The Horizon Programme is a 15-month coach development programme targeting Ireland's top high performance coaches working with junior and developing athletes. The programme ran from February 2014 to April 2015 and was open to a maximum of 16 coaches, offering each coach a professional development experience designed to evolve their coaching practice.
The programme offered the following supports over a 15-month period:
1. On Board Need Analysis
- Each coach was provided with an on board needs analysis service designed to identify annual critical performance factors and thus initiate a programme of individualized performance supports throughout the year.
2. Knowledge Development Events
- Horizon coaches were provided with 2 key knowledge development events designed to build their knowledge and capability across the combined themes of coaching, management and leadership. These events involved case studies delivered by Podium coaches in accordance with the needs identified across the Horizon community during the on boarding needs analysis.
3. Performance Simulation Events
- In preparation for high-level competition, coaches were given the opportunity to attend 1 performance simulation event prior to the 2016 games whereby key practical scenarios will be used to examine targeted performance capacities. These events offer unique peer-to-peer feedback exchange whereby coaches can reflect on the quality of their coaching, management or leadership practice.
4. Innovative Project Tasks – Hawkeye & The Podium Den
- Horizon coaches were tasked in groups to complete knowledge building projects around key performance topics. These project tasks were assessed by podium coaches in a ‘dragons den’ styled format. In addition, building on the success of last year’s Hawkeye initiative, coaches were tasked to observe and peer review each other’s practice and share the outcome of this with other coaches in their community.
5. Individual & Group Level Mentorship
- The Institute offered individual and group level mentorship sessions across a range of themes in coaching, management and leadership. Podium coaches were used to provide high practical group level mentorship around key project task.
The entry criteria for the horizon programme included the following benchmarks:
1. Coach Performance Track Record
- The number of athletes that an applicant has coached who have won individual or team medals at Junior / Development level Olympic/Paralympic, World or European events
- The number of events whereby each coach has represented Ireland at Junior / Development level Olympic/Paralympic, World or European events
2. Coach Potential
- Each coach must be officially appointed in a coaching role working with high potential athletes identified by the sport in their performance plan
- Each coach will have demonstrated commitment to their development by engaging in ongoing professional development
- Coaches will be willing to share and learn from their peers