2010 Apprenticeship Site Blog

Mr. Zoran Mirkovikj, Macedonian Taekwondo Federation, 27 October 2010

Today is my last day at my apprenticeship site. I arrived in Alexandria, Virginia on 17. Oct. The first couple of days I didn’t like this city, area where the hotel was located, and it was so boring by myself. I must say thanks to Dejan, Estony, Lai and all others who kept me company on internet.

On the 18th of October I meet Master Patrice Remarack who was chosen twice for a US Taekwondo Coach of the Year. He has produced some top level athletes. From that moment everything changed. I received a schedule for training and I went to the gym every day from 18:00 till 23:00. The gym was a thirty minute walking distance from the hotel. From 18:00 till 19:00 I observed the “little dragons” training. They are little kids from ages 3 – 5 years of age. Next was the advanced group from 19:00 to 20:30. And finally most interesting, I was training with Olympic Group from 20:30 till 22:30. In this class I meet some Olympians, World Champions, and US Taekwondo National team members, from whom I learned a lot. After practice Master Patrice and I worked on coaching skills, theory, strategy, conducted research till 04:00 am some days.

Now it is time to pack my bags, but I would like to stay for a little while and learn more. Thank you ALL for giving me this kind of opportunity.

Mr. Uros Hercek, Basketball Federation of Slovenia, 26 October 2010

Sports have a big tradition at the University of North Carolina (UNC). I was fortunate that I could be part of the North Carolina Basketball program. Between the men's and women's teams they have accumulated seven NCAA championships. T he best basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, was a member of the Tar Heels.

My mentor was Mr. Jason Beaulieu. He is the strength and conditioning coordinator for the women's basketball team. I also had opportunity to work with Jonas Sahratian. They have shown me different points about conditioning in basketball and have taught me new exercises which I can use for conditioning. Most importantly I have made new friends.

27.10.2010 will be my last day in apprenticeship at UNC. I couldn't imagine that I met one of the greatest women athletes, Marion Jones, in the world.
At this point I also would like to thank Jason. He shared with me his knowledge and provided a rich experience.

Mr. Quentin Hall, Bahamas Basketball Federation, 25 October 2010

At my apprenticeship, I was able to sit in on the university’s practice sessions and absorb their strategies. I found it unique that there were four coaches and all were active in teaching students how to run the drills. The head coach would say what the offense or defense entailed. Every coach would interact with each player when they had a problem understanding the drill. It was nice to speak with the other coaches and listen to their ideas and see how they would do different drills. When I go back I will enhance my way of teaching. By attending the NBA game and practice session I was able to learn quickly that there is a big difference of pressure put on individual players rather than in college (more put on team). The college style is more about helping each other out while the NBA is about the guys understanding a certain type of attitude. The practice schedule was one of the biggest things I will take with me because they were able to stick to what they had to implement and not stray away from what the lesson plan contained. One of the weaknesses we have is that coaches do not have enough time with their national teams. More time is needed to put in your system for it to be successful AT ANY AGE LEVEL. (TIME)

Mr. Alfusainey Fatty, Gambia Weightlifting Federation, 24 October 2010

I arrived in Colorado Springs on the 17th of October at 7pm. We took an airport taxi to the US Olympic Center where we checked in to the hostel. I was given my own room.

At 7:15 Monday morning we met Mr. Zygmung, the US national coach of weightlifting. One of his athletes, Casey, picked us up and took us to the training center. We were introduced to some athletes (Natalie, Donovan, Zack, Patrick, Karan, Rachel, and Kelly) who are training for the championship. We started with a warm up that lasted thirty minutes. He told us to sit and watch the athletes on how they were training. After they completed their workout we started the training for close to one hour. I have learned so many things from him since we started. Mr. Zygmung is so humble and open to us.

It was 8:00 Tuesday morning when I woke up to take a shower. Afterwards I went to eat breakfast. I came back to the hotel where I watched a soccer match between Stoke City and Manchester United. The match ended 2 to 1 in favor of Manchester United. Afterwards I went for lunch where I ate a delicious meal of rice. Later I went with Wicky down town to see the town. We went to malls and super markets to buy some items. We came back after six to the house. We both changed our clothes and went back to the dining room for dinner.

