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The one thing in common that has helped Georgia and Dan’s coaching careers

They share an office, poolside and a home … yet Georgia Davenport and Dan Cocking also have one other thing in common that has been hugely beneficial to their coaching careers.

When Sheffield Diving coach Georgia and City of Sheffield Swim Squad age group coach Dan Cocking were both chosen to be part of UK Coaching’s Performance Foundation Coach Support Programme last year, they also ended up with the same mentor!

UK Coaching’s Alan Rapley has worked closely with the recently-engaged couple to help them develop – even though they were at different stages of their careers.

Georgia had recently retired from competitive diving and jumped straight into full-time coaching role, while her husband-to-be Dan had, in comparison, more experience coaching swimmers.

However, Georgia explained that the Performance Foundation programme had been worthwhile.

Very beneficial

She said: “We both found the programme to be very beneficial but, at the same time, it offered us both a very different experience.

“In the initial phase, I found it quite hard to know what to do with myself in the spare time I had away from work.

“Alan was crucial in ensuring I had a healthy work/life balance whilst also challenging me to leave my comfort zone and grow in confidence, particularly around other coaches.

“Dan’s most influential takeaways were around discovering how he could focus on his coaching performances and he couldn’t plan and change them to affect the swimmer’s outcome.

“Rather than focusing on how the athlete’s performed, he spent a lot of time planning, analysing and reflecting on his performance and how he can impact the sessions.

“A lot of time was spent with Alan learning how to deliver impactful and effective messages.”

Georgia admitted they often bounce ideas off each other, despite working in different sports.

She said: “The dynamics of two coaches under one roof, with different timetables and sports can certainly be challenging at times.

Bouncing ideas

“We both work busy timetables and, despite working in the same building, see very little of each other.

“We share an office, a poolside and a home but it’s important to us both that we are seen as two individuals and leave our relationship at the door when it’s time for work – and vice versa at home.

“As you can imagine, coaching is a huge part of our lives and populates a good amount of our conversations.

“Without it being planned, we often spend time bouncing ideas and thoughts off each other about coaching and how we, as coaches, can help ourselves and our athletes improve.

“Coming from two different sports, the technical aspects are very different but, over time, I have no doubt we have helped each other become better coaches and our values would be very similar.

“It is important for us to both have time away from coaching and often plan times in the day and week where we do not talk about work and make sure that we have times as individuals to be ourselves.”

Alan said it was great working with Georgia and Dan who were both open to the unique challenge.

He added: “I approached this rather unique situation as supporting and developing two individuals, who had their own specific needs even though they work in the same building.

Grabbed opportunity

“When I was working with Dan, I only met with Dan and wouldn’t see Georgia and vice versa.

“Both coaches were really open to the challenge and grabbed the opportunity with both hands to explore the development in their own way with their own outcomes.

“That’s the beauty of the Performance Foundation – we as coach developers can individualise with each coach along their journey because there is no set curriculum.

“We bespoke and tailor the development to their needs and their ambitions and develop areas for their precise current and future careers.

“It was an absolute pleasure to work with both coaches and I am now just waiting on the wedding invite!”