ITU World Sport Development Camp: A Coach’s Perspective II

ITU World Sport Development Camp: A Coach’s Perspective II

By Peter Holmes on 24/09/09 at 5:09 pm

by Toby Coote, Head Coach, Gold Coast, Australia – 2009

I was invited by Libby Burrell to come on board as Head Swim Coach of the ITU under 23 and Junior Development Pre-Worlds Champs Camp on the Gold Coast. This was my first opportunity as a Head Coach of an International Camp. I believe there was a great mix of enthusiasm and experience amongst the other five coaches in the head coach and assistant coach roles which contributed to a very well run and fluid moving camp. Along with the six head coaches we had ten mentor coaches from various regions and countries.

The first two days of the camp we found the athletes a little quiet and subdued and were tending to stay in their country/regional groups. By day three, we had a different group of young athletes. They were interacting with each other, making jokes having fun and the most important thing was they were learning new skills and ways to train that will help them in their future as athletes and in life in general. The one thing that I found that ALL the athletes were very thankful and appreciative of the opportunity that the ITU Sport Development Programme allows for these wonderful young men and women. A vital part of the ITU Sport Development Camp was the coach mentoring program that ran along side the camp. It’s great to get the athletes to these camps but if we don’t have the experience coaches going back with news ways and experiences of coaching then we won’t have the athletes coming thru and reaching their potential.

My eyes were opened having the opportunity to come in and shed some of my experience as a coach and former elite athlete to what some of these young athletes don’t have – coaching, equipment, opportunities. In my opinion our next world champion can come from this group of talented athletes from the ITU Sport Development Camp. In the right hands or with some continual guidance from high performance coaches it is crazy to think what some of these athletes could achieve! I was fortunate to have some guidance and help during my development as an athlete and now as a coach from high performance coaching which help me to reach my goals.

The one word that was synonymous with the camp was “OPPORTUNITY” because without such projects like this from the ITU Sport Development these developing and emerging nations and athletes aren’t exposed to high performance coaching that could help them onto their ways of representing their families and countries at future world championships, world championship series, world cups, continental cups and national events. It is vitally important that we continue to help and nurture these developing nations to continue the growth of triathlon in these countries.

The highlights of the camp were some of the phrases that were used and then re-used. It probably won’t mean much unless you were there and just reliving some of the phrases create a smile on our faces. Phrases such as “easy tiger”, “8, 9”, “no worries mate” and the most important one “I can’t believe…”

I would like to thank both Libby and Zita for their continual hard work that they do for the ITU Sport Development Programme, because without their hard work there is no Sport Development Programme and these wonderful men and women wouldn’t get the opportunity to attend camps like the one on the Gold Coast. It was a privilege and an absolute honor to have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some remarkable coaches and talented athletes at the camp.

Toby Coote
Head Coach – Sunshine Coast Triathlon Academy
Triathlon Australia National Talent Identification & Development Program – Regional Coach

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