‘PASSION. DISCIPLINE. DEDICATION’: IBU hosts first Virtual Coach Webinar Week
More than 320 participants registered for the IBU’s first ever Virtual Coach Webinar this week, which was conducted to provide coaches from all National Federations with key education and knowledge in the principles of training young athletes at the national level.
The training was held over four days and drew an international team of biathlon experts from elite sport, education and psychology. The experts delivered a series of lectures with each day focusing on a different topic: Talent identification and development in biathlon; Skiing technique; Shooting; and Psychology in biathlon. The opening session was delivered by legendary biathlon coach Wolfgang Pichler who drew from his extensive experience to discuss the role of a head coach and how to develop junior athletes into Olympic medalists. Summarising the key ingredients needed to make top level coaches, Pichler said ‘Passion. Discipline. Dedication.’
Among the other specialist lecturers was associate professor in sport science at Mid-Sweden University, and former head coach of the Swedish and Finnish Biathlon Teams, Marko Laaksonen. Speaking on training planning for young biathletes, Laaksonen said:
“Coaches play a critical role in nurturing and developing young biathletes and supporting the growth of the sport. It is therefore very important that they are provided with a science-based education of individual biological maturity and a young biathlete’s capacity so that they can develop tailored training for them. Coaching webinars like these are very valuable in ensuring that biathlon coaches are equipped with the skills needed to responsibly develop young people and contribute to strengthening their position as future elite biathletes.”
The training comes as part of the IBU’s strategic plan, Target 26, to empower federations by providing them, as well as athletes and coaches, with practical support. In the future, such training seminars will fall under the management of the yet-to-be established IBU Academy. The IBU Academy education system will be based on courses and seminars. The courses will end with certification while the seminars will broaden participant's knowledge. For this Virtual Coach Webinar series, after the lectures participants will complete nine discreet but interconnected workshops that will inspire them to plan, implement and evaluate their own programmes, and receive a certificate confirming their participation.
Former World Cup biathlete Simon Fourcade was one of the many coaches to take part in the webinar series. Speaking following its conclusion, Fourcade said:
“The IBU Virtual Coach Webinar week has been incredibly helpful in broadening my knowledge and skills and providing me with the tools I need to develop as a coach. As a former Junior World Champion, I know what an important role coaches play in developing young biathletes. When you are working with young athletes the physical side is of course very important and you need to be able to improve their technique, but you also need to understand the importance of their physiology and psychology and develop training that takes this into account. The virtual webinars were very informative in providing us with education across all these key areas.”
Photo: Christian Haukeli/skiskytterlandslaget