It was almost exactly ten years ago I headed to the famed Lilleshall National training center in England not far from Telford. Based on the success of Runar Alexandersson Iceland got an invitation to attend the first level III Brevet course held. When invited to attend even on very short notice a jumped onto the oppurtunity. The experience was for a somewhat inexperienced coach was thrilling and even live changing. FIG under the guidance of Mr Hardy Fink had gathered some really experienced and famous coaches. The experts were great Leonid Archiev, Octavian Bellu, Bruno Francesettu, dr Salmella, Adrian Stan, Keith Russel, Peter Bruggermann, Brian McVey Vladimir SMOLEVSKI and Eduard Yarov.
The nice facilities well equipt gymnastics halls huge and the dorms housed in an old Victorian Palace.
The days were filled with interesting lectures but the evenings and meal times were maybe the most interesting part of the course. Most countries in attendance sent their most experienced coaches or coaches with some world class up and coming gymnasts. The conversations ranged from details of techniques of all kinds of elements to the ever ongoing thoughts on talent and talent identification. Me as clearly the newcomer in the group tried to listen in on all these people whom I felt were exploding with wisdom and insight into the great mysteries of world class gymnastics. Most had coached gymnasts to world, european or olympic teams or at least they had competed in on or all of these. I had just months before attended my first world Championships in Anaheim as a judge.
So many things I learned there I have used both in coaching my own gymnasts and also when lecturing in local coaches coarses. I had the luck of redoing the practical part in 2007 that time listening in more on the coaching of female athletes. There I had the great luck of listening to Valeri Liukin just a year before his daughters triumph in Bejing.
At the final Banquet my table mates included Ms Nelli Kim and Kim Zmeskal both of whom made me feel quite star struck
These days in mid England ten years ago taught me a ton of things not to mention all the people I got to know many of whom I still meet at major and other competitions. I urge all coaches young and old with much and little experience to attend the FIG academies to further their knowledge of the sport and to make some great contacts in the world of international gymnastics.
Time passes fast I cant believe its already been ten years so now I think it´s time to attend another academy since our sport never seems to stop evolving. Just hoping my good friend Mr Hardy Fink will make a level 4 I will be the first one to sign up