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Johnson delivers Masterclass

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Johnson, Van Commenee and Cowan

23 February 2009 


Friday 13 February was uncharacteristically a lucky day for a group of Speed Coaches from across the UK who were invited to attend a SPAR Sprints Initiative Masterclass led by highly-acclaimed US Coach Brooks Johnson.

Johnson, has coached Olympians to every Games since 1960 including last summer's Beijing Games 110mh bronze medalist David Oliver.

In the week leading upto the Masterclass Brooks had been working with athletes and coaches supported by the World Class Lottery programme at UKA HiPAC centres including Loughborough and Lee Valley.

Friday's session saw forty Coaches from across the UK come together in order to listen and question the legend of US Track and Field. They were joined by new UKA Head Coach Charles Van Commenee and Strategic Head of Coaching and Development, Kevin Tyler.

During the session Brooks talked about:

Q - You're in the UK as part of a drive to increase our chances of success in 2012, how successful do you think team GB can be at the next Olympics?

You have five to seven people who I would consider to be on the elite level and guess what; in my opinion America has the same number. You can't say you don't have the talent because you beat the world in the 4x100m, you have the world record in the triple jump, Colin Jackson was the world record holder in the hurdles and you dominated the middle distances for long periods, so you have the talent across the board. 

Feedback from the coaches in attendence included:

"The level of delivery for me as a 25 year old coach with limited years of coaching behind me was very good. I always like conferences where people speak from first-hand experience rather than reciting a text book. "

"The idea of holding a Masterclass on the same weekend as the trials was an excellent idea. When else during the year (other than competitions) would all these people be together in the same city/venue? "

"Something Brooks made really passionately clear is the need for coaches to share and distribute knowledge and experiences. I thought he had an excellent delivery style and manner which would work well for both a relative newcomer and the very experienced coaches. Brooks was one of the most listenable presenters on a technical subject that I have heard in an athletics context and i enjoyed the session. "

"A good night, acres of experience and good to meet new faces.  Enjoyed hearing someone 'strip it back to basics'"

"I thoroughly enjoyed the session and left with a very positive feeling." 

The SPAR Sprints Initiative continues to support and develop coaching practice across all Speed Events. For more news in the coming weeks, keep an eye on the new UKA Homepages.

The full interview will appear in Athletics Weekly.