Registration is now open for the second annual USA Triathlon Paratriathlon Coaching Certification Clinic, to be held on May 14-19 at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The clinic, the first of its kind both nationally and internationally when it launched last year, equips participants with the specific skills to coach paratriathletes of all classifications safely and effectively. Eight spots are available, and registration closes in mid-March.
To be eligible to attend, participants must be USA Triathlon Certified Coaches and have some prior experience working with paratriathletes. The schedule includes two and a half days of classroom lectures, followed by three days of observation and interaction with athletes at a high-performance USA Paratriathlon training camp and members of the USA Paratriathlon Resident Team.
“Last year, USA Triathlon addressed the need to provide coaches with the skills and background knowledge specifically relevant to coaching paratriathletes,” said Linda Cleveland, Coach Development Senior Manager at USA Triathlon. “Feedback from participants after the inaugural clinic was overwhelmingly positive, and we are pleased to offer the opportunity to another group of motivated coaches this season.”
Leading the classroom sessions will be USA Triathlon Level III Certified and USA Paratriathlon Certified Coaches Christine Palmquist and Mark Sortino. Both Palmquist and Sortino served as coaches of the US Paralympic Triathlon Team in the debut of the sport at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, helping the US to a four-medal performance.
Christine Palmquist is a head coach with Team MPI, the head coach of the Chicago-based youth Multisport Madness Triathlon Team, and was the personal coach for 2016 Paralympian Patricia Collins in addition to her team coaching role. Palmquist has 19 years of experience helping athletes succeed at the regional, national and world levels.
Mark Sortino is the CEO of Team MPI and a head coach. He was named USA Triathlon’s Paratriathlon Coach of the Year in 2016 for his success coaching athletes in the lead-up to and at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. In addition to his team role in Rio, Sortino personally coached three 2016 Paralympians in women’s PT2 silver medallist Hailey Danz, Mark Barr and Krige Schabort.
“USA Triathlon is proud to work with Christine and Mark to deliver a curriculum proven to bring out the best in paratriathletes of all levels,” said Amanda Duke Boulet, Paratriathlon Program Senior Manager at USA Triathlon. “These world-class coaches bring not only a wealth of knowledge, but also countless stories of their successes and challenges while working with elite paratriathletes throughout their careers.”
Lectures will cover a variety of topics, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) rules and classification; athlete development pathways; swim, bike and run modifications; training periodization; and nutrition and travel considerations.
The clinic is supported by the US Olympic Committee and US Paralympics. Sport psychologists, dietitians and strength and conditioning staff at the US Olympic Training Center will advise participants throughout the clinic.
Once participants graduate from the course, they will be listed as USA Paratriathlon Certified on USA Triathlon’s ‘ Find a Coach’ tool, allowing paratriathletes nationwide to search for a coach who meets their needs.
The cost for the certification course is US$655, and participants have the option to reserve meals and lodging on the complex at the US Olympic Training Center for an additional cost.