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UK Coaching Team
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Talent and Performance Organising and Planning

Frank Dick: How Olympic Gold Medals are Made, Part 1 – Planning

In this exclusive UK Coaching series counting down to the start of the Tokyo Olympics, Frank Dick OBE draws on his vast experience as one of the country’s most pre-eminent sports coaches to offer a masterclass in how to maximise athletic potential and support athletes to achieve peak performance at the critical moment. In this first instalment, he tells Blake Richardson that great coaches don’t plan forwards, they plan backwards

What Frank Dick doesn’t know about masterminding individual success and international achievement can be written on the back of a particularly small postage stamp.

So, with the Olympics rapidly approaching, who better to turn to for advice on how to turn high-performing athletes into ‘super-elites’ than the man who helped guide Daley Thompson to two Olympic decathlon titles and who, as the British Athletics Federation’s Director of Coaching, played an instrumental role in the success-laden careers of other much-loved 80s icons like Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett.

He has gone on to work closely with sporting greats including Boris Becker, Justin Rose and Katarina Witt and, more recently, worked as a consultant alongside England coach Eddie Jones, lending his strategic planning expertise in the build-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, where England finished runners-up to South Africa.

As you would expect, Frank is often asked for his ‘golden nuggets’ of advice by coaches – “They come in all the time, from every direction”, he says.

Of course, there is no silver bullet for sporting success and neither, it would seem, are there any secrets just waiting to be told.

Shooting down my initial idea for a headline – ‘Unlocking the Secrets to a Golden Games’ – in his opening sentence, Frank says: “If there is a secret, it’s that there isn’t one”.

There is, however, a mountain of essential lessons coaches can learn from Frank’s own career experiences, beginning today with his tips on shrewd and methodical planning.

This is the base layer that sits on top of the foundations of athletic excellence: plain unadulterated hard work and a willingness to acknowledge and learn from failure. We will reveal other layers coaches must master through the course of the series if they are to create a recipe for success.

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UK Coaching Team