British Ice Skating was this week joined by three-time Olympian Alexander König in Sheffield as part of an ISU Visiting Coach Initiative. The 1988 European Pairs bronze medallist led two days of seminars and on-ice sessions for a group of seven UK-based coaches.
Alexander led activities on the ice such as basic skating, jumps and basic techniques on spins. A workshop on training planning ended the second afternoon before a final debrief.
Speaking after the two days he said: “It’s an honour for me to come across and sit in front of the coaches, tell them my philosophy and experiences.
“I’ve learned a lot from situations like this, I always listen to other coaches and mentor programs. I have learned a lot from them and now I’m also in a position to help younger coaches, for me it really makes me happy.”
The project was a pilot to designed to allow British Ice Skating to develop bespoke learning and development opportunities for developing coaches.
Jon Eley, Performance and Talent Manager at British Ice Skating said: “We were thrilled to welcome Alexander, his expertise is invaluable as we look to develop our future coaching opportunities. This pilot will play a huge part in kickstarting British Ice Skating’s people development strategy, ensuring that we establish long-term educational programmes to help coaches develop.
We have a wealth of excellent coaches that are part of British Ice Skating and opportunities like this are key to ensuring we can support their development”.
Coach John Wicker was one of the coaches who attended the initial camp. He said: “I’ve really loved it, really enjoyed it and am glad to be part of the first one. I’m looking forward to the next couple, to have someone like Alex here it’s great.
“It can give us so much, more motivation, more knowledge, meeting new people and working more as a team and sharing information.
“It’s massive for the sport, there are so many coaches that are maybe scared to work as a team because of trust reasons, but if you can find people you can really trust and work as a team then it’s a massive part of coaching that we need in this country, because it’s done everywhere else just not here so much.”
Fellow coach Tamara Cvijanovic added: “It’s really great to share this opportunity with like-minded people and like-minded coaches that are on the same page, so I’ve really enjoyed it.
“We all work in a closed rink, closed environment with the same people. It’s great that people who would maybe have never crossed paths and worked together can come into the same environment and we recognise in each other that same passion, the same ideas, coaching principles, same challenges as well, that’s very important.
“For the sake of the personal development, athlete development, our careers and obviously the future of British Skating this is a very important step for our skating in general.”
The International Skating Union (ISU) launched the Visiting ISU Coach Programme in 2018 to allow ISU Member countries to host expert coaches and provide ongoing support to establish effective skating programmes.