Athletes, both at the top of their game and on their way up, will be pleased to learn of a new register of experts in lifestyle guidance.
After the huge success of the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Russia, many British athletes are experiencing more public interest than ever before. But navigating press exposure, financial commitments, career decisions, education and welfare can be overwhelming.
Top athletes need access to qualified, professional guidance to balance their time-consuming fitness schedules with many other commitments.
So the new Register of Personal Development Practitioners in Sport (RPDPS) – listing qualified professionals with expertise in the area – will be a real bonus.
Lizzy Yarnold, the Winter Olympic champion, helped formally launch the independent public register on 27 February in central London, along with its creators from SkillsActive, an organisation that gives information and advice to employers, training providers, policy makers and key organisations in the UK sports and active leisure industry.
“The register has been developed because of a demand from the industry to create National Occupational Standards that enable personal development practitioners to gain the trust and confidence of their clients, which in this case are top level athletes,” says Steve Mitchell of SkillsActive. “In addition, national governing bodies and clubs can be assured that the professionals working with their athletes and players are fully qualified and competent in what is a very sensitive job role.”
He believes that many people are “waking up to the fact that sport is becoming a more lucrative business”. This is attracting people to the sector who offer advice and services that are below standard, he warns. But he says the register “will provide the yardstick by which professionals are accepted by the wider industry”.
Let’s hope the initiative achieves its aim of helping athletes “perform to the best of their ability, minimising unwanted obstacles and maximising future opportunities”.