Like any sport at the top level, it’s important that we look out for future up-and-coming stars and share our experience and knowledge to help develop them.
To be successful internationally handlers need their own strong support network, a lot of commitment, resources to draw on and a team of professionals supporting them; that’s what the Agility Team GB Development Programme sets out to achieve.
11 handlers and dogs have been picked from the Performance Weekend to be part of this years programme. It’s likely others will join them through the year as the coaching team ‘spot’ other dogs & handlers who we consider have the potential to be part of a future team.
Since it’s introduction many people have asked me how they can join the programme. Obviously at the Performance Weekend is one route, being spotted through the year is another. So what are we looking for?
Well its a sport, not an exact science, so there isn't a black and white answer. However to give you a flavour of what we look for...
Fast, fit, well conditioned dogs = speed, (5+ metres/per/second). Their performance is consistent (able to produce top performance equally well under pressure). They’re accurate (they make the judges job easy). They regularly produce fast, clear rounds which increases our chances of winning medals.
Handlers who demonstrate:
- Demonstrate an understanding of tactics and strategy;
- Ability to perform under pressure;
- Confident dog trainers and agility handlers;
- They’re open-minded and willing to learn and adapt and
- They're able to produce top level performance under normal conditions.
We rarely get the finished, polished partnership; that’s what the development programme is about. But if we can see the potential then we will look deeper.
Congratulations to the 11 handlers who have been picked from the Performance Weekend. The Coaching Team and I look forward to working with you over the summer.