High Performance Conference brings together Europe’s top coaches

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The 2022 European Athletics High Performance Conference took place in Warsaw from 16-18 May and brought together, for the first time after the pandemic, 45 delegates from 38 of European Athletics’ Member Federations.

“Following our successful 2017 and 2019 editions of the High Performance Conference, we have been into ways about how to increase the interaction between our head coaches and performance directors even further,” commented European Athletics Head of Development Marko Vasic.

“During the 2022 Conference, we have clearly achieved that after bringing this community together for the first time since the pandemic and making sure that these conversations and networking continue.

“We live in a very competitive and interconnected world, and this is certainly the case with top sports as well, a world where our experts need to stay on top of the game with the knowledge and a network of contacts and we help them do that,” added Vasic.

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The morning of the first of three days in the Polish capital focused on how technology serves high performance with World Athletics Director of Health and Science Stephane Bermon talking about advanced footwear technology and performance in running and German athletics federation (DLV Head of Science Dr. Rainer Knöller then expanded on a national and global perspective for specific solutions in supporting science in athletics.

The evening session was about high performance coaching systems with a presentation on the DLV Academy by German federation chief coach Idriss Gonschinska, the UK strategy to improve international success was discussed by UK Athletics Head of Performance Tommy Yule and a Balkan perspective was delivered by Croatian sports scientist Vesna Babic.

“Only with competent, qualified and, above all, highly committed coaches can the challenges in athletics be recognised, analysed and realised,” commented Gonschinska.

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The second day started with Swiss performance specialist Dr. Ramona Ritzmann talking about sensorimotor training and continued with sessions about mental health and reducing stress.

Polish coach Jakub Adamczyk talked about training and injury recovery strategies in athletics and Josu Gomez Eceiza explained how the Spanish federation monitor workload, stress, health and wellness among its national team members.

In the afternoon on the second day, the conversation moved to the trends of supplements with European Athletics Nutritional Advisor Monica Sousa and with exercise physiology specialist Dr Kirsty Elliott-Sale discussed how the menstrual cycle, menstrual irregularities and hormonal contraceptive might affect exercise performance.

“The menstrual cycle has a profound effect on women’s athletic performances, whose individual and highly variable patterns mean that one size does not fit all,” reflected Ellie-Sale.

British coach James Thie later talked about mental health and reducing stress.

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Leadership and performance management were the focal points of the final day.

Executive Director of Research and Scientific Support at Aspetar in Qatar Marco Cardinale, a returning and popular presenter at the High Performance, opened with a presentation on systemic perfromance and talent development.

Coaches Anders Moller, Renaud Longuevre and Liliana Culibrk then respectively talked about optimising performance environments in training and competition, stress management in International championships and developing a small management system for high excellence.

A full programme of the 2022 European Athletics High Perfromance Conference can be seen here.

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