CSA’s new coaching commission chairman outlines his priorities

    Alasdair Garnett, the new Cycling South Africa Coaching Commission Chairman, is an active competitor in both road cycling and mountain bike events, such at the 2017 KAP Sani2c, pictured here.
    Photo credit: Jetline Action Photo

    Johannesburg-based coach, Alasdair Garnett, has been appointed Chairman of the Cycling South Africa’s Coaching Commission. The voluntary position has no historical mandate but forms part of Cycling South Africa’s high-performance plans. Garnett, using his experience in running businesses and coaching, intends to help structure the governing body’s coaching division to be more efficient and effective.

    Garnett (44) is a former multiple South African age-group road cycling champion and currently holds a Training Peaks Level 2 qualification (one of only four South Africans) and is a UCI Level 2 coach. He will complete his UCI Level 3 qualification in Aigle, Switzerland in September 2017.
    “I’m pleased to have been given this opportunity by Cycling South Africa. The most important thing is that my involvement here is to help give the CSA Coaching Commission some structure, with realistic goals, based on current and potential future resources,” said Garnett.

    “There are already many very good cycling coaches in South Africa doing great work with very talented, committed athletes. I intend to ensure this group of coaches is given the necessary support and appropriate recognition by the national governing body. There won’t be interference, just much better communication so that I can work out which are the weak areas and ensure those are strengthened as much as possible,” added Garnett.
    “South African cyclists have shown over the past couple of decades that they are able to compete with and beat the world’s best in all cycling disciplines. So the talent and ability are not in doubt.
    “But many of our top performances have been by riders guided by their own coaches, which is really important because it confirms we have some of the world’s best coaches in this country too. The key now is to develop this success from being sporadic and often self-funded, to being consistent and supported where possible,” added Garnett.

    Here are the three key areas Garnett intends to focus on first:

    1. Establish a national cycling coach database
    2. Organise regular regional and national coaching seminars
    3. Educate cyclists about the importance and benefits of performance coaching

    “Coaches tend to work very independently of each other. This is quite normal as it’s become a viable profession for many. However, with such a wealth of knowledge and experience that’s developed among South African coaches, there will be some common best-practice elements that can be developed and shared for the benefit of South African cycling.

    “Historically, Cycling South Africa has had sporadic or limited resources and there’s often been criticism – by myself included – of where this funding and focus is directed. By getting consensus and feedback from a broad range of coaches, I feel this can only benefit the sport and lift the international success potential of our cyclists. Seminars should help in this regard,” remarked Garnett.
    “Like most coaches, I love that technology and modern communication make it possible to engage individually or in groups at any time. For starters, I have created a Facebook group called CSA Coaches (https://www.facebook.com/groups/csacoaching/). It’s a closed group, so an admin will need to approve requests to join, but it’s a way to begin engagement of South African coaches at various levels and I invite any coaches to join,” said Garnett.
    “Our recent and current crop of top performers may not have had access to coaching support and funding to achieve what they have, but that’s very changeable. However, change can only come with a different approach. The sooner we change the strategy, the sooner we make the best of what we have to develop the next generation of talent to become world-beaters,” added Garnett. 

     To contact Garnett directly, email agarnett@thepracticesa.co.za