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UK Coaching Team
Talent and Performance Improving Physical Ability

Use Knowledge from Other Sports to Improve Fitness

Sharing ideas between sports isn’t a new phenomenon. But the skills transfer may be increasing as coaches and administrators think outside the box to help their athletes. Mike Dale discovers how knowledge from other sports can be used to improve fitness in rugby and rowing

Modern sport sees a constant strive for innovation to achieve a competitive edge. For many coaches, that comes about through the exchange of ideas and information between different sports. Just how effective is this?

There’s a growing appreciation that a coach’s expertise is often transferable between sports, and that one sport’s training techniques, drills and philosophies can often shed new light on another’s. It’s evident not just on training pitches but in the corridors of power, with many governing bodies of sport often jostling for the same high-ranking coaches.

“Learning from other sports is really, really important,” explains Alan Olive, the former high performance manager at UK Sport.

Alan now runs his own coaching consultancy, and has mentored elite coaches and Olympic medal-winning athletes across many different sports including hockey, canoeing, sailing and skeleton. He has often facilitated the cross-over of ideas between them.

Why is this important?

“Every sport has a blind spot,” Alan explains. “People get used to working in a certain way. Every sport is guilty of it.”

Collaborating offers an alternative perspective. It gives coaches a bit of a nudge and a ‘helicopter view’ of what they’re doing. Every sport has different strengths and it allows you to tap into some of those strengths that you hadn’t considered. The impact on the athletes can be huge.”

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