Pacey Performance Podcast Review – Episode 481 Kelvin Giles

In today’s blog I’m bringing you another Pacey Performance Podcast Review.  This podcast came at a great time as I have been reflecting on the APA Method in recent days.  Whenever you onboard a new member of staff (we have recently recruited a new Head of S&C in one of our Tennis Academy contracts) it’s naturally a good time to reflect on your keystones or “pillars” of the programme.


I was fortunate enough to cross paths with Kelvin Giles when he came back to the UK in 2008.  He was doing some consultancy with British Tennis at the time and he was kind enough to share with me an early version of his “Movement Dynamics” physical competency manual.  This manual was a huge influence on my understanding of how to help young athletes improve their movement efficiency and ability to “move well.”  Taking players through a Physical Competency Assessment (PCA) became a keystone of APA’s method, which is still there to this day.


Kelvin talks extensively about the broader topic of how to engage our current and future generations of young people with an active lifestyle, and in his opinion, the failings of having the only solution being one based around competitive sport.


“Every activity, every word spoken to the young people in our physical education or in our junior club coaching sessions is geared around Results, Ranking and Rewards, which creates ongoing critical stress points to this young person, who is just trying to navigate their growth and and it’s detrimental to their individual progression to adulthood.


79% of 8-14yrs old are not getting the required amount of daily physical activity. 


Just from the stats of “how much” physical activity they are getting, we are in a woeful situation.  But one of the key things for me when you start  to discuss and debate this topic, is let’s not just deal with how much physical activity, the critical one is HOW this is being done.  What are these kids being exposed to by these adult ambitions that are being forced upon them? What’s the progression that they are going on for the next decade?  The physical was taken out of physical education around 40 years ago, and it was decided that our physical education in schools and our junior sports development would build everything around a competitive games-based solution, and we think that it’s the only vehicle we can ever use to get kids moving!  The only solution is to give them a competitive  win-lose type of strategy.  It’s failed, and it’s failed for 40 years!  The 3 Rs are not conducive to development.  There is no such thing as a high performance talent at 8-15 yrs.  We need to give children the enthusiasm to move and to keep moving for the rest of their lives so they stay active is vitally important. The 3 Rs is for high performance but we have a bigger responsibility to the rest of the people in our community.”


[Daz comment- Although this topic is one close to my heart, for this particular blog post I’ll summarise the first 30 minutes. I  then skip to focus in on the second part of the discussions around your “coaching toolkit, which was discussed in the last 20 minutes.]


Episode 481 – Kelvin Giles – “Changing the narrative around health and performance of young athletes and people.”

Kelvin Giles


In this episode of the Pacey Performance Podcast, after 7 years since he first appeared on the show, Rob is joined by High Performance Consultant, Kelvin Giles. With a career spanning decades in both the UK and Australia, Kelvin brings a wealth of experience and insight into the challenges and successes of coaching. This episode takes an in-depth look at the shifting landscape of youth sports, focusing on the critical need for a holistic approach to training and well-being.

🔉 Listen to the full episode here


Discussion topics:

”The high performance interest from professional clubs.  At the bottom of their pyramid is participation – it’s physical fitness in schools.  That’s where they are picking from at 8,9 and 10 years old.  So with that in mind, what is the solution in terms of that base level of keeping kids active or pushing on to high performance?”


”Whether you want to send them on the pathway to high performance sport, where all the money goes, or you want your child to have health and wellbeing for the rest of their lives, they both start at the same place, so there is no excuse!


If your development programme and your high performance programme look exactly the same, then one of them is wrong.  If all you’re doing is watering down the high performance factors, and trying to force that into the children so you think you’ll have an easier pathway to high performance, you’re wrong!  And you’ve been wrong for 50 years.


So it’s going to come down to, who is brave enough and wise enough, to change the mindset of the adults, the language of the adults, the general outcomes that we are going to put down and applaud which is not results, ranking, and rewards.  It’s going to have to be something else, like ENGAGEMENT.  How can we keep engaging them every single day, this individual that keeps turning up.  How can we PROGRESS them appropriately?  Can we engage the individual in this group, or we just going to lump them all together and just wait until we see the one talent.


