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Abano Terme

  by Dr. Frank W. Dick OBE

An Olympic Games represents two major opportunities. First, as an end in itself, it is an arena where we are measured in how effectively we have prepared our athletes to compete with the best in the world. In this respect, for most athletes, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Second, it is the last dress-rehearsal for the next Olympic Games. In this respect for everyone involved in athlete and team preparation it is a unique learning opportunity.

So the EACA Congress which immediately follows an Olympic Games should focus on ensuring that the learning opportunity is translated into lessons where we, as coaches, can apply to the advantage of athletes, coaches, EAA Member federations, the IAAF Family and the sport.

The 2004 EACA Congress in Abano Terme applied the learning opportunity in this way not only through the contribution of excellent presentations from a range of internationally respected experts, but through the input of our largest ever attendance 376 delegates.

Abano Terme also introduced an innovative approach to facilitating the learning process. Coaches were channelled into 4 discipline specialism area groupings and each group addressed key themes such as youth development. The program was arranged in such a way that each event grouping addressed a given theme at a difference time slot in the program. In this way, someone whose main interest is youth development could follow this across all discipline groupings whilst another whose main interest is sprints cold remain with that discipline grouping throughout.

The main topic presenters and the experts in the discipline groupings led their colleagues through an exhaustive program and ensured that everyone could identify with the Arie De Geuss Truism.

"Probably the only sustainable competitive advantage we have, is the ability to learn faster that the competition."

I congratulate and thank all those involved in the very valuable ad enjoyable Abano Terme Congress. The technical materials are available to EACA Members on their dedicated website pages.

The 2005 EACA Congress will be in Sofia , Bulgaria 4 - 6 November, under the direction of EACA Vice President Professor Peter Bonov. The theme of the congress is "P eak Performance Through Consistent Quality". The 2005 congress will also see the launch of a program which co-ordinate the themes of all of IAAF's Coaching Associations within the IAAF Coaches Commission calendar of ACA Coaches Congresses.