Friday, August 24, 2012

Peter Errikson: UKA Paralympic Head Coach

Peter Errikson is UK Athletics Paralympic Head Coach. An undoubtedly successful Paralympic coach, he has coached athletes to win an incredible 119 medals at Paralympic Games since 1984.
He shares with us his advice to athletes going in to the London Paralympic Games, the changes that have been implemented within the performance team, as well as his thoughts on the Disability Sport Wales Academy and Performance structure.

Some of Wales' selected athletes heading for London
For the younger and less experienced athletes going into London I would advise them to be prepared. We have a good system with young and new athletes and the youngsters have somebody to look up to.

Getting to a big Games, like London for the first time, is a big shock. You have to go in there and do your best but at the same time you have got to have fun. If it becomes a panic situation, then you’re not having fun and you’re not going to want to do it again. 

There has been major change in performance in the run up to London, the most significant change being the culture of elitist sport; there is no excuse for not being well prepared.

There is the same approach as the Olympics team; same coaching, and same expectations. It is an investment in medals and I have said from day one, we continue hammering away at it, the athletes that have been on the rewards programme disappearing even more so after 2012.

The changing of the culture and training with Olympic athletes and Olympic coaches to see what it takes. Isolate yourself from the reality and the big world of elite sport doesn’t help you at all.

If I could  assist a first time athlete in the run up to London,  I would tell them; you can only do your best and then it is the question of being prepared, how well did they prepare and that will be the outcome of how well you do.

As for the Disability Sport Wales Programme, it is evident that is it the programme that is the most functional, from the academy team to the national team and its coaching. If you look from the perspective of a programme, that is the programme.

Finally my three key pieces of advice to any athlete is, have fun, do your best and never give up.

Check out the Disability Sport Wales website and follow them on Twitter @dsw_news for all the latest disability sport news across Wales and at the London 2012 Paralympics.