Mr. Bob Hunter, El Salvador Basketball Federation, 23 October 2010

I like to call this program "A life-changing experience" just because it marks a new phase in my coaching career in my life. I am learning many new aspects involving the coaching role while meeting many important and interesting people. This makes this program unique.

Being around a high performance program has given me a new vision on how things have to be done in order to be successful. There are several things that can be applied in my country and can be beneficial to develop better athletes.

I thank all my classmates. I am learning a lot from them. This is a very special group considering all the cultures and different sports that has gathered us here. We all have a common goal to do things better in our country. I am glad I have a new group of friends
Thank you to Dr. Robinson and all the staff of the program for giving me the opportunity to be here. It has been an amazing experience and I will apply all the knowledge acquired in this program back in my country the best way possible for the benefit of basketball athletes in El Salvador.

Mr. Peter Cuffy, Antigua and Barbuda Athletic Association, 23 October 2010

I must start by saying thanks to the almighty God for giving us travelling mercy and for the opportunity of being part of such a wonderful program.
The past four days I have been staying at Penn State University as part of my apprenticeship program.

We started out with a round table discussion where we were introduced to the coaching staff preceded with a tour of the campus. We had meetings later on with the different coaches and observed practices and had the chance to ask questions. We had the privilege of having two round table discussion one with some of the elite athletes and the other with a diverse mix of the athlete body of those who are still eligible to represent the school . We had a very meaningful and open dialogue as to how the program has prepared them to move to the next level and what life as a student athlete is, what is expected and how the system operates. We also shared with them our reasons for being in the ICECP program and what we undergo and what we hope to accomplish. They all spoke very highly about the support that the school gives (not just in the sport but in there general well being) in helping to shape their lives and making them a much better person

We had a tour of the sports museum which is located in the football stadium. It is beautiful facility. Things at Penn State are very organized. They were very happy to have us both and were fully open for dialogue and discussion which makes you feel as part of them and at home. I do think it’s an example of the good environment a freshman would love to have in making his or her transition to the next level especially for the international athlete. We had meeting with the sports psychologist and one scheduled with the academic advisor and the athletic directors. This is just a taste of the team and family like atmosphere that is here which helps set the tone for the athletes to do well. Thanks to the Penn State athletic family for having us and making us feel at home.

Also thanks to the organizers of the ICECP program for giving us the opportunity to learn and expand our skills.

Mr. Khalique Bailey, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Table Tennis Association, 22 October 2010

Today at the ICC Table Tennis Center, I had the opportunity to participate in a video interview recording with the coaches conducting group training sessions for their kids.

During the recording the kids demonstrated their skills in the following drills.
1. Physical Exercises
2. Back hand and Forehand drills
3. Fore hand - Back hand center
4. Fore hand -center - Back hand - center

Duration for these exercises and drills are decided by the coaches depending on the lesson plans. There were six coaches and all were positioned on one side of the table while the kids were positioned on the other side of the table. The Director for Sports & Recreation Mr. Rajul Sheth told me this group lesson is very essential for beginners and advised that afterwards they should be allowed to play against each other with the coaches observing them carefully (in terms of pairing them according to their rankings).
Finally I watched the young female team undergoing training in doubles against two coaches as part of preparation for the world championships. I noted some good lessons from the coaches during our discussion.

Mr. Size Vardhan, Volleyball South Africa, 21 October 2010

I arrived in the US on 2 October 2010. Since the plane has touchdown the expectancy has never stopped. By now, the colleagues that preceded this message have all alluded to the amazing times at University of Delaware. The friendliness and warmth of the staff and students have left an incredible mark on us. I sincerely hope that someday I can reciprocate this. I am truly blessed and privileged to be given this opportunity to serve my apprenticeship on the West Coast with US National Women's Volleyball Team. Observing their practices was a great learning experience. Stephen, has gone out of his way to ensure that our travels and stay went smoothly. He is a great ambassador for UD. Dr. Robinson has made a huge impact on my thinking and approach to sport. I am happy to announce that in the last week, the list has expanded. I met my childhood volleyball hero, Karch Kiraly and Randy from the US Youth Volleyball . Randy, ensured that we got the best and is ever willing to impart his extensive knowledge in youth volleyball. I guess "AMAZING AWAITS" in the remaining weeks.

