Lecturer of SZE is improving his knowledge in the USA

Zoltán Alföldi, a lecturer at Széchenyi István University, is taking part in a one-year coaching training course of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the University of Delaware, in the framework of which he spent almost a month in the United States. The professional, who has been voted Coach of the Year in Hungary eight times, has been in contact with renowned figures in sports science, with whom he is planning to conduct joint researches.

Zoltán Alföldi, a lecturer at Széchenyi University and head coach of the rowing department of the Győr Athletics Club, received the Coach of the Year award for the eighth time this spring. Nevertheless, the sports professional believes that he must continue to train to be able to represent his sport at an even higher level. This year he has got an excellent opportunity to do just that.

"The Hungarian Olympic Committee put out a call for applications to the professional federations for an international Olympic coaching training programme, and the Hungarian Rowing Federation nominated me. I wrote the application material in English, and I was one of the thirty-eight professionals from all over the world who were selected to participate in the training”, Zoltán Alföldi said about the beginnings.

He said that in the first phase, from March to mid-August, he had to complete online courses by listening to lectures on sports science, sports psychology, exercise theory, training theory and sports pedagogy during the week and taking exams at the weekends. 

7f5c56_31467c59b93c4f69ac7a1277e87ccef6~mv2.webpTraining professionals at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

After successfully completing the online training, he was able to travel to the United States in September, where his first stop was in Colorado Springs at the US Olympic Training Center.

"Here, we updated the online learning materials with personal participation together with the professionals of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee and with the guidance of instructors from several prestigious overseas universities. During the second week, each branch of the Olympic sports had a different venue for their internship, which I spent with Princeton University’s men's rowing team.", he recalled.

Zoltán Alföldi spent his internship with Princeton University men’s rowing team.

During the third week, the coaches participating in the programme were received by the main organiser, Delaware University where as part of a project week they could prepare for the stage of their training following their return home, that is to write their thesis. Zoltán Alföldi's supervisor is Ian Barker, the compiler of several countries’ national sports development and talent scouting programme.


“During the time I spent out there I received several confirmations as in many ways - among others sports science, training theory and sports psychology - we are working with the same models here as they do over there. At the same time, their humility towards sports and the constant competition situation there are exemplary, as they can work with a much greater immersion than Hungarian professionals”, he summarised his experiences.

The photo shows the lecturer from Széchenyi István University with Ian Barker and members of his project team at University of Delaware.

As he said, besides being able to improve his coaching skills, his participation in the programme had other benefits as well. The lecturer of Széchenyi István University has developed good relationships with the leading psychologist and the physiologist of the American Olympic Committee, with whom he is also planning to conduct joint researches.


"A questionnaire survey on the mental health and well-being of university athletes was carried out in the US with three thousand participants, and we would like to make a European comparison. Moreover, we are planning a physiological research as well”, he explained. 

During the last week of his stay, he visited Blair Academy, one of the best secondary schools of the USA and the New York East Arm Rowing Club which was founded by Győr-born Sándor Emődi. 

"At the invitation of a member of the Board of Trustees of Texas A&M University, I also attended a major sporting event, where I had a great experience of watching an American football game among hundreds of thousands of fans”, Zoltán Alföldi recalled his experiences.

Finally, he added that after returning home he began to write his thesis work entitled Talent Identification Programme in the Hungarian Rowing Federation.


“I need to finish it by next March, and in April I must present my project at the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne. According to plans, the participants are going to receive their diplomas from IOC President Thomas Bach, which will be a great honour for me.", the lecturer from Győr concluded.

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