Conference is our pre season gathering incorporating sport development workshops for coaches. Our 2017 conference was held on the 4 February 2017 at the Oriam Centre at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh.

This year’s conference:  “The great triathlon coaching bakeoff – ingredients, recipes and planning for success!” was a great success.  The programme is listed below.  Read the full report here.

Conference 2017 Programme

Planning “thinktank” 1

The most interesting people at the conference are always the coaches that attend!  This session will be an opportunity to meet new coaches from throughout Scotland and to debate an aspect of planning in small groups.  This is the base of our coaching cake and will inform the keynote sessions from our experts.

Where does planning fit within your coaching process?  Professor John Lyle

After making the base of our coaching cake, John will build on this by challenging us to think about where planning fits within the coaching process.  How does our high-level, yearly plan affect our decision-making on a session by session basis?  How do we keep that picture of what long-term goals we’re trying to achieve in every session we coach?  John is endearingly known in coaching circles as “professor planning” and is a world expert on the subject so we are delighted to have John deliver the first session of the conference.


John began his sporting journey as a professional footballer, later going on to play and coach international volleyball.  He has significant experience in coach education and development as an academic and a consultant.  John has had a long and successful career in higher education, first in physical education and later specialising in Sport Coaching studies. He established the first professional diploma in sports coaching and played a significant role in the development of sport coaching as an academic field of study. He is the author of Sports Coaching Concepts: First Edition, and co-editor of The Coaching Process and Sports Coaching: Professionalisation and Practice.

How do we plan and why do we plan the way we plan? Adrian Stan

Building on John’s insights into where coaching sits within the coaching process, Adrian Stan will offer his expertise on how we might go about planning in triathlon.  Adrian will introduce some of the key models for planning across all sports before exploring how triathlon might apply some of these models in different ways to get the best from our athletes.  He will challenge us on where ‘training’ vs ‘practice’ takes place and on planning for skill development as well physiological development.  Adrian’s exceptional depth of knowledge and experience will draw powerful parallels from different sports and how triathlon coaches can be as effective as possible in their planning.


Originally from Romania, Adrian has been involved in developing the British Gymnastics performance programmes since 1992.  After leading the incredibly successful men’s and women’s Romanian Olympic gymnastics programmes from the late 70’s into the early 90’s, Adrian came to the UK to begin developing the GB women’s and later the men’s artistic gymnastics programmes.  He held the national coach or technical director role until after the London 2012 Olympic games when he became the high performance coach development manager.  Adrian is a world expert in planning and in particular the science and philosophy behind different planning models.

Planning “thinktank” 2

After hearing from our experts, we are now ready to put the top sponge on top of the jam and cream! This session will provide an opportunity to return to our earlier discussions about planning in triathlon and to apply the learning from our experts.  Positively challenging each other will be the name of the game here.

Closing keynote

Alison Patrick

After discussing planning from a coach’s perspective, the icing and cherry on top of the cake will come from our Paralympic medallist, Alison Patrick.  In an interactive Q&A style session, Alison will talk us through some of the planning processes that she and her coach went through in the build-up to the Rio games.  You will hear first-hand what that looked like and how they prepared themselves for the biggest show on earth where Alison would go on to become a Paralympic medallist.


Alison Patrick won Paralympic Games silver in Rio 2016 having been recruited to triathlon from an athletics background in 2013. She is visually impaired (less than 10% vision) and races in the PT5 class with a guide athlete. Alison and her guide are tethered during the swim, ride a tandem bike and run with a tether. She is based at the Loughborough Triathlon Performance Centre, and has been a member of the World Class lottery funded British Paratriathlon squad since 2014.

Alison was working as a physiotherapist when she first joined the paratriathlon programme, but has subsequently taken a break from her career to train full time in Loughborough.

The move from athletics to paratriathlon paid off almost immediately with an ITU Paratriathlon wold title in 2014. She won the Rio Paralympic test event in 2015. She achieved automatic qualification for Rio and won silver in her Paralympic debut with Hazel Smith (now Macleod) guiding her. She also won the ITU world title in 2016.

Alison was drawn to triathlon when injuries prevented her from running as much as she wanted to and friends persuaded her to have a go. She had previously swum as a junior and raced in the 1500m on the track at international level. However, it was the 800m where she had most success, including a IBSA world title. She also represented Scotland as an able bodied runner at the World Mountain Trophy.

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