LOST, loose and lonely athletes weren’t the only recurring theme in the recently released probes of Australia’s dysfunctional Olympic swimming team. Highlighted several times in Doctor Pippa Grange’s Bluestone Review was a startling absence of leadership that pointed to major failings of national coaches.
Among Doctor Grange’s recommendations was that Swimming Australia invest in an “intensive coach-the-coach leadership program” that would see the team’s big boss, Leigh Nugent, tutored by an “industry expert” for a minimum of three months.
The Australian Sports Commission also recognised the benefit of coaching coaches when it released its masterplan to rectify the nation’s deteriorating performance in international sport last November it. A priority outlined in the ‘Winning Edge’ blueprint was increased investment into coaches and high performance personnel, and the establishment of a very modern sounding “new cross-sport centre for performance coaching and leadership” designed to encourage information sharing across sports and raise the standard of those working in the industry.
Federal sport Minister Kate Lundy will announce on Thursday that the Australian Institute of Sport is ready for its first intake of coaches who are eager to be pupils again in order to become better teachers.
There are just 30 places – 15 for emerging coaches who will be trained over two years, and 15 for established high performance leaders from national sporting organisations who will be trained for a minimum of 12 months – for the program beginning in May that Senator Lundy is spruiking as “cutting edge”.
“A contemporary sports system is open to the ideas of coaches and high performance staff sharing knowledge,” Lundy said.
“There is no reason a cricket, football or netball coach or leader cannot learn valuable lessons from a swimming, rowing or athletics coach or vice versa.”
The successful candidates will be trained not only by the Melbourne Business School, but by the National Institute of Dramatic Art, and undertake programs the ASC says will be “thematic rather than discipline based, with content delivered via a series of face-to-face residential labs” and involve study tours and individual assessment.
Units for year one include ‘Maximising your Leadership Potential’ and ‘Strategic Thinking and Action’, to be run by the Melbourne Business School. The National Institute of Dramatic Art will run ‘Creating Excellent Communicators’ and ‘Communicating with Impact’ while other units, to be run by the AIS, will broach science (‘Maximising Altitude’), psychology (‘Mental Health First Aid’) and general wellbeing (‘Optimising Sleep for athletes and coaches’).
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.