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UK Athletics

The benefits of MySport

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Column by Coach Phil Fleetwood, as seen in Athletics Weekly magazine


19 February 2008


I first started using MySport in November 2006 with my athletes at Charnwood, in Loughborough, Derby and several other athletics clubs in the area. My events cover sprints, triple jump and sprint hurdles, so that combined with the geographical spread meant communication was always an issue with such diverse group.


Traditionally I used what most coaches use – those staple tools of coaching, printed or photocopied articles, word documents, as well as pen and paper to manage my coaching. Although seeking improvements plays a large part in developing as a coach, in reality I hadn’t really given much thought to how this specific area could be improved. 


MySport has changed this, I now have an online planner, into which I add athletics coaching sessions. These sessions are shared with my athletes, coaches and assistants so everyone knows what they are doing before they arrive at the track and are mentally as well as physically prepared for the session ahead. This has meant that my athletes literally get an extra 20% training simply by arriving better informed and ready to start on the task in hand.


This attitude is infectious and I am more focused as well, and the irony is that although I am not giving any more time to coaching, I am definitely achieving far more. It also means that when delays on the Motorway mean I sometimes cannot avoid arriving late, training sessions can already be underway with everyone knowing what they are doing!


Another benefit of MySport is the way it is able to engage my athletes’ brains in between training sessions, giving them an opportunity to think through what they are doing and why they are doing it. Planning is developing into a two way activity with some athletes suggesting additional or different exercises and drills that could help them. As a result we can often discuss and decide on the best thing for them and their technique. MySport is encouraging them to think for themselves and becoming a learning tool for them, and in a coach-athlete relationship, that is essential.


For me as a level 4 coach, MySport lets me use my time more effectively. I can easily develop my own coaching sessions, but the key advantage is being able to quickly share resources such as video clips of elite athletes or scanned articles with athletes, as well as communicate with athletes and parents quickly, safely and securely. It is no longer just an aid, it is part of my equipment, like the track, rake, hurdle or stopwatch.


Finally, with an eye on the future I already have started planning how else I can use the resource, and plan to start running video analysis sessions in a classroom environment to help my athletes visualise improvement to their technique. This will not only assist my athletes but also aids the development of other coaches that work alongside me.


The possibilities and advantages I am finding are endless. It goes to show what an advantage can be gained through looking to make an improvement in what might seem a small area. If you have not yet registered to use MySport I would recommend that you do, if only because it may just provide that one hint or idea that can make significant improvements to the process of coaching. MySport is free to use for UKA accredited coaches and their athletes & parents. Visit www.mysport.net