Jockey coaching takes huge steps forward

Mon Aug 10

Major changes moving Jockey Coaching forwards

The future of Jockey Coaching in the British Racing Industry has recently taken a huge leap forwards with a re-structure of the management and additional funding from the Racing Foundation secured in a joint bid from the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA), the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF), the Jockeys Education and Training Scheme (JETS) and supported by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

From the 15th June 2020 the Jockey Coaching Programme (JCP) had a new look which includes Joe Foley-Corah as the newly appointed Jockey Development Manager and ex-jockeys Richard Perham and Kevin Darley taking up new roles as the Head of Coaching for British Racing and Senior Jockey Coach, respectively.

The new look Jockey Training and Development (JT&D) Team was put into operation to deliver the strategical and operational objectives outlined within the Jockey Training and Development Strategy 2020-2023, and will be administered by Polly Greco at the British Racing School.

The team will work together and with internal and external stakeholders to ensure JT&D and JCP is delivered effectively and is relevant, practical and valuable so both areas endeavour to give jockeys the skills, knowledge and awareness required to succeed within racing, and also in their lives outside of the saddle.

Ultimately the aim is to have every jockey within racing to be receiving coaching, in line with other elite individual athletes in sport.

Joe Foley-Corah brings a wealth of experience from other sports having worked with the likes of the Football Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board, British Showjumping, British Dressage, British Rowing, and others. He says “my aim is to upskill, develop and progress the excellent coaches that we already have working within the JCP.

I will work with Richard Perham, Kevin Darley, and Polly Greco to ensure up to date coaching principles and practices are used in relation to technical and tactical development, athlete mentality, performance analysis, conditioning and nutrition, and use of riding aids. To do this we will look to introduce coaching specialists in these areas, selected from the existing team of Jockey Coaches.

Richard and Kevin will be offering coaching through the localised IJF centres when it is feasible to do so beyond Covid-19 restrictions, on a casual basis to all jockeys regardless of their status so that the coaching offer is extended to the jockeys not currently engaged within the JCP and will hopefully then lead to all jockeys recognising the value of ongoing, effective coaching. Just like Federer has Ivan Ljubicic, McIlroy has Michael Bannon, Joshua has Rob McCracken, Bolt had Glen Mills, we hope one day to say that Dettori has Richard Perham!”

 

The JCP currently has 192 apprentice and conditional jockeys on its books with a team of 21 jockey coaches, all of whom are ex-jockeys so bring with them first-hand experience of being a professional jockeys but team that up with their UKCC coaching qualifications and they are an exceptional team of coaches ready to bring racing in line with all other professional sports in regards to coaching.

Richard Perham, Head of Coaching for British Racing, commented:

“I have worked at the British Racing School as the Senior Jockey coach for over 15 years so I am thrilled to take on the challenge of becoming Head of Jockey Coaching. As well as teaching and assessing jockeys for licences my new role will be to support an established group of coaches and help them to develop their coaching skills.  We have a dedicated group of coaches and a management team that are fully focussed on creating the best jockeys coaching system in the world, a group that I am delighted to be part of”

Polly Greco, JCP Administrator:

“I am very excited to be involved in the new structure of Jockey Training and Development. The Jockey Coaching Programme and the overall curraiculum for Jockeys has come on so much. With this generous grant from the Racing Foundation, along with the team we have supporting these young athletes, we will continue to press forward and achieve mass goals”