Last weekend athletes and coaches from across the Talent Pathway were invited to Loughborough University to attend hammer and javelin masterclasses with coaches and husband and wife team, Nicola Vizzoni and Claudia Coslowich.
No stranger to competing at the highest level with a personal best of 80.50m, Nicola won a silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and followed this up a decade later with silver at the European Championships in 2010. Also an Olympian, Claudia has represented her country at two Olympic Games, is the national javelin record holder and the Italian National Javelin Coach.
Opportunities for elite and developmental athletes
As the developmental body for athletics in England, our focus is to nurture and support athletes through our talent pathway, providing coaching and competition opportunities.
Throughout the weekend there were three different sessions: two targeting elite level throwers and one focusing on development level athletes. The elite session welcomed 15 of the UK’s best throwers along with their personal coaches and the development masterclass supported 17 athletes from the Youth Talent Programme (YTP), YTP graduates, Loughborough students and athletes from Scotland and Wales.
Getting stuck in
Each of the masterclass days didn’t only include presentations and the sharing of the coaches' personal experience, but they also included practical sessions.
From gymnastics to technical top tips, strength and power to throwing skills, the athletes benefitted from some of Europe’s best as one participant explained:
“The chance to throw and have direct, immediate analysis following the throws and a personal debrief with the coaches gave me a chance to implement the changes between my throws. With the small groups, there was plenty of time for throwing opportunities which was great.”
But it wasn’t just the athletes who gained from the day, as one personal coach added:
“It is a great opportunity for coaches to not only look at their own athlete but to learn and hear the perspective of other coaches and pick out strengths and weaknesses of other athletes.”
“Everyone had a willingness to learn and mixing with similar minded people created a great learning environment.”
Taking learnings forward to support the Talent Pathway
In order to make the masterclasses productive and keep attendees active, the sessions were by invitation only, but that doesn’t mean that the knowledge gained from those athletes, personal coaches and talent pathway coaches cannot then be shared back with clubs and training groups - Acting Talent Event Lead for Javelin, Tom Dobbing explained:
“Claudia’s insight was invaluable. She shared a coaching philosophy that the talent pathway coaches are working hard to implement with their own athletes. Claudia was extremely complimentary on what she witnessed and certainly approved on the way that our talent pathway coaches collaborate with each other. "
"Opportunities such as this are a great way to bring the community together to share ideas and concepts and importantly for our current crop of talented javelin throwers to train together.”
Event organiser and Event Group Lead for Throws, Nick Ridgeon added:
“It was great to host Nicola, Claudia, and the Hammer Circle at Loughborough University. They were all so passionate about throwing and hopefully provided wonderful insight and inspiration for the athletes and coaches present. Loughborough provided a world class facility for the masterclass with outstanding indoor and outdoor throwing facilities."
"It was the first time we delivered a masterclass in partnership with the Hammer Circle and I would like to thank them for providing so much support in the build-up and delivering on the day. We tried to organise the weekend to achieve the strategic aims of supporting the development of athletes and coaches on the talent pathway through the implementation of the athlete development framework. The framework is underpinned by focusing on getting athletes to be skilful, powerful and able to perform in a championship.”