Mr. Mehran Hatami, Iran Basketball Federation, 20 October 2010

The basketball group including: Husni, Lai, Bob, Quentin and Uros moved to Philadelphia for a coaching clinic after two fantastic weeks at the University of Delaware. It was a coaching clinic handled by the Villanova basketball technical staff. I remember the head coach, Jay Wright, from the 2005 World University Championships held in Izmir, Turkey. He was the USA head coach while I was the I.R.IRAN head coach. He and Mike Dunleavy (ex NBA coach) put forth a good program that day. It was a good opportunity for us to understand their set offences and transition strategies. Afterwards, we followed Uros to the airport and we went to the University of Delaware to join their basketball practices. We met the coaches and saw four practices. After two days we moved back to Philadelphia and saw an exhibition game between Philadelphia 76rs and New York Knicks. It was a good night for me and others to see the game live. We were selected to join different universities. I moved to Villanova, one of the strongest team in east coast. I met their coaches and saw their practices and all basketball publications. The facility and organization was a dream!

It is a great experience for me to be here. I want to thanks everyone involved in the ICECP. Thank you Dr.Robinson, Jeff, Carolina, Regina, Stephen, Dan and everybody who helped me join and participate in this program.

Mr. Arlison Silva, Brazil Swimming Federation, 19 October 2010

I woke up at 8 am for breakfast and went to The North Baltimore Aquatic Club that is in a five minute walking from the hotel. The staff showed us (Dejan, Anny and myself) all the facilities until our meeting with Coach Bob Bowman, scheduled for 9am. When we finally got there, Coach Bowman told us the schedule for the week which included meeting with his staff everyday at noon and observation of the practices of all teams in different ages and skills during the afternoon. It will be a busy week, but we have mornings free.

 We went out for lunch to a very good restaurant and returned to the swimming pool. I did my personal workout just before the observation. We were introduced to the owner of the complex, Mr. Murray Stephens, who is in an ASCA (American Swimming Coaches Association) Hall of Fame member. This was an excellent informal lecture that provided us with some good Olympic experiences from him. After the practices observation, including dry land workouts for the teams, we went back to the restaurant for dinner.

 I want to thanks everyone involved in the ICECP! It's been such an amazing experience for me as a coach and my private life. Thank you Dr. Robinson, Carolina, Stephen, Jeff, Regina, Dan and everybody else!

Ms. Estony Hattingh, Botswana Judo Federation, 18 October 2010

Liaw and I arrived safely in Coral Springs, Florida. We were met at the airport by Tom Carrol a coach at the Ki-Itsu-Sai National Olympic Training Centre. The warm weather took us by surprise as it had been so cold in Lewes, Delaware over the weekend. This was quite an adjustment to get accustomed to.

Unfortunately Johnny Prado, the head coach, had just left to Agadir, Morocco for the IJF Junior World Championships. We have not had a chance to meet him. Afterwards we met the judo gi's and were able to spend time the mat. We had a good two hour training session at the club and observed and learned some very interesting facts. Their current head coach is Sensei Velazco from Peru. This individual is an excellent coach and knows just the right way to keep the class busy and motivated for the entire time without the children getting bored. It was interesting to observe the amount of water breaks the players get. Back home that is something that we neglect to do. It was also interesting to observe that after the lesson the athletes have strength and conditioning training for fifteen minutes which consists of rope climbing.

The dedication and passion of these judokas are very admirable. The National Woman's Champion u/-52kg, Angelica Delgado, travels an hour to training everyday on top of the two hour judo training and one and a half hour gym training in the morning. This is a sign of a true champion.
Liaw and I would just like to convey our deepest gratitude to the training centre for hosting us and accepting us with open arms into their club. Thanks guys you are amazing.

Mr. Mr. Julian Benjamin, Dominica Archery Associationh, 17 October 2010

The training I received in the ICECP program is one that enables every coach to do some introspection into what he or she is doing and what they can do to receive better results. The friendships built and the universality of the program is one that would not be accomplished anywhere else. This course aided us by showing the similarity and differences in sports. The shopping along with the weekend spent in Rehoboth brought the group together and was really fun. The trip to Gainsville was long. It started with a long drive to Baltimore followed by two plane rides. It was long but I was met in the airport by Bob Romero who gave me a short tour and briefing about the area. Then he took me to the Best Western Gateway Grand. The hours are long, but the staff is helpful and they make the job less than easy. So far so good.