International sporting community unites in isolation

Posted on July 7, 2020 by

The NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) is at the heart of a new initiative bringing together sporting expertise from around the world.

Created in the midst of isolation and following the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, strength and conditioning coaches from some of the world’s top sporting nations have banded together to share ideas, expertise and knowledge in a display of international comradery.

With delegates now spanning across Australia, the United Kingdom, United States, Netherlands, and India, the ‘International Performance Group’ (IPG) has continued to expand from the original idea extended to colleagues from NSWIS Head of Strength and Conditioning, Phil Moreland.

“I wanted to let the NSWIS staff share their knowledge and experiences, as well as listen and be exposed to some high quality people from across the world,” said Moreland.

“It’s an opportunity for them to interact and broaden their networks.”

Darren Ritchie, a Coaching Event Group Lead with England Athletics, presented the group’s first presentation and had no doubts about the benefits the group provided.

“Having international access to world class coaches in their own domain is always going to be a good thing,” he stated.

“The group that Phil set up allows us to create… that professional environment. It’s about developing excellence in your coaching.”

Topics the project has covered includes velocity-based training, coaching behaviours during taper for major competitions, athlete monitoring systems, and coaching where English is a second language.

The group has garnered support from the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), with the Institute’s Performance Services Manager, Julian Jones, a key figure within the online community.

“The more perspective you can get, the better, and I think that’s what the international community does,” said Jones.

Such perspectives have expanded beyond the realms of Olympic and Paralympic sports, with team sport coaches also involved.

Rebecca Kelly, Physical Performance Coach for Queensland Cricket recognised the wide-scale impact the group was having.

“[It’s an] opportunity to open up some of the ongoing learning conversations and the breadth of knowledge that can be applicable… to Olympic sports that are peaking at one moment in time versus team sports that need to be ready week in, week out,” said Kelly.

“The ability for all of us to share our experiences, our knowledge, and our insight is something that’s really powerful and often we don’t get the opportunity in the industry.”

Despite the period of isolation, NSWIS experts and coaches have continued to find innovative ways to keep athletes motivated, fit, and healthy, while undertaking development opportunities such as that of the International Performance Group.

As the industry gradually implements a ‘return to sport’, Moreland is hopeful that the initiative will provide a framework for ongoing collaboration even after training and competitions resume.

“I’m hopeful that the network we create stays together and allows us to continue to learn and to grow.

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