2011 Apprenticeship Site Blog

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Marko Isajlovski, Fencing, Macedonia
It was our last day in Penn State. We visited the gym for the last time and said goodbye to the fencing coaches and the fencers. I took some good pictures of the fencing hall on my way out.
Now the hardest part is traveling. The packing, again. I don’t know how I am going to close my suitcases, again.
But nothing really matters because tomorrow we are flying to Colorado and I can’t wait to see the group again. Although I heard its freezing and snowing there, I am sure we will have a great time.

Ahmed El-Fattah, Basketball, Egypt
Today was our last day at the apprenticeship. It was an off day. We went to Lehigh University to say goodbye to all the coaches. It was very nice talking photo with them.
We went to do some shopping at the Lehigh mall, and then went back to the hotel to prepare our luggage and work on our apprenticeship presentations.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Larry Uwelur, Wrestling, Federated States of Micronesia
My apprenticeship experience so far has been wonderful. I’ve had a chance to observe and experience some of USA’s top coaches training. I was very fortunate to sit in and watch how the Colorado Spring’s OTC Freestyle team trained before departing to Mexico to take part in the Pan American games. Also, it was very nice to see both the Freestyle and Greco-Roman team peaking off before the Sunkist Wrestling Tournament in Phoenix.
Actually, today is the last day for me to get involved with the Greco-Roman training as it’ll be their last day of training before leaving for the Sunkist Competition. I was with the Freestyle team training seasons all last week but unfortunately this week I only have two days with the Greco-Roman training as they are getting ready for their tournament this weekend but nonetheless, the coaches are very helpful, offering to sit down with me and help answer any question I may have.
So far so good with apprenticeship but I can’t wait to see snow. As much as I really hate the cold weather, I’m very happy to see snow and to actually make a snow ball. Hopefully seeing snow for the first time will be a great experience for me and I know for sure it’ll be a story to tell my wrestlers and of course my kids when I get back home.

Hope Chisamanga, Basketball, Malawi
The day started with a class session of Sports Management where we had a chance to interact with the students, knowing more about our countries. The most interesting thing was that most of the students have never heard about the game of Netball, which is popular in Cook Islands and Malawi. It is the number two sport in each country, so we took time to explain the game to them. We then went to Lehigh Valley’s Premier Athletic Performance Center for a strength training session with professional baseball player, Matthew Mcbride, and trainer Jason Brader who took us through the session. Afterwards, we got lunch at American Sandwich with the assistant coach of DeSales University basketball team Matt Hunter and Jason.
We met in the afternoon with Coach Scott and Matt, ending the day as it was a resting day for the players. It has been an amazing experience so far and we are having a good time.

Franco Liu, Volleyball, Malaysia
Snow! This is my first time seeing snow in my life. I came to the US only 4 weeks ago, and in this short time I have learned a lot. Today was our last practical lesson at the University of Colorado. Coach Keith is a very responsible coach for his volleyball team. I believe in the future he can become NCAA Division II Champion.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Jeffrey Nedd, Boxing, Aruba
Monday was actually a very eventful and fun day for us. Coach Weichers, who works full time with the Air force Academy, picked us up at about 10:30am and we were on our way to the Air Force Base. Well, he definitely had a surprise in store for us, since Mofu, Sonam, and myself were wondering how 4600 cadets could be fed simultaneously in a staggering twenty minutes. It happened before our eyes when a few kitchen staff members came out with food trolleys, and proceeded in serving everyone present in simply a few minutes!  Just before that, we witnessed the cadets marching pass us to the dining room clad in their military uniform. We then went to the boxing gym, where Coach Weichers had us directly involved in training the cadets. He formed about five stations with five coaches, and each one of us had a different assignment. The day ended at about 7:00 pm with Coach Weichers joining us for dinner in our dining room at the Olympic Complex.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cornel Milan, Fencing, Romania
My dear colleagues, it came my turn to write my blog so let’s start. As you know I’m at Pennsylvania State University. Today, October 23 was a day marked by fencing competition at the Fencing Hall. During the day the room was a beautiful atmosphere of competition. Competitors had a real attitude as modern knights, 21st century. The struggle to place was spectacular, thrilling, and also had fair play. I am the final arbiter on the sword. Everyone who was in the gym had won.

Marja Woortman, Archery, Namibia

We are having fun at the archery apprenticeship site. Coach Robert Turner showed us the fantastic indoor range and other facilities at the Easton Newberry Sports Complex.  During the week we met Mr. Dough Engh, the outreach director of Easton Foundation and other interesting people, who shared their knowledge and info with us. We were able to attend several archery classes, with students at different levels. Saturday we had a look at the big University of Florida with their alligators. Afterwards we let the public try out archery at a Halloween event.  The kids and even adults enjoyed it. Sunday Robert took us for a splendid scenery drive to St. Augustine. It was a lovely sunny day for this beautiful trip. We appreciate the effort and time spent with us to share information.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Yoko Tanabe, Judo, Japan
We visited the Training Gym, “One to One Strength” with Mr. Paul Soucy. Pedro Judo Center’s Elite athletes have three sessions a week. Paul makes the strength and circuit training menu for each athlete. Every other day is strength training and circuit training; it alternates. We studied a new and proper way of circuit training.

