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Kevin Tyler uCoach Launch


09 February 2010

UKA’s Strategic Head of Coaching and Development Kevin Tyler discusses how Year of The Coach will recognise and reward Excellence in Coaching - column as seen in Athletics Weekly

Last week  saw the announcement that 2010 would be Year of the Coach. This news was issued less than 24 hours before the passing of one of the UK’s top coaches Wilf Paish.

Wilf was a coach of impressive stature, known across the globe. He had a strong appreciation of many athletics disciplines and was able to coach across multiple events. A prolific writer, he like other greats in coaching knew that athletics wasn’t something you did but was something you lived.

He was focussed not only on coaching but on developing other coaches and imparting his knowledge – in short he was a great educator and was a world lead in his field. Yet if he had been an athlete of equal stature and achievement his death would probably have registered higher in the general public awareness.

Year of the Coach for me is a simple but essential concept. We are aiming to highlight coaching achievement and excellent practice across the year. We will demonstrate the great practice and ability of coaching practice and seek to recognise and reward those actions. The reason for this is simple.

Coaching is the back bone of our sport. Without excellent coaching the athlete performance would suffer and with that the profile, rewards and recognition afforded to athletics as a sport. By making a concerted effort to raise the coaching profile and the rewards that brings we can ensure a cascade effect of excellence, and that the public whether that be the general athletics fans or the more focussed athletics community see coaching as a valuable commodity.

Coaching is a life-long practise. It is not something you simply study and then become qualified to ‘do’. A marketing student does not finish a three year degree and then graduate straight into a job handling an account with international profile, and in the same way coaching should never be a case of studying through levels to a set qualification after which you can suddenly be regarded as a lead coach in your event area.

There are no shortcuts to coaching and developing that knowledge. There can be no “fast-track’ systems in place. Excellent coaches live it, practice it and reflect it in their everyday lives. And in giving their all to this subject, in my mind the least we can do as a sport is regularly celebrate and highlight their achievements across the year.

The UK has so many things going for it in athletics. We created coach education, with pioneers like Paish, Geoff Dyson, Frank Dick amongst many others, we established practices that made overseas coaches come to these shores to see how we did it.  With the increased investment in coaching now and the resource being put in place for coaches to learn from , it is time we brought coaching to the forefront of athletics.

Year of the Coach is but one tool in this processs, but I call upon coaches across the UK to embrace the idea and to nominate their peers for these awards. By the time 2012 is here every coach’s achievement