Thorp Academy

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Thorp appoint GB athlete to coach students

AN athlete with his eyes on the Commonwealth Games will be getting Thorp Academy's own rising sport stars in shape for success.

AN athlete with his eyes on next year’s Commonwealth Games will be getting Thorp Academy’s own rising sport stars in shape for success.

Great Britain and England discus thrower Alan Toward has been appointed the Ryton secondary school and sixth form’s full-time strength and conditioning coach.

Alan, the reigning English champion and ranked No 2, will be working closely with the sport scholars on Thorp’s Elite Performer Progamme to help them fulfil their potential.

He said: “I expect them be dedicated, honest and support each other. I believe in training hard but I also want to make S&C fun and enjoyable so that everyone involved can achieve together.

“My experiences competing for Great Britain & England have taught me some vital skills that are highly transferable in every sport.

“As I have personally been part of performance programmes as an athlete, I will be helping the athletes on the EPP to develop, so that they can perform to their best ability.

“I have also worked for British Athletics as an athlete mentor. I have gained valuable mentoring experience that I will be employing in the EPP.”


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As a schoolboy growing up in Middleton-in-Teesdale, County Durham, Alan sampled every sport before being picked up by the throws coach at Gateshead.

He went on to complete a Bsc in applied sport and exercise science at Northumbria University alongside developing his sporting talent.

Now, while still working hard on the field in the hope of appearing for England in the Commonwealths on the Australian Gold Coast next year, he will be dedicating his working days to Thorp’s EPP scheme.

Alan will also be embarking on an eight week programme with Thorp’s

feeder primary schools to give Year 5 and Year 6 pupils an insight into how their body should be moving to fulfil sporting potential.

Alan said: “I received S&C support throughout my time at college and university. That is when I took a bigger step forward onto the international stage.

“I was able to learn the underpinning science behind S&C when I was studying at Northumbria and I went on to research S&C techniques for my masters degree.

“I always enjoyed S&C, so when I wasn't doing it myself, I would volunteer with some of the best coaches to learn the skills needed to develop as a coach.”

There are still sport scholarships available at Thorp Academy, which has completed a new-build with fantastic facilities this year.

To register an interest or to have a chat about the programme, which offers sport specialist coaching in a number of areas, head to the Open Evening at 6pm at Thorp on Tuesday, September 26.