The National Ice Skating Association in partnership with GB Short Track have launched a Skills School Programme designed to nurture up and coming speed skaters from clubs across the country.
Young Speed Skaters will be able to benefit from the programme, which enhances the talent pathway from grassroots right through to the World Class Programme.
Skills School has been put into place with the support of the International Skating Union (ISU), aimed at active club skaters aged 11 - 16 years who have been members of a speed skating club for at least six months.
With current World Champion Elise Christie achieving double world records this season and the GB Female Relay Team also reaching new heights to break a British record, Britain has truly become one to watch ahead of the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang.
With the Games now just around the corner, NISA and GB Short Track are implementing the Skills School programme to help inspire and support the next generation of Short Track Speed Skaters in the UK.
Skills School fundamentally compromises of one-day camps based in Nottingham at the National Ice Centre, where athletes can take part in both on-ice and off-ice sessions designed to develop technical and mental skills in the sport.
Skaters are able to apply to attend one or more of the Skills School camps, with the full programme running over the next 12 months to include seven one-day camps and one three-day camp.
Skaters will be able to make the most of the expertise of Olympian and former GB Short Track skater Richard Shoebridge, who will lead the camps alongside level 2 or above club coaches.
There will also be opportunities for level 1 coaches to volunteer their time to learn and progress their own skills further.
But the primary focus of Skills School is the development of club athletes. The programme has been formatted to build on the skills nurtured at club level and help get them prepared for future programmes such as the GB Short Track Academy and ultimately the World Class Programme.
The NISA programme will hopefully better support and prepare young speed skating talents from across the UK for their journeys to elite level, with many hoping to eventually represent GB on the world stage.
National Ice Skating Association CEO Jackie Sheldon said: “We are extremely pleased to access ISU funding to support the development of both Figure and Speed Skating in the UK.
“The Skills School is an exciting programme that will help to establish a pathway to engage, develop and inspire young people in Short Track Speed Skating.
“Partnering with GB Short Track provides an ideal delivery vehicle, enabling young people to access to the most talented athletes in the sport.
“The programme will underpin the GB Academy and increase the profile of the sport - this will hopefully lead to increased participation at club level too.”
Skills School was officially announced by GB Short Track Speed Skating at Aldwych Speed Skating Club on 23rd September by Olympian Richard Shoebridge, now coach for the GB Short Track Academy and manager of the Skills School programme.
Richard said: “We are really excited to have the final link in place for our Short Track Pathway, through working with NISA and the ISU. The addition of the Academy last year has been a huge success and we hope moving forward, that the Skills School will be just as successful.
“The Skills School will focus primarily on basic skating skills and making the athletes confident on the ice. I want them to be able to do anything they want in their Short Track skates and not just be stuck skating in oval shapes turning left. As a nation, need to be more dynamic in the sport of Short Track and hopefully Skills School will help to enhance the younger population in our sport.
“The addition of Skills School will hopefully unlock the potential in our younger athletes and therefore strengthen our Short Track pathway. All of us at GB Short Track are excited to see what the future holds for our younger athletes!”
The first camp will take place on 22nd October 2017 and will focus on Balance, Speed and Agility. The second camp will take place on 9th December and cover Technical Basics - Edges and Weight Transfer.
Registration for the first camp is now open until 15th of October 2017. For further information on Skills School and the GB Short Track Academy, and how to apply, visit the GB Short Track website: www.gbshorttrack.org.uk
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