I’ve just got back from the National Talent Camp at Loughborough University – what an amazing weekend! The Camp is aimed at improving young coaches, athletes and officials qualities and skills. It is a multi sport event and in order to attend you have to be selected by your National Governing Body – i.e. British Cycling.

350 people attend in total and after Registration in one of Loughborough’s many sports halls, we were divided in to teams by role. I was part of Team 5 (a coaching team) – I was the only cycling coach in the group, the rest of the young coaches consisted of footballers; swimmers; gymnasts, softball coaches ; basket ball coaches; wheelchair basket ball
and boccia coaches.

It was great weekend filled with many activities, working on different aspects of coaching, some examples:

  • Emotional Intelligence – about how you react to a situation and how you treat each situation by its merits to ensure you get the best out of your athlete
  • Coaching Philosophy – you may believe in a philosophy where people should be in an environment where they are free to express themselves. Alternatively your philosophy may be to get the best out of an athlete at all cost
  • Chimp Paradox – about the science of the brain and how there are two sides to a person – the Chimp and the Human. The Chimp reacts quickly and often over reacts, whereas the human reacts on average 7-10 minutes slower and therefore “responds” rather than reacts. The Chimp jumps to conclusions and works on how to make itself feel good and can be very selfish – not a good coaching trait! The human however, responds much later and thinks about everything and everyone involved – this is a better approach to coaching – although over complicate things!

One of the big things I took away from these workshops was how nobody, no matter what level of emotional intelligence, can react appropriately in an instance. As a coach you need to be able to control your chimp which means taking time to respond and not react. I recognise that my chimp made quite a few appearances in the early volunteer days – wheelieing through crowds of people with Tim Pie “calling after me” springs to mind. As a coach you must lead by example.

We also did some activities within our discipline – so all the British Cycling people: coaches, athletes and officials worked together . Hearing other peoples’ perspectives from their chosen role was very beneficial as it helped me realise how and why people make certain decisions. This links back to the Chimp Paradox. I believe this has given me a good insight into how others think and have a greater understanding of where they’re coming from.

Within the British Cycling workshops we also had a moral/ethical debate – this really highlighted the difference in views between coaches, athletes and officials.

There were fun sessions too including the Mannequin Challenge and a massive conga.

It is a full on weekend with 6am wake up calls every day and being in workshops till 10pm each evening. That said, the people were fantastic – it was great to see some of the guys from the West Midlands Cycling Team who I helped support earlier this year at the National School Games and most importantly the food was great !!

If you’ve got the chance – APPLY – its a fantastic opportunity and you won’t regret it. Thanks SUMMIT MTB GO-RIDE – I couldn’t have done it without you .