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Top London 2012 coaches recover, refocus and reenergize

PEP event 1

Nicola Hunt, Counseling Psychologist with Crannog pictured with a group of PEP coaches after they completed a mindfulness exercise.


On October 25th – 26th, the Institute of Sport’s Pursuit of Excellence Programme delivered a 2 day training event specifically focused on the recovery needs of top coaches who performed at the London 2012 Games. The event took place in the Radisson Hotel in Farnham, Co. Cavan. Top high performance coaches from 7 sports attended the event. These sports included Boxing, Sailing, Paralympic Cycling, Paralympic Swimming, Paralympic Athletics, Judo, and Swimming. Coaches completed a range exercises designed to help them unpack and refocus after their Games experience.


‘Just a huge thank you for the engaging and appropriate workshop content and delivery’Ciaran Ward, Judo

‘The programme met a need that I struggled to articulate' James Lafferty, Paralympic Swimming


In 2012, the Institute of Sport implemented a Games specific coach support programme entitled ‘The Podium Programme’. The Podium Programme offers coaches a diverse array of supports involving informal (i.e., mentorship) and formal (i.e., simulated training events) based performance supports. In total 12 coaches from 9 sports participated in the programme. Coaches have accessed an individual grant aid support designed to build their performance capacity leading into and after the London 2012 Games. This has led to the recruitment of top mentors, critical expertise and sport specific training.This support has directly influenced the performance needs of 29 athletes competing at the London 2012 games.


‘The PEP Podium community was responsible for 29 athletes who competed at the London 2012 Games. In total 12 out of the 21 medals arising from London 2012 are connected with coaches on the Podium programme. This is a phenomenal achievement as coaches play a critical role in enabling athlete performance.’ stated Gary Keegan, Director, Irish Institute of Sport.


PEP event 2

Mary Bulfin, Nature Tour Guide completing a foraging exercise in Farnham woods with a group of PEP Podium coaches.


Throughout the 2 days coaches engaged in a series of activities including:

  1. 1-2-1 Debrief – Each coach completed a 1-2-1 debrief with an expert facilitator.
  2. Peer to Peer Exchange – Coaches engaged with their peers and shared a common experience.
  3. Career Mentorship – Coaches accessed long term personal planning support from key experts.
  4. Reflective Practice – Coaches completed a range of reflective exercises designed to unpack their 2012 experience.


Daragh Sheridan, Manager, PEP Programme commented ‘The PEP Podium Community represents the most exciting and talented group of high performance coaches in Ireland. Their achievements at the London 2012 Games are very significant given those Games were Ireland’s most successful games ever. We look forward to continuing our support of this community into the Rio 2016 quadrennial.’

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