Coaching from the Heart - An ITU Sport Development Story
A now advanced coach, Mick Delamotte speaks of his journey of gaining through giving – the process at the core of development success in triathlon
When something exciting, valuable and rewarding exists, you always remember its beginning. My involvement in the ITU Sport Development Program began in 2007, just a year after it initially kicked off. As a Coach of Junior athlete’s within the city of Sydney Australia I was (and still am) a passionate advocate for the development of Triathlon from grass roots through to Elite. In early 2007 I contacted our federations National Talent and Development Manager Craig Redman to seek his views on international events that would provide me with a fuller perspective on our sport. I had planned to take annual leave from my full time job and self fund an excursion to anywhere in the world that would provide me with an opportunity to further develop my skills and knowledge of the sport of triathlon. I would do this primarily to come home and benefit the athlete’s I coach. Coming from an area where past ITU World Champions Greg Welch, Michellie Jones and Chris McCormack had developed, had inspired me to explore the world of triathlon further.
I was put in contact with ITU Director of Sport Development, Libby Burrell, and invited to attend the 2007 ITU World Junior Camp in Tiszaujvaros Hungary as a mentor Coach. The journey had begun. This experience would change my life. Apart from the exciting professional development opportunities gained, I also networked with a variety of home coaches from every continent of the world. I had the opportunity to work with aspiring Junior athlete’s, some from adverse environments who were nothing more than wide eyed kids with raw a talent at the time. I immediately found working with the likes of Libby Burrell, Bobby McGee, Zeljko Bijuk and many others immensely gratifying.
I came home from Tiszaujvaros a different Coach, indeed a different person, inspired by what I had experienced and excited by the contribution I felt I had made to the athletes and other home coaches within the camp.
From this point forward, I vowed to assist Libby Burrell and her marvellous team within ITU Sport Development with any future initiatives. I felt I could positively contribute and I was willing to do whatever it took to do so. In 2008 I was provided with an opportunity to work at the ITU Level 2 Competitive Coaches Course in Medulin Croatia, this time with Alan Ley, Zeljko Bijuk and their team. We worked with home coaches from new and establishing National Federations, all with their own incredible stories, backgrounds and knowledge. It was satisfying to contribute to the education of these home coaches, as they returned to their communities to provide a greater level of quality coaching to current and future developing Elite Triathletes.
In 2009 I was again fortunate to be an assistant Coach of the ITU Junior & U23’s camp on the Gold Coast Australia, prior to the inaugural World Championship Series Grand Final. The development pathway was beginning to bear fruit with junior athlete’s now making successful transitions into the U23 ranks and ITU Junior’s of higher quality thanks to a combination of new National Federations, community programs and better educated Coaches, all thank to the ITU Sports Development Program.
Today, I sit in the same place it all started for me in 2007. Tiszaujvaros, this time as Camp Manager and Head Coach of the ITU Pre world’s base camp. This camp, whilst a new concept, is a culmination of 5 years of hard work and successes for the ITU Sports Development Program, bringing a selection of ITU Junior, U23 & Elite athlete’s together, with a selection of home coaches to specifically prepare for the upcoming World Championship Grand Final.
The journey for me, I hope continues. I have gained great pleasure in developing my home program to a point of housing and coaching aspiring ITU Junior & Elite U23 athlete’s from countries such as Mauritius, Barbados and Chile, an extension from my dealings with these athlete’s in past camps. I continue to network with home coaches from every continent of the globe, sharing ideas, resources, experiences and athletes. I continue to walk away inspired from each experience I have with the ITU Sport Development Program. The program has identified and helped produce some of our current crop of Elite competitors, it has opened doors for coaches worldwide to develop their skills and knowledge, assisted enthusiastic people in creating National Federations, introduced new flags at Olympic Level and given children around the world the opportunity to participate in the sport that becomes a positive part of their lives. Most of all, the ITU Sport Development program has given me a gift, it has changed my life and provided me with a new perspective on the world. I have seen it inspire many others, some of which will grow to become our Elite champions or Elite Coaches of the future. I sincerely hope to continue my association with a legacy that is truly global, producing results and changing lives.