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UK Coaching Team
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Talent and Performance

When Athletes Move on to a Different Coach

There are lots of reasons why an athlete might move on, such as to move up a stage on a development pathway. Matt Majendie hears from coaches that have experienced this with their athletes, and considers one notable exception: Jessica Ennis-Hill

More often than not, an athlete will at some point decide to move on, perhaps for a change of scenery, other times to follow a particular sport’s development pathway, or, quite simply, because the coach has taken them as far as their skill set or time allows.

It’s rare these days for any sportsman or woman to go through their entire career with just one coach, Jessica Ennis-Hill’s career-long bond with Toni Minichiello being something of an exception.

Sometimes the coaching chain, as it is known, is more structured. This was the case for Ben Ainslie, the four-time Olympic sailing champion.

Ben’s career has been nurtured by five main coaches: Dr Phil Slater, who introduced him to racing; Cathy Foster, who guided him until he joined the Olympic programme; national youth coach Jim Saltonstall; Olympic laser coach John Derbyshire; and Finn specialist David ‘Sid’ Howlett.

Cathy has seen a litany of sailing stars come through her ranks, the most notable crop being that of Ainslie, fellow America’s Cup skipper Iain Percy and the pair’s good friend Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, who tragically lost his life in a training accident in San Francisco Bay in 2013.

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UK Coaching Team