Jener Sato, Archery, Brazil
Since we arrived in Easton Newberry Sports Complex, I have been getting a lot of information on how to implement a similar complex, administration, look for partnerships and, of course, a lot of tips on Archery technical stuff like: bow setup, video analysis, tournament, Junior Olympic Athletes Development (JOAD) and National Team System (NTS) – 13 Steps.
We run a Level 1 US Certification and next week we are going to run the Level 2 US Certification. Thanks a lot to Mr. Doug Engh, Outreach Director of Easton Foundation for sharing with us all his experience and knowledge on Building Archery Facility and, a Planning Guide. And, thanks to Head Coach Robert Turner, for taking his time to lead us in this amazing Apprenticeship and lots of tours and dinners. Today, we went to a lake to see the Alligators and tomorrow, Sunday, we are going to the Beach.

George Williams, Basketball, Cook Islands
We’ve now been in Bethlehem for 3 days. This town is nice. Township is very busy and jam packed with various shops. At the same time, if you take a 10 minute drive out of town you hit some open roads with lots of beautiful scenery too. FYI – Diehl, Hope and myself are doing our apprenticeship at DeSales University, with approx 1600 students total, and their men’s teams plays in Division III. Today we pretty much had a laid back morning, enjoyed brunch in the hotel restaurant then got ready for our practice prep meeting. These meetings are detailed and explore the focus of the training sessions, then go through the drills and what they need to work on. Coach Scott and Assistant Coach Matt also involve us and ask for our input…Amazing!!! Team did weight training from 3-3:30pm and then practice began. Practice energy was a little low today. Maybe some of the players had a big night out last night, but don’t tell Coach Scott that. They have a 16 man team, and 7 of them were out with injuries. This obviously had a huge effect on the training session. Overall Coach was happy with the training session. This evening Coach Scott invited us to his home to enjoy a barbeque meal with his family. Actually, all the coaching staff was invited too. It was an awesome evening. We talked basketball strategies and food, the perfect combination. We left at about 9:30pm in the evening and returned home trying to catch the All Blacks Final with France in the Rugby World Cup…We missed it, but later found out the All Blacks won 8 points to 7…Ohh Yeahhhhh!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Husnija Kajmovic, Judo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The judo coaches have the great honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to spend a small portion of time and learn from world champion Jimmy Pedro and his father, the supreme teacher Mr. Jim Pedro Sr. Today, we had a chance to see how to motivate young athletes to work through the interview of coaches and athletes, which was full of emotion, sincerity and positive energy. I would like to commend the communication coaches use with children and adult competitors, and they indicate a very strong educational component and educational work with children and older competitors. We saw and learned many things, and they can be very effectively applied in our countries. For five days stay in Pedro's Judo Center, we have experienced positive changes and we are very happy about it.

George Abzianidze, Swimming, Georgia
The swimming apprenticeship took place at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, from 17 to 21 October, 2011. On the last day, 21 October, we had very interesting schedule. In the morning Head Coach Richard, my colleague Kiry and I went to the Fort Mc Henry National Monument and Historic Shrine. There was a very interesting description of “The Battle of Baltimore 12, 13, 14 September 1814” against the British Fleet.


Elroy Agard, Athletics, Barbados
Wow. What an outstanding organization! Penn State proved to be the ideal environment for track and field success:
- Experienced and knowledgeable coaches
- Class-A facilities
- A passion for sport and success at all levels
- Talented athletes

A history of sporting excellence that is always before the staff and the athletes on posters and banners.
Interestingly enough I have not concluded that I am unfortunate not to have the type of infrastructure that they have, rather I am inspired to create the spirit of excellence and make whatever equipment I need. Many of the coaches there made a name for them self before taking the job there and they did not have the luxury they enjoy of high-class facilities. Far more important than excellent facilities is excellent coaching and motivated athletes. So much to learn, so little time!
But much of the learning will continue when we get back to our countries! How can we ever be the same after this program?
Thank you ICECP!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Zhishan Cheng, Judo, China
This morning we went to Jimmy Pedro's Judo center, but the driver didn't know the way. We took many rounds on the road, but the Judo club called to tell us they didn’t have class in the morning. We just turned back to the hotel. In the afternoon we went to the Judo center again. The judo club was very busy. Some Gragons trained at first, they are five years old. The training was very interesting that there are Judo players so small. After Gragons, the 5-10 year olds trained. At last were the adults training. Class ended at 8:00. Everybody was very hungry but very happy, because of this afternoon!

