Development and Performance
Regional Development Programmes
The regional programme has now been established for two years, this has been a none standard based entry level programme. Regional coordinators have implemented their own programmes to support regional athletes across a wide base. The regional lead coordinators have also a support network team of coaches, which would give a total of 12 coaches supporting the regional delivery. The total amount of athletes involved in the regional programme is currently 150 athletes and 35 to 40 coach’s dependents on the delivery and content of each region.
The overall aim of the programme is to focus on only a few key areas:
- Physical preparation and skill development
- Coach education
- Athlete coach support.
The regional coordinators and support coaches have continued to do a huge amount of work with athletes and coaches across each region. The programme has reached an embedded stage and is the corner stone of our over all endurance programme. Moving forward, once agreed by welsh schools, the regional programme coordinators will be responsible for the selection process for the mini marathon, this is a huge step forward in aligning the schools and regional programmes as part of the overall endurance strategy.
National Development Programme
The National Development Programme is a standard based programme, currently supports 35-38 athletes who are priority athletes at this critical point of development. The National Talent Coordinator is responsible for tracking athletes' performances and improving communication with individual coach athlete relationships.
National Programme Provision
Athlete lab-based support work: Priority junior athlete profiling, coach discussion around athlete requirements.
Nutritional Support Work: Bespoke nutritional designed support programme run in conjunction with the medical support team.
Medical management support programme: Implement the right pro-active support to minimise injury and lead on all functional and strength and conditioning requirements for all priority athletes. This is a change of delivery having recognised the need for much more control on the overall development of our priority athletes’ requirements.
Strength and conditioning support programme: Having had three drop- in delivery slots for athletes at Sport Wales, we will now move this to a much more individual programme as well as group delivery across the Senior and National Development Programme.
Athlete field testing support work: We are intending on formalising this service through the university network, testing will be still part of our agreement at Sport Wales, however the day to day monitoring could be much more effective if we engaged students (PhD level across the programme).
Warm weather camps: Murcia was part of our preparation cycle for the Commonwealth Games, our aim is to establish what European based warm weather facilities will be required to support 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games preparation. We will continue to offer athletes a warm weather opportunity prior the indoor season or as part of their continued preparation plans. Athletes on the UK support programme attended preparation camps in Kenya and South Africa.
Altitude camps: There will be an ongoing be-spoke programme working with individual athletes. 2022 will present an opportunity for athletes to utilise altitude as part of their preparations heading in to the 2022 games. This will require a minimum of two years prior to the games if we are to invest in any individual athletes’ preparations, it is crucial that we expose and manage this process properly.
The endurance coaching community have made a huge contribution over the past two years, we have seen more athletes on Great Britain teams, Welsh records broken, athletes ranked across events in the UK top 3 (Marathon /20K Walk/ 10k Women /3KS/C Men /Junior men 1500m/ Junior Women 3k/ Junior men 3KS/C) and consistently athletes ranked in the top 10.
Moving forward over the next two years the National Endurance Programme will aim to increase its investment in senior athlete preparation, our aim must be focused on closing the individual performance gap at championship events, qualification is a process welsh endurance athletes are now achieving, standalone one off performances do not support a high level of consistency which falls short under the pressures of any major games or championship event, competition exposure with focused preparation are key areas of development if we are to improve our performance delivery in 2022, reaching a higher level of consistency is crucial before we can challenge for major honours at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Chris Jones, National Coach