30 April 2020

Pat Sharples recipe for success: hard work, passion and the love of snow sport

Hard work, passion and a love for the sport has been the driving force, which coaches have used to empower athletes to produce unparalleled performances as part of the GB Snowsport success story in recent years.

Former professional skier and now Head of GB Snowsport’s team of 23 expert coaches, Pat Sharples, believes that these qualities have led to GB athletes achieving more podium finishes and top 10 results in more disciplines than ever before.

In the last year GBS's coaches have all delivered outstanding success and Pat Sharples says this demonstrates that the years of hard work laying the foundation and building the framework is paying off.

Sharples said: 'We have 23 coaches - full time and part time - working for GBS as well as many incredible support staff including, programme managers, physios, Strength and Conditioning coaches, wax techs etc. They all have a vital role in supporting our athletes the best way we can. 

'I can't begin to explain how hard everyone works in GBS through the whole organisation. I feel this is mainly driven by passion and for the love of what we're doing and everyone trying to achieve their own personal goals.'

And Head Coach Sharples is enjoying the experience: 'I am incredibly lucky as I now get to work with so many different coaches, support staff and athletes all of whom have different skill sets and talents. I am constantly learning and picking up something new every day. The organisation has grown by nearly 50% in the last few years and it's incredible to see so many athletes from all different disciplines at the highest level.'

And that high standard is also reflected in Para Snowsport as well, he added: 'It's been less than two years since Para merged with GBS and so much has happened in that time. Our Para athletes have been incredibly successful in the past two Winter Para-Olympic Games at Sochi and PyeongChang, especially in Alpine, so there is a lot of pressure to continue the success. 

'But since the merger we have now also got very successful Para Snowboard and Para Nordic teams, who are progressing at a very fast rate and winning more medals at World Cup and World championships as well as the Crystal Globes. We are lucky to have some incredible coaches and support staff in our Para programmes as well as Jayne Kavanagh who leads the programmes. She does the most amazing job! Now we are all one team, we try to share training camps and resources where we can which certainly been a huge positive.'

And as we look ahead to the next two years, how does the future look for Sharples: “It's so important the athletes feel empowered to speak up and add their input into programmes that will help them progress and develop. I feel we've learned a lot from freesports where some incredibly talented athletes have a vision of what they want to do and how to do it and they need a team of people around them to make it a reality.

Sharples admits that 'things are looking very positive for the future' on GB Snowsport’s quest to challenge the best in the world.


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