Welcome to Kirkland Coaching.
Coaching is a true passion for me. Over the last 20 years, cycling and triathlon have developed beyond belief within the UK. I’ve seen first-hand how excellence in coaching has contributed to success not only at elite level but in grass-roots sport too. I know things are definitely heading in the right direction when I turn up at a youth level race and see kids with skill levels way beyond most of their elders.
The initial aim of this Blog is for me to provide you, whether you are an athlete, coach, sports scientist and or student, with interesting and relevant articles that may help in your practice. Secondly, I wish to help break down the barriers to the sharing of knowledge between coaches, sports scientists and those involved in sport at an academic level through the sharing of my experiences.
I also offer one-to-one coaching to a small number of athletes, so please feel free to contact me if you think I can help.
I’ve been involved in sport for many years firstly as a ‘recreational athlete’, then a student, sports scientist and a coach. For the last 8 years I’ve been working professionally in sport, initially as a sports scientist at the Scottish Institute of Sport, then British Cycling and now as a Lecturer in sports coaching at the University of Stirling. I’ve been involved at every level, ranging from teaching young children to swim, working with development and performance athletes, through to providing high-performance support to international level coaches and athletes.
As well as having a Ph.D. in Sport Science, I’m a British Association of Exercise Sciences accredited sport and exercise scientist with chartered scientist status. My academic background certainly influences the way I think and attempt to solve problems. However, my experiences at British Cycling have influenced me more and I understand that coaching is often far more of an art than a science. I also write the odd article for 220 Triathlon Magazine and have recently provided technical guidance to a multi-IM world champion for a book.
I regularly update my Blipfoto with my journal. This tells you the interesting things I get up to away(ish) from sport.
Every day, we wake up in a world of conscious experiences. The smell of coffee, the sights and sounds on the commute to work, the joy and pain of athletic performance. However, every single one of us experiences the world in subtly or even dramatically different ways. Some of us prefer tea, others coffee. Some of us love risky activity and perceive it as challenge; whereas, others may be scared stiff and feel threatened!! The bottom line is that everyone is different.
I believe that everyone has huge potential. If through providing a snippet of information or working closely with you, I can help you on your journey to being the best you can be, then I’ll have achieved what I want to. Fundamental to my coaching is that it’s always athlete-centred. That means that I will focus on your needs rather than simply giving you a generic training programme or being over-reliant on my own beliefs.
Summary of Qualifications and Experience
The biggest lesson I’ve learn through working in sport is that the more I learn and understand, the more I realise what I don’t know. That’s why it’s so exciting to be involved in coaching. There are always new experiences to learn from and areas of knowledge to investigate. Therefore, an open-mind is a prerequisite to excellence in coaching.
“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” Dalai Lama XIV
A balance between practical experience and formal qualifications has helped me reach the stage where I know the rules well, understand when to stick to them or when to try to innovate by breaking them effectively. A summary of my qualifications and experience are provided below:
Lecturer in Sports Coaching at the University of Stirling
British Cycling Level 3 Road and Time Trial coach
British Triathlon Level 2 coach
British Cycling Coaching and Education Officer and Tutor
Ph.D. in Sports Science (related to cycling performance)
BSc(Hons) Sport, Exercise and Coaching Science
Sport and Exercise Scientist at the Scottish Institute of Sport
Club-level triathlete and 2x Ironman finisher
Kirkland, A. (2016) What is Knowledge? The Sport and Exercise Scientist. Leeds: BASES.
Kirkland, A. (2015). The map of performance excellence. Presentation at The 8th Oxford Colloquium on Medical Education.
Kirkland, A. and Webb, V.P. (2015) A coaching perspective of the sport and exercise sciences. The Sport and Exercise Scientist. Leeds: BASES.
Kirkland, A. (2014). The need for an awareness of psychosocial factors in addition to physical development The Sport and Exercise Scientist. Leeds: BASES.
Webb, V.P. and Kirkland, A. (2014). The dichotomy between applied sport science and coaching practice. Proceedings of the World Congress of Cycling Science, Leeds.
Kirkland, A. Hopker, J. and Jobson, S. (2013). Learning from the success of British Cycling. The Sport and Exercise Scientist. Leeds: BASES.
Kirkland, A. (2012) A Coaching Philosophy. In J. Hopker & S. Jobson (Eds.), Performance Cycling: The Science of Success. London: Bloomsbury Sport.
Kirkland, A. (2009-2015). British Cycling Handbook material for UKCC Level 1-3 coaching qualifications and other courses.
Kirkland, A. and Coleman, D.A. (2009) Physiological responses during cycle time trials: Variable versus constant power output. Journal of Sports Sciences, 26, s130.
Kirkland et al. (2008). Validity and reliability of the Ergomo(R)pro powermeter. International Journal of Sports Medicine. (29) epub.
Kirkland, A. and Coleman, D.A. (2007). Reliability of ‘Time to Exhaustion’ trials and physiological responses at Critical Power in cycling exercise. Proceedings of the BASES Annual Conference, Wolverhampton.
Kirkland, A. and Coleman D.A. (2006) Reliability of time to exhaustion at Critical Power. Presentation at the BASES student conference. Heriot-Watt University.