Coach Education & Mentoring


  • Are the coaches using sound learning tools from their toolbox (discussed later in the blog), from implicit learning right through to explicit learning?
  • Where’s the quality control coming from?  How’s the national governing body interacting with the coaches? Are they coming down to your club and seeing how you are and watching what you’re doing and mentoring you forward?


Usually the reply is, “No! Once we’ve got our certificate we’re on our own, so it’s in those areas that the solutions have to be found, from the mindset, the vocabulary, right through to what we are teaching our teachers and coaches.  What skills are we wanting the coaches to have?


It took me three years to get anywhere near understanding how I’ve got to try and teach physical education, and even that wasn’t enough, let alone doing just one weekend course for £250 and then letting you loose and hoping that you can go and win the medals for people. 


Can’t you see how it’s just a nonsense.  Yet there are bureaucrats continuing with this process.  But there are pockets of best practice dotted around the world including notably Jeremy Fisch



In the second part of the podcast, we switch up to focus on the “Coaches’ Toolkit.”


”The last thing we will discuss is what should be in a coaches’ toolbox, and I think by coach we could mean someone in high performance, we could mean someone who is working in a primary school or a secondary school etc”

“I’ve got nine things, and the sad thing about just you and me chatting now, is that unless you’re in a room with these people and you’re with them for a couple of days and you’re with them for several weeks, and you say okay, get out your chairs; we’re going to choose one of these tools here and you’re going to practice it.  You’re going to practice it in pairs, then you’re going to practice it in a group, and we’re all going to watch!  We are going to criticise it and then help you out and then you’re going to do it again.  Then we’re going to come and do it again tomorrow and you’re going to keep practising and practising, and you’re going to make terrible mistakes.  We’re going to be here to support you and we’re going to help you through this and we’re going to build your confidence!


  1. THE INDIVIDUAL – who are they, where are they, how are they? Not just when they first arrive, but all the way through the session, through the week, through the month, through the cycle, the year, the decade. it never stops!
  2. UNDERSTAND THE KEYSTONES – those central pillars of a movement pattern, or an individual pattern inside the foundation movements, or a collective pattern inside the fundamental movements that glue everything together.  It takes a long time to become au fait with those, but that’s part of the job.  For example, getting kids to run as one of the fundamental movements.  So my keystones, the ones that I’ve settled on after 50 years of doing this might not be the same as what you might do.  Mine are: where the foot hits the ground, and in what direction the foot comes off the ground.  Every exercise and activity I do is aimed around those keystones.  So if I take that to the next step, when I see that happen in front of me, it means “toes up, heel to hamstring, step over the opposite knee,”  that becomes where I keep all my attention and I aim at that, and I know if I get those optimal for this individual, those keystones optimal, whatever exercise I pull in are all all aiming slowly in some way, generally. related, specifically, efficiency, consistency, resilience that’s where I’ve finished up
  3. PREPARE FOR SESSION – you’ve got to understand time management, space management and equipment management inside this session.  You’ve got to manage time between technical, tactical, physical and behavioural.  We have to keep a sport specific element going on, there has got to be an essence of the sport that the athlete has turned up at a rugby club to play rugby!  That time mangement has got to handle the general to relatedness to specific to make sure I’ve given enough time to those.  Is there enough space for this activity to be done well and safely?  Is there enough space so that there is no queuing going on? Is there enough space for you to coach in, by walking around.  Is the equipment appropriate?.  Have you got enough and where is it?  The athlete will determine what comes next.  So write the session plan in pencil because you’ve got to have adaptability in your coaching because you might need to spend more or less time on something depending on how they respond.  You might need to accelerate an activity for an individual or group who is flying, or you might need to back off if they are struggling.  Where should I stand to look out for the keystones?
  4. PLAN THE SESSION ITSELF – a typical session for children is 10 five to seven minute units for a group of 8 year olds.  Ten different sections to keep their attention and cover all the things I’ve said before: Let’s take an example of a running based session plan: warm-up, general running (forwards, backwards, sideways), then some locomotion of hopping, skipping and galloping and then I’m going to work on the event specific keystones, then I’m going to do some of my physical work (squat, lunge, brace, rotate, gait) then I’m going to apply some of the things we have learnt into a fun game such as a relay race.  Now I’m halfway through my session and I’m going to go through it all again, and then I’m going to warm them down. If it’s with the 14 yrs old then maybe I’m going to spend a little bit longer in each unit and do eight times eight units because their attention span is a little bit better.  You are going to fit this programme to these athletes, the opposite has never worked!  Change it on a second to second basis to fit with what is going on.
  5. UNDERSTAND THE TOOLS OF PROGRESSION – static to dynamic, simplex to complex, slow to fast, big to small, unloaded to loaded.  Turn the exercise up/turn the exercise down – you do what they can do, you don’t chose how fast they can learn it.  Start with what they can do.  Whoops that was too hard, go back to what they can do!
  6. MANIPULATE THE TASK – use analogies to try and create pictures.  Get them to have an external focus, get them to use observation skills with their partner
  8. PROVIDE FEEDBACK – when, what are you are going to feedback, and how are you going to feedback? Start with what’s going right.  You never try and give them feedback while they are doing it.  Choose words that give them pictures straight away.  Ask tjhem questions more than giving them instructions.  Try harder, go faster are meaningless feedback
  9. REFLECTION – after 5 minutes ask is this working? Have I engaged them all? Then reflect at the end of the session? Did I engage them all? Was it fun? Will they all want to come back again? Did I progress them in some way, not just outcomes of winning performances?

