Thirteen coaches from 12 countries have spent nearly four weeks at the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) to obtain the highest Diploma level qualification.
The UCI WCC’s own professional coaches and external experts covered all aspects of coaching with the students who saw their time divided between classroom lessons and practical sessions at the UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland.
Topics covered included coaching principles, safety, anti-doping, conditioning, prescribing training, athlete monitoring, nutrition and training with power. The coaches also received training in basic mechanics at the UCI WCC workshop. To receive the UCI Coach Diploma, they had to pass a written test and practical assessment.
Malaysian Louis Pang joined the Coach Diploma course this month after completing the UCI Level 1 and Level 2 courses in Thailand in 2016 and 2017.
“I knew than that I wanted to do the Level 3 Diploma,” said the coach, who has particularly appreciated the chance to learn in an environment with extensive facilities including the covered velodrome. His Under 21 riders from the Malaysian province of Sabah race on the road and track, and also compete in overseas competitions, such as this year’s Taiwan Cup Track International Classic.
Pang will return to Malaysia armed with extended knowledge and fresh ideas: “I’ve learned to rethink coaching and look at it from different perspectives,” he said. “It is good not to control the athletes but let them experiment and discover. I hadn’t considered that before.
“I’ve also learned a lot from my classmates, who have a wealth of experience from different backgrounds.”
Australian Zakkari Dempster is a professional rider with the UCI Professional Continental Team Israel Cycling Academy but is already considering his post-competitive career, which he intends to dedicate to coaching.
Based in Europe since he was 19, Dempster, now 32, says his many years of experience as a pro are a help but not enough to embark on a coaching career without the Diploma course: “I have gained valuable knowledge from my racing career, but an athlete is not necessarily a good coach,” he says. “A rider who can take a corner cannot necessarily explain how to do it!
“On this course we have also learned how to deliver ideas in a powerful and meaningful way. It’s not just about giving athletes objectives but making that objective more meaningful.”
The UCI WCC Coach Development Programme is divided into three levels. The Level 1 and 2 courses are for coaches working with younger or developing athletes, while the Diploma course is for more experienced individuals working at the highest level.
The coaches on the latest course came from Greece, Australia, Poland, Luxemburg, Norway, Hungary, Israel, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy, South Africa and Belgium.
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