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UK Coaching Team
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Talent and Performance

Preparing Athletes for the Demands of Modern Pentathlon

Caroline Roberts went to meet the Great Britain Performance Director Jan Bartu, who is renowned for his uncompromising approach to coaching a merciless sport. Jan relates his coaching philosophy and emphasises the importance of the team behind the champion

Great Britain has a proud history in modern pentathlon. We’re the only country to have featured in every Olympic Games since the sport became part of them in 1912, and a GB woman has made it to the podium in every Games since the women’s event was introduced in 2000.

Given that it requires expertise in disciplines as diverse as running, fencing, horse-riding, shooting and swimming, as well as supreme overall fitness, producing top performers consistently is no mean feat. What are the secrets of Britain’s success?

Jan Bartu’s attention to detail and ‘tough love’

Jan Bartu has been at the helm of GB Pentathlon since 1998 and is one of the longest-serving performance directors in British sport. During his tenure, he has brought meticulous attention to detail to the training programme, and a nurturing, yet strict approach to the young athletes in his care.

Jan, who won pentathlon silver and bronze at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games, emphasises the ‘tough love’ element of his coaching philosophy.

When we work with an athlete for years, we become close and develop a good, positive working relationship based on trust."

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UK Coaching Team