LEN Coaching Clinics to boost European talent activation

A series of new “visionary” LEN Coaching Clinics, which will be run both during major European junior and senior events as well as independently in 2023, have the potential to utilise vast “untapped resource” within the aquatics community.That is the view of Olympic gold medal-winning coach turned Swim Ireland National Performance Director Jon Rudd, who is the chair of the LEN Coaching and Education Commission. “We’ve heard a lot of talk, quite rightly in recent times about the athlete voice and how the athlete needs to have a clear method and approach in which they can be represented in the way that their sport is operated,” says Rudd. “Perhaps what’s been missing up until recently under this new LEN, is the coach’s voice. “The experience and education that the coaching body in Europe carry between them is extensive, and together we can help bring European swimming to the fore globally.” Throughout 2023 experts in the fields such as science, medicine, junior-senior transitional training, bio-mechanics and several other fields will be recruited to deliver guest lectures for both established and emerging coaches as well as support staff. “This is about collaboration and sharing information to improve the strength in-depth across the aquatic sports throughout Europe and it is a very important mission for LEN,” states LEN President Antonio Silva. “Previously LEN never had a coaching clinic plan, but now we do which is being run in conjunction with World Aquatics as well as the Coaching and Education Commission. “We believe it is a strong plan which will see well-developed Federations work with less-developed Federations and ultimately see an improvement in competitiveness across all aquatic disciplines.” These Coaching Clinics will be delivered around events including, but not limited to; 

  •       2023 European Games (feat. artistic swimming and diving) in Poland – 21-28 June
  •       LEN European Junior Swimming Championships in Serbia – 4-9 July
  •       LEN U15 European Water Polo Championships in Montenegro – 8-16 July
  •       LEN U23 European Swimming Championships in Ireland – 11-13 August
  •       LEN European Junior Open Water Championships in Greece – 29 Sept-1 Oct
  •       LEN European Short Course Championships in Romania – 5-10 December.

*There will also be an independent, stand-alone ‘Biomechanics and Medicine in Swimming’ Satellite event – called ‘LEN Coaching Clinics for High Performance Swimming: Bridging the Gap Between Science & Training’ in Leipzig, Germany, from 5-7 September. Tiago Barbosa, secretary of the LEN Coaching and Education Commission, will play a leading role in recruiting guest-speakers and is impressed by those already selected for the clinics this year. “Traditionally sharing information has not always been easy but this is a new generation who are keen to work with one another and learn together,” Barbosa states. “A line-up of high-quality speakers who can deliver talks about best practices, applied research and sports innovation will really help inform as well as empower coaches. “We expect with the series of clinics that the LEN fraternity will have a very good resource of information to draw upon going forwards across the aquatic disciplines.” LEN Aquatics Sports Director Apostolos Tsagkarakis believes LEN Coaching Clinics, which will be run in conjunction with World Aquatics, will benefit the wider community by improving “transparency and inclusivity.” “In my opinion it will give coaches and support staff an opportunity to voice their opinion, concerns and ideas,” Tsagkarakis says. “The scheduling of these clinics across a range of junior and senior competitions means you give opportunities to coaches and support staff at different stages of their careers, who are equally working with athletes at different stages of their development. “Some Federations will have strong views and ways of thinking about coaching, strength and conditioning or interpreting rules, but the more communication you have then the greater chance you have of understanding the challenges and the greater the potential for success. “Greater inclusion and communication across aquatic sports and aquatic Federations will see Europe attain even higher levels of performance.” Rudd is keen to further that sentiment, adding; “sharing and communicating has always happened but it’s never been formalised and there’s often been language-barrier issues. “There’s rivalry and competitiveness between nations but it’s a healthy rivalry and if we share information European Aquatics will move forwards and that’s our agenda.” LEN shall reveal details of key guest speakers and Coaching Clinics in the coming weeks, but those interested in putting their names forward should contact the lenoffice@len.eu. The Coaching Clinics will form part of LEN’s wider ‘innovation hub’ concept and as-per communications last month, any Federations keen to propose venues, facilities, labs or centres for official LEN accreditation as part of this process, should also contact lenoffice@len.eu.