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Foreign experts impressed with SASCOC initiative

By Gareth Duncan in Boksburg

International sport development experts Matthew Robinson and Frank Dick believe SASCOC’s coaching framework conference has the ability to revolutionise South African sport.

Both Robinson and Dick consulted and presented at the second annual coaching conference in Boksburg this weekend. They were considered as two of the most influential speakers during the three-day function.

Robinson, who is based at the University of Delaware in the USA, made his first appearance at the conference this year. He admits that he still has more to learn about the South African sporting system and its social factors, but his knowledge of the American development structures and his study of the comparisons between the two countries have created fresh focus points.

‘It’s been an honour to be invited and to pass on my knowledge to South Africa’s coaches. I’m also learning a lot myself,’ Robinson told RoadtoRio.co.za. ‘It’s clear that South Africa has a strong passion for sport, and this coaching conference will provide great opportunities. It’s vital to learn and to create the path to achieve long-term success.

‘In some sports, you are already achieving immediate success and have some of the best athletes in the world. But other sports still need to be developed. The great thing about this function is that its main focus is on improving coaching at all levels. Studies prove that behind every successful athlete, there is a good coach.’

Robinson added that youth coaches in South Africa need be incorporated better.

‘Around the world, this is the common issue. You need to train coaches who work with athletes during their developmental stages. They are the ones who have to teach the athletes the right way of doing things, otherwise you’ll have flawed athletes coming through the ranks.

‘You need to respect and work with youth coaches and acknowledge their contribution.’

Dick has played a major role in the establishment of SASCOC’s coaching framework, and this was his second appearance at this year’s function. He is one of the most successful motivational speakers in the world and boasts over 30 years of coaching experience. He received an OBE in 1989 for his services to sport.

He stressed the importance of using the coaching conference to improve South Africa’s sports structures.

‘What South Africa has in the coaching conference is amazing,’ Dick also told this site. ‘It’s a great platform for all coaches to learn from one another and from the experience of more senior figures.

‘However, if the coaches don’t do anything about what they’ve learnt here, then it will all be for nothing. The coaches can decide to progress individually or together. And it’s a no-brainer to know which route would be the most successful.

‘If all the goals can be achieved from these coaching conferences, South Africa will be very successful at future Olympic and Paralympic Games.’