More than sixty coaches attended the 2012 Welsh National Coaching Conference, held on Sunday at the Park Inn Hotel in Cardiff.
Organised by Welsh Athletics as part of the Coaching Development Programme, the conference provided an excellent opportunity for this crucial sector of our sport to meet, network and exchange ideas.
Following a tea-and-coffee reception at 9:30 in the morning, the attendees were welcomed by Coaching Development Manager Dave Goodger and National Performance Coach Scott Simpson. Also present were all the National Event Group Leads for all areas of the sport.
The Conference opened with a keynote speech by legendary coach Malcolm Arnold. Currently in charge of World Champion Dai Greene (among a group of extremely talented athletes), Arnold held the role of National Coach for Wales for 20 years, between 1974 and 1994, and produced unrivalled success, being especially noted for the results of Colin Jackson.
Arnold's session was followed by a thought-provoking series of sessions by Kelvin Giles, consultant with England Athletics, the FA, the LTA, the RFU, Scottish Athletics, Sport Ireland and Sports Coach UK.
The leading light for Movement Dynamics, Giles put the accent on the challenges the lifestyle of children in the 21st century is placing on coaches, and the consequences it can have on a range of aspects - from injury prevention to athlete retention during a sport career.
After the lunch break, Giles demonstrated practical ways in which coaches can incorporate Movement Dynamics concepts into their sessions, engaging all attendees and ensuring no one left the room without having their assumptions unchallenged - a central point, he explained, in the process of coaching development.
The feedback from attending coaches was very positive, with most of the interviewees already planning changes to their programmes. Equally as important as the presentations was the possibility to interact, during breaks and after the event, with other coaches.
The Conference closed with some remarks from Dave Goodger and Scott Simpson, who underlined the importance of events like this - and the creation of an active, thriving network of coaches - to promote development at grassroots levels, all the way up to the elites.
Some of the comments already received from attendees:
"It was well organised & run - I thought Kelvin & Malcolm complemented each other as speakers"
"It's the best one I have been to with Welsh Athletics - I look forward to implementing the work within our environment."