Planning and Preparation emphasized at Elite Coaching weekend - St. Lucia

Coaches and participants during an elite coaching workshop in Soufriere.
Improving planning, performance analysis, the principles behind fitness training and mental toughness were all key areas of discussion at an elite coaching workshop in Soufriere at the weekend. Some 13 of the Island’s leading coaches, across four disciplines, took part in the elite coaching workshop, which was designed to help transition cutting edge sports coaching techniques to local playing fields.

Each session saw coaches from football, cricket, netball and volleyball working closely with leading international coaches, including former West Indies cricket coach and star all-rounder Roger Harper, former St Kitts football manager Cess Podd and top New Zealand netball coach Margaret Foster among others.

Harper, who was most recently the Stanford 20/20 St Lucia Pro Team manager, helped mentor local coaches during an intensive residential weekend of practical and theoretical sessions designed to enhance elite performance training on the Island.

The sessions covered long-term performance preparation, performance analysis, including video analysis techniques and how best to set goals for athletes. Starting with a general presentation, sessions then moved to practical applications in the Soufriere stadium.

A managing director of the Sacred Cows Group which organized the weekend, Delroy Alexander said: “We wanted the coaches to be exposed to top quality thinking in the field of coaching and be able to get almost one on one coaching over an intensive period of time. It was amazing to see how well the coaches worked together and shared experiences.”

The elite coaching weekend forms part of the extensive work of the Sacred Cows Group, which is currently helping produce a new National Sports Coaching Plan for St Lucia, financed by the European Union.

As well as producing a national sports coaching plan, the programme has worked with a large number of local coaches and players in the four key disciplines, producing in the process a comprehensive needs assessment, training manuals and modules for local sports coaches to use.

Alongside Harper at the elite coaching retreat were a number of other leading international coaches. New Zealand-born netball coach Margaret Foster and sports psychologist and former Olympic swimmer Anthony Beks also worked with local coaches. The pair has been on island for the past three weeks working closely with local sports associations, clubs and
sports participants to help maximize performance.

Football coach Cess Podd in conjunction with the St Lucia Football Association, continued his work on the island on Monday with the latest in a series of training sessions at the Fond Assau playing field, aimed at improving local coaching and player talent.

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