Top 5 Take Away Points:

  1. Results, Ranking and Rewards – creates ongoing critical stress points to this young person.
  2. Today’s children are inactive – 79% of 8-14yrs old are not getting the required amount of daily physical activity.
  3. Current solution is not fit for purpose – we build everything around a competitive games-based solution, and we think that it’s the only vehicle we can ever use to get kids moving!
  4. Time for change – We need the key stakeholders to change the way we approach the coaching of the athletes and also the coaching of the coaches!
  5. Importance of a coach toolkit – the essential skill any coach needs to successfully coach a group of athletes.


Want more info on the stuff we have spoken about?

You may also like from PPP:


Episode 464 Duncan, Danny & Rhys 

Episode 473 Aaron Cunanan

Episode 457 Dan Tobin & Dan Grange

Episode 456 Danny Foley 

Episode 450 Tony Blazevich

Episode 446 Hailu Theodros

Episode 444  Jermaine McCubbine

Episode 443 Nick Kane

Episode 442 Damian, Mark & Ted

Episode 436 Jonas Dodoo

Episode 432 Les Spellman

Episode 414-418 Pete, Phil and Nathan

Episode 413 Marco Altini

Episode 410 Shawn Myszka

Episode 400 Des, Dave and Bish

Episode 385 Paul Comfort

Episode 383 James Moore

Episode 381 Alastair McBurnie & Tom Dos’Santos

Episode 380 Alastair McBurnie & Tom Dos’Santos

Episode 379 Jose Fernandez

Episode 372 Jeremy Sheppard & Dana Agar Newman

Episode 370 Molly Binetti

Episode 367 Gareth Sandford

Episode 362 Matt Van Dyke

Episode 361 John Wagle

Episode 359 Damien Harper

Episode 348 Keith Barr

Episode 331 Danny Lum

Episode 314 Les Spellman

Episode 298 PJ Vazel

Episode 297 Cam Jose

Episode 295 Jonas Dodoo

Episode 292 Loren Landow

Episode 286 Stu McMillan

Episode 272 Hakan Anderrson

Episode 227, 55 JB Morin

Episode 217, 51 Derek Evely

Episode 212 Boo Schexnayder

Episode 207, 3 Mike Young

Episode 204, 64 James Wild

Episode 192 Sprint Masterclass

Episode 183 Derek Hansen

Episode 175 Jason Hettler

Episode 87 Dan Pfaff

Episode 55 Jonas Dodoo

Episode 15 Carl Valle


Hope you have found this article useful.



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