Kenny Lidise, Volleyball, Fiji
10am – Met with Coach Bonnie and discussed about clubs, 5 year plan plus handouts
1:30pm – Met with David Barlow and had discussions on grants
3pm – Blue Hens volleyball training & received videos of college matches

Things Learned today:
1. Start development program with 2 schools & gradually increase after a year or so.
2. Video analysis very important before matches.
3. Practice plan for every session.
4. Be willing to share everything about your sport.


Wedbnesday, 19 October 2011

Marlies Kiefer, Basketball, Austria
During my apprenticeship I am based at the University of North Carolina. This fact by itself is sheer unbelievable. On top of that I have the best host in the world – Jason Beaulieu is the strength & conditioning coach of the Women’s basketball team. He is arranging the whole schedule for me, makes sure that I get introduced to everyone, drives me around, shows me the sites and gets me involved. Everything here is just a huge fascination.

C:\Documents and Settings\User\My Documents\My Pictures\Olympic Centre\Olympic Centre 099.jpgToday, Jason organized a meeting for me with Greg Law, the director of basketball operations, and Dave, responsible for filming and editing. Greg is in charge for logistics, budget and equipment – chatting with him about all the things he has to think of in order to provide a smooth basketball season for the players was highly interesting. Dave joined the team only 2 months ago. His main role is filming every single practice as well as all their games, home and away. I had a great chat with him about the software they use for performance analyses as well as other databases the university makes use of. As expected performance analysis is very important to the coaches – be it post-game, pre-game or individual sessions which are held almost every day.

In the evening I got to watch the team practice. A great part of it was about teaching as opposed to just running drills which I really enjoyed. Knowing all the players a little bit better now makes it even more exciting to observe them, especially in terms of their attitude as well as their relationship and interaction with the coaching staff.

Conclusion of the first 2 days of my apprenticeship: overwhelming, impressive, valuable and damn cool. Very much looking forward to more days with the UNC Tar Heels!

Heather Samuel, Athletics, Antigua and Barbuda

I wish the thank the Penn State University coaching staff for giving the ICECP coaches such a wonderful opportunity to visit with them this week. We have been over whelmed with the level of professionalism and willingness to share ideas with us. Today is Wednesday but I wish we could stay here for another week to learn and to be in this great setting. Although, we were not schedule to be there until 10:30am, we were happy to get another opportunity to see the athletes and coaches at 6am for gym training. I will cherish this experience for the rest of my life. The athletes of Antigua and Barbuda will be better because of this. Thank you ICECP!!



Muharram Mchume, Volleyball, Tanzania
I had a very good experience on the first day of my apprenticeship. Meeting with one of the most experienced coaches in the USA, Bonnie Kenny and her assistant coach Cindy Gregory was unbelievable. The hard working coaches made my work easy to follow. Both have vast knowledge and experience. I cannot say much about them as I am still drawing water from them for my starved village –Tanzania. I refer them as wells due to the knowledge they have. Otherwise we are expecting to have another face to face discussion tomorrow and I will hopefully continue to learn even more.

Andile Mofu, Boxing, South Africa
The day went by without any problems. Had a very good session with Coach Eddie Weichers and the Airforce boxers. We paid a visit to the USA Boxing Headquarters where we were introduced to the Executive Officer and his staff. We were well received and Eddie organized boxing manuals for us! These boxing manuals will help a lot in crafting our education system back in our countries.

Nagendra Paudel Chhetri, Basketball, Nepal
Today was our last session in Delaware. The class started at 3pm as usual. We went to the men’s practice. I came to learn a lot from that session. It’s totally different from we do in our country. There are so many assistant coaches teaching. Every coach is guiding in the player's mistakes and they are friendly and calm. Besides that, I saw the medical team doing their job. For me it was totally different from our training in my country and we don't have facilities like this. After the coaches finished the training, they gathered and worked on their mistakes. Lastly, I found that the team respects the coaches as their parents.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Meshal Alotaibi, Archery, Saudi Arabia
Hello every one! I woke up at 7:30am with Sato’s help. Then I had a very nice warm shower and a good breakfast. At 9am coach Robert picked us up to take us to EASTON Foundation (field) to start a very long day. We started the day with an exam about some archery information and then had a good lesson on maintenance to compound and recurve bow (kind of bow we use). It was really interesting. Then we had our half an hour lunch break. After lunch we went back to the field to continue training until 5 pm. We started the first beginner lesson with 12 (happy) kids. We joined them in the warm up and helped them also to calculate scores. I tried to teach everyone that you always learn from your mistakes. Thank you and I hope you are all enjoying your apprenticeships also.

