14th Nov 2011
An enthusiastic gathering of coaches spent Sunday 13 November at the University of Hertfordshire, catching up with all things coaching-related at the annual Coaching Conference.
The keynote speaker was Maggie Jackson, Director of Coaching with the Hertfordshire Mavericks netball team, winners of this year’s Netball Superleague. Maggie gave the audience (mainly male!) an insight into the pressures of coaching the top netball side in the country, and of taking the England team to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Her message was that, in a game where all of the players remain unpaid, there had to be consideration of the demands placed on different players in different positions. The audience was fascinated to hear of the work done on identifying the physical strengths needed by players, and how Maggie coped with athletes at different stages of their playing careers.
The rest of the day was spent in workshops sessions. Four sports (basketball, cricket, football and judo) had arranged their own programmes to run alongside the main conference. Basketball held a regional coaching clinic featuring Warwick Cann, Head of Performance with British Basketball. Cricket had masterclasses on coaching batting and bowling; football had Colin Reid looking at possession, with the afternoon spent outside in practical sessions; and BJA coach David Oates looked at coaching judo for children in schools.
In the main conference programme, tennis coach Brad Gilbert was the latest to come under David Turner’s spotlight in the Learning from Legendary Coaches series. Mike Lynch (GBSports) ran a session on issues that paid coaches can face with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Nadeem Shaikh (SMART Way Forward) looked at the communication skills that sports coaches depend on. Colin Bennett, newly appointed Regional Network Manager with sports coach UK, ran a session on mentoring with Cathy Walker from the Herts County Athletics Network. Tony Sephton, Head of Performance Hertfordshire, enthused with his presentation on Preparing a Performance Athlete – so much so that one of the delegates changed his career plans on the spot!
Rob Hardwick, Coaching Development Manager with the Herts Sports Partnership, commented: “The day went smoothly and over 100 coaches will have gone away from today with something of value. There was a good mix of people and quite a buzz when everyone was together for Maggie’s session and the marketplace at lunchtime. The Conference is just one of the ways that we look to help coaches, and hopefully today will have stimulate them and given them food for thought!”