Coaching Experts get together at UCI World Cycling Centre
Thirteen UCI Experts from 10 countries attended a seminar at the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) in Aigle, Switzerland at the weekend.
UCI WCC Experts are highly-qualified coaches who already have the UCI Coach Diploma or an equivalent qualification in their respective countries. On top of their every-day jobs, they are called on to deliver UCI Level 1 and Level 2 coaching courses in different regions throughout the world.
In 2016, these Experts delivered eighteen coaching courses in 16 countries on four continents. The courses are given in different languages – for example Spanish, Russian or English – and for different disciplines according to demand.
At the seminar in Aigle, the Experts were brought up to date on modifications to coaching courses and the objectives of the UCI and Olympic Solidarity. They also gave their feedback on the course content and shared their experiences, all of which will be considered when developing new ideas and resources. Finally, the seminar aimed to ensure the courses are standardised, with all Experts interpreting the content in the same way.
UCI WCC High Performance Manager Belinda Tarling explains:
"It is not because you are a good coach that you are a good teacher."
“Our Experts are not only qualified coaches but most also have a teaching qualification. They are very committed and most give these courses during their annual holidays.”
She said the seminar was useful to get their feedback and thoughts: “We are constantly trying to improve our courses and make them more attractive. It is important to get the Experts’ feedback as they are the ones delivering the courses. Their advice and opinions are important to us.”
UCI WCC Director Frédéric Magné stressed the importance of the Experts’ role: “More and more National Federations are requesting courses for coaches in their countries. We are fortunate to have a pool of Experts we can call on to deliver these courses which are organised throughout the world. By raising the standard of coaching, we raise the level of cycling.”
A brief comment from two of the Experts working in very different environments:
Elnara Musayeva, Azerbaijan
Since completing the UCI Diploma course in 2014, the former athlete has been working as a coach and Sport Department Manager at the Azerbaijan Cycling Federation. Last year, she was approached to deliver a Level 1 coaching course organised by the Azerbaijan Olympic Committee. The rest is history: “There were a lot of young former riders who didn’t know anything about coaching,” she explains. “The course went really well and these coaches have been getting good results with their riders.”
Since then, Elnara Musayeva has also delivered a course in Kazakhstan and translated all the UCI coaching material into Russian.
“This year we plan to organise a Level II coaching course in Azerbaijan, and I really want to deliver some courses in other countries too. Cycling has progressed a lot in Azerbaijan since we adopted the UCI coaching methods which are very different from what we were used to before.
“It is very interesting for us to come back to Aigle to upgrade our knowledge and discuss what we can do in the future.”
Richard Cheetham, Great Britain
A renowned coach across a variety of sports, Richard Cheetham is a University fellow in sports coaching and has been an Expert for the UCI WCC since 2013. On January 1st this year he was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list for services to education and community sport.
As an Expert, Cheetham teaches candidates on the UCI WCC Sport Director course, specialising in leadership.
“After 16 years of coaching I felt it was time to evolve and pass my experience on to others. Sport Directors are often dealing with people who spend up to 200 days away from their families. The team should be a family as well. I teach a lot of former riders, so I encourage them to think about what it was like when they were riders, what would have made a difference and what did make a difference.
"It’s a matter of self-awareness and reflection.”
Richard Cheetham, who continues to actively coach, sums up: “As a coach educator, you are always looking for new ideas, and ideas that do not necessarily depend on computer technology as you never know when you’re going to end up in a village hall with no WiFi. It’s amazing what you can do with pen, paper and sticky tape!”