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UK Coaching Team
Talent and Performance Developing Mindsets Organising and Planning

Under the Microscope: The Role of the Coach on Competition Day

Set against the backdrop of his memorable experience at the World Para Athletics Championships, Dave Turner offers some advice to coaches on how to prepare yourselves and your athletes mentally for the big occasion. He tells Blake Richardson about the psychological techniques he employed to great effect in London to bring the best out of his gold medal-winning javelin thrower Hollie Arnold

At first glance, there does not appear to be any striking similarities between Dave Turner and pop megastar Lady Gaga.

Those who know Dave (as I do) will be able to corroborate that he does not share the same outlandish fashion sense, engage in quite the same shamelessly flamboyant antics around television cameras, or, and I’m hazarding a guess at this last one, reap nearly the same annual income as the eccentric songstress.

However, they do have one thing in common: they can both strike a mean poker face.

When it comes to coaching on the biggest of stages, Dave has mastered the art of assuming an expressionless countenance, making it impossible for his athletes to read his emotions.

This is an important coaching attribute and, as you will soon discover, served him well at the World Para Athletics Championships in London this summer, where he helped javelin thrower and Team GB captain Hollie Arnold win gold in the F46 category with a world record launch of 43.02metres.

It was another superb achievement by the reigning Paralympic and multiple World champion, and a proud moment for Dave too, who was appearing in his first major championships as a Great Britain coach.

With the gold dust having settled, I spoke to Dave to find out the finer details of his contribution on the day and to ask him how important it was that coaches conquer their own nerves as well as those of their athletes.

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UK Coaching Team