Matthew Smiling, Basketball, Belize
Tuesday morning when I got up I had a little scare. I had to call on Dana to take me to the doctor/clinic. At the doc’s office my fears were over, everything was ok. Looks like I was trying to do damage to myself, but thanks to the almighty it was only a minor irritation. We had a day off from our apprenticeship site, because the Delaware basketball teams had a media day in Washington D.C., so they wouldn’t be in Delaware. We did work on our projects, and then we went walking down Main St. for the last time. We also went to Grotto’s pizza to have our last taste of the “world’s famous” pizza.We did some last minute shopping, before we say goodbye to Delaware on the 19th. Delaware, nice, hope to see again.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Diehl Langkilde, Basketball, American Samoa

Upon returning from Washington D.C., the other basketball coaches and I made our way to the Bob Carpenter Center with Dana Griskowitz, an intern for the ICECP, at about 11:30am to meet with Coach Monte Ross and the men's basketball team. Before meeting with the team, we were greeted by the team's manger, Saul, where he took us into the locker room to watch a film on Head Coach Jim Larranaga. He was the head coach for George Mason and is now the head coach for the University of Miami. The film talks about the different coaching styles & philosophy and also how coach Larranaga works with his players. The film also goes into details about the different plays and the execution of them. Right after watching the film, the Delaware basketball team was on the floor getting ready to start practice. The ICECP coaches had an opportunity to meet with Coach Ross and his assistant coaches. We also had a brief opportunity to get some coaching ideas before his practice started.

We got to sit through the practice and observed a well organized set of plays and watched the players respond to the coaches instructions. Coach Ross & his assistant coaches were very vocal and involved with the practice. It was amazing to seeing the different things we learned in the first module being implemented with these coaches on the Delaware basketball team. George, Hope, Matt & I shared a couple of ideas & complemented on the practice. We also had a chance to speak again with Coach Ross at the end of practice, while Coach Martin of the women's basketball team got set up. I got to ask him about what his coaching philosophy is for his team and he said, "DEFENSE." I had an unbelievable experience in absorbing new information and observing how other coaches handle their teams in comparison to my own coaching methods & techniques. I really enjoyed my first day of apprenticeship and am looking forward to the rest of them.

Kiry Hem, Swimming, Cambodia
Today was my first day of the apprenticeship in Baltimore. For my apprenticeship, I go to the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, which is where Michael Phelps trains! At the club I met Mr. John Cadingan. He is the Director of Operations and he is a great man. He took me and George for a tour around the club and also gave us some information about NBAC. We finished with John at 12:00pm at 13:30 pm we met Erik. He is the assistant coach at NBAC. We sat down in his office and talked about his training program and shared some information. At 3:45 we went to the pool to watch his training. We had a great time to learn a lot of news thing at NBAC!

Nasrullah, Athletics, Pakistan
Today was almost the best day of my track & field life.  We started at 9am with introductions of the Penn State coaching staff.  The Director of Track & Field showed us all the sports complexes. After Lunch we didn’t take rest and went to the indoor track. I assisted a training session with the throwing coach and learned many new things about weight trainings. After that I joined the sprinter coach with my fellow coaches and we practically participated in that session. Elroy trained hard there under his coaching. Meanwhile our official time started at 2:30pm and we joined the cross-country coaches in their conference room and took a long session of detailed discussion. They have just finished their competition season. They introduced us to all of their runners who participated in the previous competition season. They also provided their training plans of different training periods. Those are very beneficial for our understanding. After that we joined the sprinter coach again while his training session was in progress. We observed their trainings and asked many relevant questions and cleared our concepts. After a long session I went to the jumps coach and watched his training session, which was almost finished.  I will meet with him more tomorrow because I have to understand all the events to improve the standard of our coaches. The training area is very close to our hotel, so we walked back and held our meeting there in the hotel lobby to discuss our daily progress. Today, I learned that there should be two rests for all short events in a week. I also learned that middle and long distance runners should not take two days rest. I got my concept clear to continue this practice for our elite athletes in the future to improve our standard. Regular trainings are never a part of our training schedules, so we have to plan for several years of regular trainings to improve our Track & Field standard.

Shu-Hwa Wang, Athletics, Taiwan
We met the Penn State coaching staff at the indoor track; we were into the conversation right away after introducing ourselves. The coaches were very open minded to share information and answer our questions, such as the NCAA rules, scholarships, academics, and others. In the afternoon, we observed practice with Coach Johnson working with elite athletes, and then the collegiate students’ practice. From my point of view, there is one thing very different from elite athletes to collegiate students- their motivation and attitudes toward practice. I enjoyed being here to observe their practice and to see what is really different from Taiwan. The major thing for my consideration is the practice atmosphere, which makes a team have a strong cohesive force that makes coach and athletes a big happy family.