Opportunity, Develop, Development and skill acquisition
These words described what the 3 day trip to PNG to further develop the Coaches of PNG, so that they had the vital tools to go back to their respective provinces to further developed the sport of Triathlon in PNG.
As I have been to PNG on a few occasions as my role as Coach of Rachel James on her quest to become more competitive at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, which included the Pacific Games, PNG National Champs, New Ireland Triathlon Academy (NITA) Junior training Camp and the PNG National Sports Awards, I have met a few of the Coaches, Athletes and Technical Officials that were present at the Club Community Triathlon Course.
To give you some background into how the course presented itself. Late last year, Rachel James (Pacific Islands Triathlon Champion / PNG National Champion) was selected by the PNG Olympic Committee to attend a leadership camp for potential athletes earmarked for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. During this leadership camp all athletes had to identify and implement a key area to their respective sports that would help to improve or develop that area.
Rachel came back to the Sunshine Coast and discussed with me that she wanted to implement a triathlon coaching course for the local PNG coaches to enhance the technical and practical side of coaching. The last coaching course that was run in PNG was in 2010. Rachel discussed with Triathlon Queensland about facilitating a Club Community Coaching Course. Triathlon Queensland were keen to move forward on this, to further develop and assistance with the Coaching PNG side.
As I am engaged by Triathlon Queensland to facilitate the Club Community and also the Development Coaching Course in Queensland, and as I have been to PNG and worked with PNG Athletes before, it was set up and locked the date in for the course to be presented on 27th-29th January.
So to further enhance the development of the Coaches in PNG, Rachel also organised the OSEP Training Course to run in conjunction with the Club Community Course, which ran from the 25th-27th January.
Now setting this course up wasn't an easy feat and there were a few dramas along the way especially with trying to find a new venue 1 week out from the course starting, as the pervious venue was closed down for a period of time. A massive thanks to the Aviat Club in Port Moresby for coming to the rescue. (Background on the Aviat Club a massive supporter of sport and especially triathlon in PNG. Established in 1948). With a swimming pool and tennis courts on site and a conference room all our needs were taken care of. As you can see from the photos it is a very nice place indeed.
To give you an idea, I would normally present this course in 5-6 hours here in Queensland. After a few discussions with Rachel and Daniel from Tri Qld, we decided to run it over 2 days and on the 3rd day run a few of the local athletes thru a coaching session so the coaches present see how I conduct a Coaching Session and learn from things that I pick up in a coaching environment.
With 16 Coaches being put thru the course, also taking into consideration the following points - 1 - 2.5 days in an OSEP Course leading into the Club Community Course - 2 - Varying levels of education between the participants - 3 - Varying levels of Coaching Ability - 4 - PNG Politics - 5 - Travel and time constraints (most don't have cars and rely on public transport) - 6 - PNG Time - if you say starting at 8am it could mean 8.30am - 7 - Need to be flexible and adaptable and changing course on spot to suit needs of participants - 8 - Needing to be more practical with visualisation opposed to just reading off slide show or would of lost the concentration of the participants. - 9 - Concentration span
So a lot of thought needed to go into how the delivery of the course was to be done. A few Chats with Rachel and Daniel (TQ) and we had a plan of attack.
This is my 25th year in the sport of Triathlon, the last 15 years as a Coach. The thing I see and what I loved about doing the course up in PNG was seeing the enthusiasm of the Coaches that were involved. They were eager to learn and were so appreciative of what you did for them. They knew I gave up valuable coaching time away from my coaching environment, but the plus side was they learnt so much in a short period of time that will further enhance and develop the Coaching skills and acquisition in the future. Its giving back to the grass roots of sport in a developing country.
There is an enormous amount of talent in PNG and if we can start a process of one day seeing a PNG athlete at the Olympic Games then we have done our part in this development. All countries started somewhere and at some time. PNG's time is now and it is happening. It will take time, patience but the process will pick up momentum from here and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Triathlon in PNG
Honoured to be a part of the process and look forward to seeing the development when I go back up there for their National Championships later in the Year.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank the following people.
Rachel James - A massive thanks for the time and work you put in for this course and implementation of a standardised Coaching standard across the provinces. I know there was a lot of dramas but you got there in the end and you should be very proud of what you achieved in such a short period of time getting a dream to fruition. Even though you sacrificed a lot to get this up and going the reward will be shown in the years to come.
Chris Hagan and AON - For supplying and sponsoring the Coaching shirts for the Participants of the Course. They looked great in the Team shot and PNG has a standardised Coaching Shirt that is associated with the participants of the course and will be recognised anywhere that they wear that shirt.
Triathlon Queensland - A massive thanks to Daniel and the TQ team for the support and implementation of this course. It meant a lot to the PNG coaches and to have that support in the grass roots area of Coaching adds that vital experience to the development that we will see in the years to come.
Aviat Club - To Glen and the wonderful staff at the Avait Club. You made it a pleasure to come in each day to facilitate the course in a relaxed and friendly place. All our needs were met and couldn't have ask for a better venue. A massive thanks for stepping in at the last minute to support the course
Andrew Olsen - President PNG Tri Federation. A big thank you for the airport pickups and drop offs. For supporting us with accommodation and looking after me during my stay in PNG. Always look forward to the next trip
Last but not least, the 16 Coaches. Thanks for giving your time up to further develop your skills as coaches to further the development that you have started in your respective coaching bases in your provinces. There was a lot of brain explosions from the amount of information being absorbed but you could see the development over the couple of days. Enjoy the coaching journey. It is one that can be very rewarding.
As Paull Kelly says in his song "From little things, big things grow" This is just the start of the journey........