On Thursday 7th March, Leicester Tigers Welford Road Stadium played host to more than 40 delegates to the SMART Way Forward CPD Business & Coaching Conference.
Attendees included managing directors, directors of sport, finance managers, line managers, development officers, sports coaches, coach development managers, international athletes, Olympians, consultants and representatives from a variety of sports National Governing Bodies (NGBs), County Sports Partnerships (CSPs), universities and sports clubs.
The organisations represented included British Cycling, British Athletics, England Athletics, England Squash & Racketball, England Handball, The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), The Rugby Football Union (RFU), Saracens RFU, Leicester Tigers RFU, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Nuneaton and Bedworth Leisure Trust, Team Beds and Luton CSP, Nottinghamshire Sport CSP, Bentley Holland & Partners, Sports-Vision, BCR Associates, Essentii, Performance Vision, Mizuno Corporation UK, The David Anscomb Consultancy, Middlesex University, Sheffield Hallam University, Watford FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC, University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, Buckinghamshire New University… to name but a few.
Nadeem Shaikh, Managing Director of SMART Way Forward, opened the conference by highlighting the similarities between successful sports people and businesses, before demonstrating why it is so important to be consistent, persistent and professional in your approach, on and off the sports pitch.
Rachael Betts, Events and Conferences Manager at Leicester Tigers, then gave a brief insight into the facilities available for sport and business at Welford Road Stadium. One of the most iconic established rugby stadiums in the UK, Welford Road is the home of Leicester Tigers.
This was followed by an inspiring keynote presentation from British Cycling’s double Olympic medallist Bryan Steel, who explained how British Cycling went from being average to becoming world class within a decade. The lessons you learn in sport are often transferable into business, so Bryan explained the model adopted by the British Cycling coaching team which finally put them leagues ahead of their competitors.
Bryan also shared his thoughts and experiences on how he successfully competed at four Olympic Games and finally won medals at Sydney 2000 (Bronze) and Athens 2004 (Silver). Bryan was truly inspirational.
Mid-morning, delegates were given the choice of two workshops to attend, following either the business stream or coaching stream.
Nadeem Shaikh, delivered the business seminar, explaining the importance of building strong customer relationships – focusing specifically on communication comparisons against telephone vs. email vs. face to face. There was a lot of energy and interaction within the session, which proved to be very popular with commercial businesses.
At the same time, Alasdair Donaldson, British Athletics Endurance Coach at the High Performance Athletics Centre (HiPac) Loughborough University, ran an inspirational workshop for sports coaches and athletes on how to develop mental toughness during training and competition. A very popular session, Alasdair had the delegates completely mesmerised, demonstrating mental preparation methods used by established athletes such as marathon World Record holder Paula Radcliffe and Double London 2012 Olympic Gold medallist Mo Farah.
Just after mid-day, delegates were given the choice of attending a business workshop delivered byNLP body language expert Annie Page from Essentii or listening to eyesight specialists Gavin Rebello from Sports-Vision and Dr Zoe Wimshurst from Performance Vision deliver a practical coaching workshop highlighting the importance of looking after your eyes for maximum vision benefits during sport.
Both workshops proved very popular. Annie inspired delegates with how to manage and exceed customers’ expectations by recognising behaviours, a topic everyone was very keen to learn more about in order to be more effective in their roles. Annie’s energetic, enthusiastic presentation had exactly the right balance of theory and practical based information, leaving delegates very keen to try the hints and tips given to them.
The workshop delivered by Gavin Rebello and Dr Zoe Wimshurst was entitled ‘An insight into your eyesight (keeping your eyes on the ball)’. Delegates were shown why it is so vital to have clear, precise peripheral vision during sport, and how it can make the difference between winning and losing.
Gavin and Zoe shared their knowledge and experience by highlighting practical ways in which sports people could enhance their performance by simply strengthening their eye muscles. Being aware of what, where and how to view moving objects during training and competition, can make an incredible difference to performance, especially when competing at the highest level. Both Gavin and Zoe have worked with elite athletes and teams from a variety of sports.
After lunch, delegates were treated to a 30 minute tour of Welford Road Stadium by Leicester Tigers guide and expert Eric. Eric shared some incredible facts, figures and trivia with the delegates, before showing them the newly build 10,000 capacity Caterpillar stand and the Leicester Tigers trophy cabinet.
One of the highlights of the tour was being able to see the first team changing rooms. It was not what anybody had expected! The changing rooms are perfectly placed and designed to ensure every player entering this area runs onto the pitch for Leicester Tigers completely inspired, focused and ready to perform at their best.
Following the stadium tour, Kim Harris from cost reduction consultants BCR Associates gave tips and practical advice on how organisations can save themselves thousands of pounds by simply reviewing their overheads and operational costs in areas such as utilities, telecoms and staffing. This advice was very well received by the delegates, especially those managing any form of finance, budgets and facilities.
At the same time, Nadeem Shaikh delivered another energetic and inspiring workshop on how sports coaches can communicate more effectively. Sharing his knowledge and experience of being involved in the sport industry for over 26 years, Nadeem highlighted the importance of communication and how to get the best out of players and athletes when it really matters most. Having worked with a number of national, international and elite athletes, Nadeem was able to give practical advice on effective verbal, visual and written communication, along with how to develop proactive listening skills.
The following workshop session was delivered by Ian Wakefield from Sport Nottinghamshire. Ian delivered a fascinating workshop highlighting the effective use and impact of social media, demonstrating the importance of social media in society and sharing some excellent advice on how to raise your presence and generate interest. Delegates were given a great insight into how to generate and monitor response from sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and given practical tips on how to manage social media so it does not take over your life.
The final session of the day was delivered by Olympian Bryan Steel, sharing his knowledge on how installing a winning mentality can help you deliver championship performances. Bryan explained the methods and development structures implemented by British Cycling help maintain focus and confidence. Looking at everything from mental and physical preparation to environment, equipment, training hours, rest, diet, competition planning and general athlete attitude, has made British Cycling the world leaders. Small changes in training and preparation can often influence a bigger, better outcome. However, it is recognising those changes which need to be made which really make the difference.
“The delegates, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors who have attended at our SMART Way Forward CPD Business & Coaching Conference today have been amazing,” said Nadeem Shaikh.
“The speakers and workshop presentations have been inspirational and the networking between delegates has been excellent! I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bryan Steel, Annie Page, Ian Wakefield, Alasdair Donaldson, Gavin Rebello, Zoe Wimshurst and Kim Harris for their contribution today. In addition, I would also like to thank our sponsors; Leicester Tigers, Mizuno, Bentley Holland, British Athletics, BCR Associates, Essentii, Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Sport-Vision, Performance Vision, for the their continued support. Without inspirational speakers, great sponsors and the fantastic marketing and administration team from SMART Way Forward, we would not be able to make our conferences as successful as they are.”
Many of our speakers and delegates have been kind enough to send us testimonials following the conference, which you can read here.
If you are interested in attending a SMART Way Forward CPD Business & Coaching Conference in 2013, please click here to contact us and register your interest. As soon as details are available we will inform you straight away!
We look forward to welcoming you to our next event!