Pathway Leaders from 13 different Olympic and Paralympic sports have graduated from the 2017-19 cohort of the UK Sport/EIS Performance Pathway Programme (P3). The programme, in its third and final iteration, seeks to equip pathway leaders with the talent development knowledge and leadership skills required to meet the ever-changing needs of a contextually defined performance pathway.
P3 first ran in 2013 and is delivered by the EIS Performance Pathway team. Including the current cohort, P3 has now supported the development of no less than 35 Pathway Leaders within our Olympic and Paralympic community.
The graduates from the 2017-19 cohort are: Alasdair Donaldson (British Paratriathlon), Jon Eley (EIS/GB Short Track Speed Skating), Tim Ellis (British Judo), Steve Green (GB Taekwondo), David Hamer (Equestrian Team GBR), Dieter Hill (England Hockey), Mark Hoile (British Canoeing), John Lenton (British Paracycling), Neil McCarthy (British Skeleton), Kevin Renshaw (British Swimming), Mark Richie (GB Snowsport), Richard Ramsdale (British Canoeing) and Jon Roberts (British Athletics).
Graduates and core delivery staff pose for a photo after the final P3 workshop at Ashridge House
The programme is designed to challenge thinking on what talent is, how it is developed and what the role of the pathway leader is in enabling an effective system. There is some direct education is involved, however primarily the learning experience is structured to promote collaborative reflection, problem-exploration, as well as to help pathway leaders to recognise (and where necessary reshape) their own mental models on factors related to talent development. To do this, learners have been exposed to multiple ideas and environments as well and working through case studies and live problems.
P3’er David Hamer (Equestrian Team GBR) said: “We often talked about looking through a different lens to a gain a new perspective and provide an opportunity to learn.
“The P3 programme certainly provided this by challenging and broadening my bandwidth to an extent I would not have thought possible having already led a performance pathway for 14 years when I started the programme.
“My memories will be of professionalism, comradery, support and being in environment where it felt safe to explore and learn”.
Head of Talent at GB Snowsports Mark Richie commented, “As a Pathway Manager of multiple disciplines in Snowsports, the programme gave me the ability to quickly establish a network of peers, with a vast amount of experience and knowledge to share ideas with.
“The course itself over 20 months was useful in various pathway specific areas, many of which we are trying to implement across our different snow sport pathways”.
The most intensive learning experience on the programme was a European study tour that saw the group visit four different development and performance environments. The tour included visiting Cirque De Soleil in Barcelona, Bayern FC football academy in Munich, Papendal National Sports Centre in the Netherlands, and Olympiatoppen in Trondheim, Norway.
Para-cycling Pathway Manger, John Lenton said: “The study tour provided a lot of insight into four unique environments. On reflection good leadership, good people, and a strong culture were themes that stood out. It was evident that these combined with the value of staff and their work in talent pathways are the driving force to success and sustainability.”
Programme lead Elliott Newell said: “We are incredibly proud of how well this group have gelled and supported each other to challenge their talent thinking and practice. They have embraced complex issues related to how they recruit athletes into their pathways, how they guide developmentally appropriate activity to meet athlete needs once those athletes are in the pathway, and how they employ, deploy and develop coaches and staff who are equipped to develop talent”.
Whilst P3 will not run again in its current guise, the EIS Performance Pathways team will continue to work closely with Pathway Leaders to ensure that talent development programmes in the UK are optimally placed to nurture athletes ready to thrive within World Class programmes and life.