Coaching in the UK

Cowan: Important to Listen and Learn

Mon, 28 Jul 2014

Lead Sprints Coach for British Athletics Lloyd Cowan has spoken about the importance of listening to and learning from other coaches. Christine Ohuruogo’s coach said that he uses top coaches such as sprint coaches Glen Mills from Jamaica and John Smith from the USA as sounding boards and for advice.

Cowan said:  ‘Sometimes they can advise you on something you can’t see.

‘If you ask questions from the best, you can learn from them’.

Cowan added that sometimes these coaches come to him and it’s important to have that ‘circle of coaches’.

He also talked about an important lesson he’d learnt from his coaches from his time as an elite athlete. Cowan said a key thing he’d taken was ‘Never to close the door on your athlete’. He gave the example of sprint hurdler Sarah Claxton who moved away from Cowan before coming back three years later. She then reached her first final in a major competition when she finished eighth in the 100m hurdles at the Beijing Olympics.

Asked what he enjoys about coaching Cowan talked about unlocking an athlete’s potential. He said it was about ‘selling the dream’ and getting athletes to believe in your philosophy, and ensuring those with ability realise they could be great. He added that he also likes the buzz of being at a major championship, having an athlete on a world stage competing against other athletes, and the camaraderie with other coaches.

When questioned about what advice he would give to an aspiring coach Cowan said that it’s important to keep learning as a coach.

He added: ‘You mustn’t be frightened to change things, to take a chance.

‘If it fails it is not a problem, you learn from it, you win and fail together, as a team’

Cowan was speaking was speaking about the importance of coaching as part of the Gillette Great Start Programme. The programme, run in partnership with sports coach UK, celebrates the role of coaching and supports coaches by offering grants to both aspiring and amateur coaches who wish to further their qualifications. To apply for a grant,

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