2009 Program News

05/02/10: Coaches Panel Excites ICECP Coaches in Lausanne, Switzerland

discThe ICECP 2010 participants were very privileged to hear a coach’s panel between not only three great coaches, but as well as phenomenal athletes.  Sir Clive Woodward, Andy Sparks and Juan Carlos Holgado joined together to answer and discuss a few questions moderated by Dr. Matthew Robinson at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.  Sir Clive Woodward was regarded as one of the best Ruby players of his time where he captained Loughborough University’s rugby team and played for two of England’s most successful Rugby clubs.  He was also appointed by the Rugby Football Union as England’s Rugby’s first full-time professional head coach in 1997, where he led his team to beat the powerhouse Australia in the Rugby World Cup Final in Sydney in 2003. 

Andy Sparks was an incredible Cyclist for the United States where he was a member of the United States National Track Team and earned a three-year residency at the United States Olympic Training Center.  Since retiring as a competitor in 2004, he has devoted his passion to coaching and has achieved a remarkable record of success, earning four World Championship Titles, twenty World Cup medals and many National records.  Andy is currently the head track coach at the U.C.I World Cycling Center in Aigle, Switzerland.  The third coach at the panel, Juan Carlos Holgado, is a world-class archer where his team achieved the highest goal of an Olympian by earning the Gold Medal at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992.  In 2003, Juan Carlos worked in the Organizing Committee of Athens 2004 as the technical Operations Manager to prepare and organize the Archery Event in the next Olympics.  In addition to his all of his athletic accomplishments he has become a wonderful coach where he is coaching archers of different levels and he is giving his advise and support to different archery projects.  It was outstanding to hear about all three of their perspectives on coaching since Sir Clive coached a team sport while the other two coached individual sports.  They all had excellent tips for the ICECP coaches that will stick with them forever.  One of the ideas that Andy Sparks constantly stressed that in order to discover talent identification, one must look for 5 things; work ethic, fighting attitude, confidence and believing in your self, having an open/dynamic mind, and natural ability.  He emphasizes that if an athlete has these five attributes, than they can become a great champion. During the panel, Juan Carlos talked about how a coach must treat each one of their athletes a little different since everyone has dissimilar personalities.  However, each athlete he trains must have one similar personality trait and that is the athlete needs to be in it for the long haul and must realize that becoming a great champion takes a lot of hard work and time and one must be patient.  This is a very important part of coaching because you cannot treat every athlete the same, one must alter their coaching methods to different players, but as long as they are 100% dedicated, they can become great. 

Sir Clive had many great quotes and tips during the two-hour coach’s panel.  He talked about the process that he goes through when picking a team.  The first thing that all of his athletes needed was talent, because even if they worked as hard as possible, if they don’t have the natural talent, there is only so far that the athlete can go.  On top of talent, Sir Clive looks to make sure the athlete is teachable, can handle pressure, and has the right attitude.  With these four characteristics, the player would have a great chance of making his team.  One of the most memorable quotes that he talked about during the panel was the expression “T-CUP”, which meant Thinking Clearly Under Pressure.  This acronym resonated with all the coaches because so many athletes under perform under pressure, but as long as one can think clearly in those moments, they will have tremendous amounts of success.  The 2010 ICECP was very lucky to have these three great coaches come to share their wisdom and we were honored to have them