Nick Levett 4

065: Nick Levett on developing talent

Nick Levett on talent development

Have you ever found yourself stood along side parents or coaches shouting and barking instructions to their child? Or have you ever found yourself bursting out with commands or subtly taking your child aside to say, “Just do this”. If we have done this or seen this or felt the urge to help but done so in a clumsy way – then we’ve been an influence (perhaps not positive) on a child’s interest in not only sport but on their willingness to try.

This week’s guest is Nick Levett, Head of Coaching at UK Coaching an expert in talent development. Nick has had a fascinating career coaching in schools in socially and economically deprived areas, working to develop the paths of young talent in the largest governing body in the UK – the Football Association and now a broader remit to develop coaching across the sporting landscape 

Nick’s insights are edifying, that is they compel us to take a moment to reflect and learn how morally, ethically and intellectually how we support and develop others, not just aspiring young sports people, but the lessons apply to our wider influence to the people around us.

Show notes

Playing football at university (oh and studying for a degree)

Strategic planning of modules for the best outcome rather than subject interest

Working in a challenging school, Learning ‘how to communicate’

Working in the FA for 14 years

Child centred work drives Nick’s ethos

Student aspirations, how much do I know these kids as individuals?

The coaching tension between the traditional FA coaching methods and real life experience

Nick’s development of the national coaching programme

Rod Thorpe teaching games for understanding (TGFU)

How do you know that kid wasn’t about to work it out for themselves?

Taking inspiration from Iceland and project based learning

Doing things that are inherently enjoyable 

What has been good during coaching amidst COVID-19 and what have learned that will be beneficial for the future?

Always start with the person

Academies and pathways should be teaching kids skills that are going to serve them for life

Manchester United think about the people first rand the values and rights of the child

What are the values of children when they play sport

What’s more important, winning trophies and medals or hardest is more important to me

Coaching horizons, what would Nik like to see explored over the next decade?



Nick’s blog

Nick on Twitter

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Dr Steve Ingham is one of the UK’s leading figures in sport and one of the world’s leading performance scientists. He is steeped in high performance and has been integral to the development of Britain into an Olympic superpower. He has provided support to over 1000 athletes, of which over 200 have achieved World or Olympic medal success, including some of the world’s greatest athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. Steve has coached Kelly Sotherton's running for heptathlon and to 4x400m Olympic medal winning success. Steve has worked at the English Sports Council British Olympic Association, English Institute of Sport, where Steve was the Director of Science and Technical Development, leading a team of 200 scientists in support of Team GB and Paralympics GB. Ingham holds a BSc, PhD and is a Fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Steve is author of the best selling ‘How to Support a Champion: The art of applying science to the elite athlete’, discussing and inspiring the importance of learning and adapting to reach our maximum potential. Steve established Supporting Champions with the ambition of helping ambitious people to find a better way of creating high-performance. Steve hosts the Supporting Champions Podcast on sharing his pursuit of understanding and exploration in performance.

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