefs.