By: Jeff Smith, GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Five coaches from various parts of the world made the trip to Happy Valley this past week to work with the Penn State track and field coaching staff and student-athletes as a part of the ninth edition of the International Coaching Enrichment Certificate Program (ICECP).
The Nittany Lion track and field program hosted a group of coaches from the International Coaching Enrichment Certificate Program (ICECP) this past week. Throughout the week, the coaches were given the opportunity to be a part of the daily goings on in a major Division I track and field program, including campus and facility tours, round table discussions, and observation of practice sessions with the Penn State track and field coaching staff and Nittany Lion athletes. The ICECP program is run domestically through the University of Delaware, in conjunction with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
Penn State track and field head coach John Gondak and his coaching staff hosted Boikie Gama a mid-distance/distance coach from South Africa, Justice Dipeba a sprints coach from Botswana, Makelesi Batimala a sprints coach from Fiji, Francis Manioru a sprints coach from Solomon Islands and Francisco Antonio Castellanos Garcia a sprints/hurdle coach from Guatemala for a week of experiences while sharing with them the track and field facilities, workout routines, coaching strategies, and sport science techniques.
For Boikie Gama, this trip is an experience of a lifetime. "I dream track and field; I want to spend the final years of my life coaching track. It's all I want to do when I retire." Back in South Africa, Gama is the Ehlanzeni coordinator for cross-country as well as a computer application and technology teacher at EJ Singwane Secondary School in Pienaar. He lives in Msogwaba with his wife, Phumzile, two children Wendy and Siyabonga and his adopted daughter, Emmarancia. "I cannot wait to take the invaluable knowledge I learned here at (Penn State University) back home. I have seen many athletes, whom I have coached, travel overseas but this is the first time I have made a trip myself. I hope we will be able to produce more international athletes in the years to come," Gama said.
The mission of the International Coaching Enrichment Certificate Program is to provide national level coaches and those responsible for the development of the sport's national coaching structures in developing countries with a practical program orientated towards developing proficiency in the technical, theoretical, conceptual, managerial and ethical aspects of coaching basketball at all levels of competition.
"I'm very thankful to the ICECP for continuing to give Penn State the opportunity to host these coaches; it's a week we look forward to every year. I enjoy sharing our program and facilities with our visitors from overseas," said Gondak.
The six week program consists of two weeks of classroom sessions at the University of Delaware on subjects related to coaching methods, theory and management and sport sciences. One part is a week long apprenticeship with an NCAA Division I men's and/or women's track & field program that allows for a participant to shadow, observe and interact with the coaching staff of that program. Then the coaches travel to the USOC Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. for the penultimate part of the program. The fourth and final module will take place in Lausanne, Switzerland in April 2017. All told, the project spans a full academic year. The coaches will maintain a journal log on the experience and develop and implement a project when he returns to his home country.
The apprenticeship is designed so that the participant gets an in-depth sport specific experience that enables the coach to develop their coaching skills, while also acquiring information that can be shared upon returning to their native country to grow the sport in the country.
Penn State University has hosted international coaches as part of the ICECP program dating back to the fall of 2007. For more on the ICECP program, log on to www.udel.edu/ICECP/.