Last Updated: 02:25pm 05/12/2011

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No stranger to the athletics track, renowned sports psychologist Dr. Penny Werthner will be in action at the 2011 edition of the International Festival of Athletics Coaching (IFAC) in Glasgow this October. As a former Canadian Olympian and Commonwealth 1500m Bronze Medallist herself, Penny Werthner is familiar with the pressures and demands of performing on a world sporting stage. Since retiring from the track, Dr. Werthner has been helping Team Canada to medal success at the last ten summer and winter Olympic Games as a sport psychologist – with Canada’s 2010 Home Games being their most successful Winter Olympic Games ever.

Based at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Werthner’s work in the field of sports psychology is highly regarded internationally, in particular her work with a number of Olympic teams and sports. Dr. Werthner explains that the physical training is naturally the most important element in an athlete’s preparation, but once an athlete is in shape it is the psychological preparations which then become important at a major championship. “If you take a look at most Olympic [Games] finals, there are more than three athletes who are all physically capable of winning a medal. It is the athletes who can find the right level of intensity – mentally – who will claim a medal.” 

Ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Dr. Werthner will be sharing tips on preparing for a Home Games this October in Glasgow to delegates at the 2011 IFAC conference. “At a Home Games there are greater pressures and expectations put upon both athletes and coaches. A number of distractions and commitments, especially from the media, can be particularly difficult for an athlete to deal with whilst remaining focused on the Games ahead. However, there are a number of methods and techniques both coaches and athletes can e mploy to ensure performance is not affected by these pressures and distractions of competing at a Home Games.” 

Dr. Werthner first visited Scotland as an athlete of the 1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games, and she looks forward to returning to Scotland to speak to coaches and athletes ahead of two home Games. “IFAC is an excellent opportunity for coaches to develop their knowledge and personal networks – it is fantastic to see so many coaches sharing ideas and knowledge ahead of such an exciting time for Scotland.”

Prof. Frank Dick, president of the European Athletics Coaches’ Association (EACA) and Chair of scottishathletics, believes IFAC has a lot to offer the coaches of 2012 and 2014 hopefuls. “Dr. Penny Werthner joins a first class line up organised for this year’s IFAC conference. This is an exciting time for Scottish athletes and coaches of all sports: with less than a year to the London 2012 Olympic Games, and in particular the 3 year countdown to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. The wealth of knowledge and experience that Dr. Penny Werthner brings to IFAC will be invaluable to our coaches and athletes. I would like to invite coaches from all sports to attend IFAC and take advantage of the fantastic line up organised, as well as share our knowledge to ensure Scotland’s athletes have the best preparations ahead of our Home Games.”   

Dr. Penny Werthner at IFAC 2011
Dr. Werthner will present the following at IFAC 2011:

Sat 29 Oct
Keynote: “Managing anxiety on a competitive stage”
Sat 29 Oct
Athlete preparations – “managing anxiety: why it is important”
Sat 29 Oct
Coach development – “the need to know of coaching female athletes”
Sat 29 Oct
Athlete preparations – “managing anxiety: why it is important”
Sat 29 Oct
Coach development – “the need to know of coaching female athletes”
Sun 30 Oct
Athlete Preparations – “what can coaches do in the psychological preparations?”
Sun 30 Oct
Coaches’ Mall & Interactive Forum