On May 16, 2024, the IBU hosted a very successful Coach Webinar focused on "The Female Biathlete." Out of 419 registered participants, 245 from 44 different National Federations actively joined the online event. Our participants were eager to learn and improve their coaching techniques for female biathletes. The high level of engagement showed the significant interest and commitment to this important topic.

The webinar featured several informative presentations and discussions led by well-known experts in the field. The key speakers included:

  • Kerry McGawley, PhD: Dr. McGawley is a professor of sports science at Mid Sweden University and an applied researcher at the Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre. She also serves as the senior manager of the female athlete team at Orreco. In her presentation, "Training the Female Athlete," Dr. McGawley shared her insights on understanding female-specific physiology and performance factors to optimize training and development. She is passionate about supporting and developing women in sports and collaborates closely with national and international sports federations. Additionally, she leads a Master's program in Sports Performance and Athlete Health.

  • Guro Strom Solli, PhD: Dr. Solli is an associate professor at Nord University in Norway, where she heads the research group on Performance Development in cross-country skiing and biathlon. In her presentation, "Long-Term Development of Female Biathletes," Dr. Solli highlighted essential strategies for nurturing talent and ensuring career sustainability. She also brings her experience as a former National Team athlete in cross-country skiing to her research and teaching.

  • Amelie Heinrich, PhD: Dr. Heinrich is a sports psychologist at the University of Konstanz. She works with both youth and elite athletes and is dedicated to achieving greater gender equality in elite sports. In her presentation, "Same, Same, but Different? Coaching Female vs. Male Athletes from a Psychological Perspective," Dr. Heinrich explored the psychological differences in coaching female versus male athletes. She discussed how understanding these differences can help tailor coaching methods to better support female biathletes.

The event concluded with an engaging panel discussion moderated by IBU Development Director Dagmara Gerasimuk. The panelists included:

  • Guro Strom Solli, PhD: Researcher at Nord University

  • Kaisa Mäkäräinen: Former elite biathlete and World Cup Total Score Winner

  • Sandra Flunger: Head Coach of Team Switzerland

The panelists addressed many important topics. They discussed how to ensure the long-term development of female biathletes by considering physiological differences, effective training methods, and career sustainability. They also talked about strategies to enhance female biathlon performance, especially in areas where there have been disparities between male and female athletes.

Additionally, the panel covered ways to prevent burnout and injuries among female biathletes by tailoring training programs to meet individual needs. They emphasized the importance of both male and female coaches in developing female athletes and explored how female coaches bring unique perspectives to the table.The discussion also highlighted the need for specific initiatives to promote gender equality and inclusivity in biathlon training and coaching. The panelists talked about encouraging more female participation in coaching roles and the benefits of diverse representation among coaching staff. They also discussed using advancements in sports science and technology to improve training methods for female biathletes and address any existing gaps in research or resources.

This successful event shows the IBU's commitment to advancing the knowledge and skills of biathlon coaches worldwide. The IBU aims to ensure that female biathletes receive the support and training they need to succeed and will continue to offer valuable educational opportunities to promote gender equality and inclusivity in biathlon.

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