Frank Dick interviews Stefano Mei

Frank Dick interviews Stefano Mei

Two weeks ago we invited all the three candidates for the Italian National Athletics Federation’s President, asking if they would be available for a video interview. 

One of them courteously declined. Another, gave his availability for a written interview, so we sent a set of questions to his Secretary but are yet to hear back. Only one embraced our proposal for a video interview: this is Stefano Mei.

Stefano Mei is the star of the incredible One-Two-Three created by the Italian’s for endurance at the 1986 European Championships in Stuttgart, where he won the title beating the reigning World and Olympic champion Alberto Cova.

Next Sunday, Stefano will run for another achievement: the Presidency of the Italian Athletics National Federation (FIDAL). In the video below, our President Frank Dick OBE asked Stefano some questions about his project relating to coaching and coaches in Italy as well as if he thinks he will become the new president. If needed, activate the subtitles and choose your preferred language.

When we receive them, we will publish the answers to our President’s questions by the other candidate.

Over 150 presentations since IFAC 2006

It’s a small step but a significant one!

Starting from today, over 150 presentations by almost 100 speakers collected during the International Festival of Athletics Coaching editions between 2006 and 2019 are downloadable for the EACA members, according to their membership level.

Want to know some of the speakers’ names? Would Clyde Hart, John Smith, Sharon Hannan, Damien Innocencio be enough to pique your curiosity?

If you are not an EACA member yet, register for Free or choose the membership level you prefer and access to the brand new IFAC Presentations Library!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

As the holiday season is upon us we find ourselves reflecting on the challenging past year, with the world fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s been a difficult year for us all so we hope that the new year will be memorable for you and your loved ones.

On the behalf of all the European Athletics Coaches Association team members, I’d like to thank all of the coaches who joined the EACA, well knowing that we can offer to them much more than what we are offering now. And, believe me, we will.

For now, let me wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Sincerly,

Frank Dick OBE

Second stage of the conferences’ cycle is the North America, Central America and Caribbean Track&Field Coaches Association’s annual congress.

From December 18th to December 20th amazing coaches and experts will speak at the conference, hosted by Richie Mercado. Each session will see two individual speeches followed by a final roundtable with all the speakers of the session exchanging their experience.

Our president Frank Dick OBE and Wolfgang Ritzdorf will double the IFAC presenting at the NACACTFCA conference too. In addition to them, it will be possible to hear from great names: Rose Monday will talk about women in athletics, Kevin Reid and Jimson Lee from Speedendurance.com will show the state-of-the-art about sport science and technology, Roberta Anding will show the most recent studies on high performance nutrition and Les Gramantik will deal on how to develop competent future coaches.

But this is only a piece of the cake: more big names will be announced in the following days so stay tuned on our website. 

The European Athletics Coaches Association negotiated a special price with NACACTFCA’s president, prof. Victor Lopez: for EACA members the subscription price will be € 35,00 instead of $ 50,00.

Don’t lose time: subscribe now to the NACACTFCA 2020 conference!

Dan O’Brien will speak at NACACTFCA 2020 Conference

Combined events seems to be the reigning event during the next NACACTFCA conference.

After announcing coach Harry Marra a week ago, now we are here again to say that Dan O’Brien has been announced as a new entry in the congress’ line-up.

Dan is the former Decathlon WR holder, Olympic champion and three times World Champion and he will talk about the resources and opportunities for athletes to support their growth.

If you’re still thinking if to subscribe or not, please, read the updated program: we are sure that you’ll run to the subscribe form!

‘Take home’ after IFAC 2020

It is a fact of life that even when we listen to the same presentation in the same conference, we each hear something different. So there will have been as many lessons learned from IFAC 2020 as there were participants!

So please read these lessons I learned in that context. Those who attended hopefully on reading these will be reminded of the excellent input from speakers and their own lessons learned will be reviewed and refreshed. Those who did not might reflect on the following and create their own.

As we move forward with IFAC and EACA, I think it would be a good idea after each IFAC to share our lessons learned and ideas they generate on dedicated pages of the EACA website. This would become our “learning locker room!”

So these for me were key take-aways as lessons learned.

  1. A winning culture is founded on a learning culture. Learning is a never ending story and we must bring structure to it if we are to be consistent winners:
    • Build a robust foundation of basics and keep refreshing them
    • Be meticulous in preparation and briefing
    • Learn on the move from life experience
    • De-brief forensically – hot and cold de-briefs
    • Revisit and relearn from cumulative experience
  2. Coaches must adopt a new way of thinking in learning how to adapt to a hybrid approach of teaching and learning. What can be taught sits well with virtual communication. This embraces the science of coaching and the technical skills that are the tools of our trade. What can be learned sits best with practical experience. This embraces the art of coaching and the people skills in our work.
  3. Female and male coaches bring unique skill sets to coaching and it is clear we must be more committed to and engaged with understanding how to harmonize those skills not only to achieve athlete and coach development and performance excellence, but to bring coaching itself to a new level.
  4. The dreadful days we have been going through in the face of the COVID19 Pandemic has tested out ability to be creative, adaptable and versatile in applying our skills in a climate of restriction and uncertainty. But we have risen well to the challenge, even to learning on the move how to address mental and emotional health issues. Critically, such issues will not disappear when the Pandemic ends. Going forward we must sharpen our observation skills to be ahead of the game in recognising stress signatures to coach both athletes and coaches in being better prepared to protect against such issues.
  5. Related to this was an effective policy applied in the Netherlands of coaches holding training at a level of 6 week readiness to compete.
  6. Traditionally Coach Education Programmes do not teach coaches how to learn and as a consequence coaches do not normally teach athletes how to learn. Greater input to coach education programmes from Cognitive Psychology is essential to correcting this.
  7. As technology has greater and greater impact as a means of informing coaches decision making, Artificial Intelligence will become a valuable contributor in synthesising the tsunami of data now available. It is not more data that we need but digestible and usable information.
  8. Coaches have responsed to World Athletics President, Lord Coe’s “vision and interest that a body be formed from amongst the coaching community dedicated to Athletics Coaching related matters and to facilitate bringing necessary change.” That response is the creation of the Global Athletics Coaching Academy (GACA) embracing Education, Regulation, Support and Representation. Area and National Athletics Coaches Associations are part of GACA’s strategy in building a World Athletics Coaches Community. This is an important moment in Athletics History for coaches to be responsible and accountable for the future of Athletics Coaches and Coaching.

These were the bigger general take away lessons. There were many more at the specific level and I’m sure you’ll pick up on these by listening to the excellent presentations and panel discussions.

Sincerly,

Frank Dick OBE

IFAC 2020: last days to sign up

Less than one week before the first session of the 2020 International Festival of Athletics Coaching means that anyone interested to attend has to hurry up and book to gain access to the live stream page.

Don’t miss the opportunity to listen from great coaches like Ans Botha, Helena Duplantis, Malcolm Arnold and Vern Gambetta but also from experts coming from different areas like brain specialist prof. Vin Walsh and Jonathan Boase, who is working on an Artificial Intelligence solution to analyze team sports’ playing and support coaches in talent identification.

Register today for only €99,00 and live the magic of the Festival!

Ans Botha: what a line-up at IFAC!

Did you not sleep the last 5 nights waiting for the coach who will speak in the same session of Helena Duplantis? Well, it was worth it: Ans Botha, the coach of 400 World Record holder  Wayde van Niekerk is that name. 

Ans will talk about how to “hold athlete competition readiness throughout Covid-19”, sharing her experience in managing Wayde’s positivity at the virus right before his first race of the season and still getting a huge result after a few weeks he returned healthy.

Ans’ slot is scheduled at 2:05PM GMT in the Session 2 of the conference, next Novembre 7th. She will also speak in the panel at the end of the session together with Helena Duplantis and Maria Chiara Milardi, the italian coach of Davide Re, one of the best European quarter milers in 2020.

This will probably be the last time Ans Botha will speak in public to share her great experience with other coaches so don’t miss the opportunity and sign up to IFAC 2020!

Charles van Commenee at IFAC!

Another big shot for the 2020 International Festival of Athletics Coaching: Charles van Commenée enters in the conference’s line-up!

Charles is one of the world”s leading experts in managing performance, initially as personal coach to a number of elite athletes who won medals at Olympic Games and World Championships, then as Technical Director for Dutch and British Athletics and finally as Performance Director for the Dutch Olympic Committee and later for British Athletics.

He will talk about how to “Lead the team through Covid-19” in the third session of the conference, scheduled November 7th at 6:55PM GMT. 

If this announcement helps your last doubts to fade away, subscribe to the 2020  International Festival of Athletics Coaching for only €99,00

Ladies & Gentlemen…. Dawn Scott will talk at IFAC 2020!

England Women have been boosted by the appointment of Dawn Scott as senior women’s physical performance manager.

Scott, who hails from the north-east, has been working with US Soccer since 2010 and played a key part in USA’s FIFA World Cup wins in 2015 and 2019.

She previously spent nine years with The FA as head of sports science and supported England’s run to the 2009 UEFA EURO final.

Her role will be to support the Lionesses as they work towards UEFA Women’s EURO 2021, which will be played on home soil.

That preparation will start with the SheBelieves Cup to be played in the US from February, with Scott starting work at St. George’s Park in December.

Scott will also be charged with building the interaction between the senior team and Barclays FA WSL clubs in terms of physical performance as well as working closely with staff along the whole talent pathway.

She will benefit from working alongside the outstanding physical performance and nutrition team already working at St. George’s Park.

If you want to hear from such a successful woman in football subscribe to the 2020 International Festival of Athletics  Coaching for only €99,00!