2012 has been a year of transition for many athletes. From the hunt for qualification, through the preparation programme, the taper up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and out the other side. It has been a year in which performance was the key focus resulting in time passing very quickly.
Athlete Performance Transition Programme
The Athlete Performance Transition Programme is designed to support athletes through the process of qualification, competing and returning from the Games. It is built on the idea that the Olympic year is one of constant transition and that those athletes that manage transition experiences most effectively will deliver their best performance at the Games and have a more positive experience.
To deliver this support the Performance Lifeskills and Planning team (together with our counterparts in the Sports Institute Northern Ireland) gathered information about the challenges facing athletes on the road to London, assessing the support services around them, identifyied their planning needs and their plans for life after the Games. Based on this analysis, we worked in partnership with the Performance Directors of each sport to identify the priority interventions that needed to be delivered to best support athletes to qualify and perform at the Games. In addition, the Institute provided a briefing to the medical team of the Olympic Council to ensure seamless support to the Olympic athletes.
The Institute and Paralympics Ireland worked in close partnership to deliver the Paralympic Athlete Performance Transition Programme and identified some critical issues to be addressed. For example, the profiling exercise identified that of 20 potential Paralympians in full-time training, 7 had no plan for their life post-London. This could become a performance factor as there is good evidence from previous Olympic and Paralympic Games that one of the sources of worry (and therefore distraction) for such athletes at the Games is concern about life afterwards. By addressing this well ahead of the Games, this concern can be minimised allowing the athlete to focus on their performance safe in the knowledge that they had a plan for their post-London life.