One of the British Elite Athletes Association’s key roles in the sporting system is supporting the selection process.
We do this by advising NGBs on their selection policies, by providing an independent figure to ensure the policies are followed in selection decisions, and by supporting athletes should they have grounds for an appeal.
When Steven Seligmann joined British Shooting as Performance Director, he involved the BEAA in his selection and appeals process to introduce greater independence and transparency.
Speaking with the BEAA, he explains the importance of that role. “We would normally have independent representation from the BEAA on our World Class Programme and Olympic and Paralympic Games selection,” he says.
“As we’ve evolved we’ve brought that degree of independence into it, which has been very, very helpful… It’s beneficial for the whole community. It’s about demonstrating that our policies, processes and selections are robust, fair, transparent, open, and that there’s always an opportunity for athletes to have a conversation with us should they want to.”
The BEAA’s Athlete Support Team is a group of expert staff with different skillsets, there to provide confidential and independent support. Each sport operating a World Class Programme has a dedicated Athlete Support Manager, which in British Shooting’s case is Emma Speer.
Steven says her input has proved invaluable: “Emma has been really helpful in so many ways. I think when you’re in a selection meeting itself, the role is very much to observe. She will testify in selections, and we will ask for her views on whether we followed the process accordingly and if decisions have been reached in an appropriate manner.
“I think she has totally demonstrated the skillset of being able to do that in the best way possible. She brings a logical and pragmatic mindset to the role and is objective as well. You get confidence in that member of staff that they’re able to represent what went on in the selection process very well.”
Bringing the athlete voice into the heart of their work, British Shooting have also benefitted from the BEAA’s support with their athlete representatives. The BEAA help to recruit them and provide training once appointed, ensuring athletes have a strong presence within the system.
“Our philosophy and the way we’re thinking is we want the athlete voice to be at the heart of how we operate,” Steven explains. “We’ve got a group of athlete reps that are shooting-specific, but over the last two years or so we’ve moved to having an independent person in that group too.
“Emma did a brilliant job helping us through the interview process. It worked really well and she was excellent in providing her expertise and input in supporting the recruitment process.
“I think that continued education around athlete reps, what the role is and isn’t, is a really important task to continue. I definitely see progress. Every sport and context is different, but if the BEAA are providing education and that’s done in the right way, it’s helpful for an athlete rep to understand what the role is and isn’t, and what they may be able to lean on from a BEAA perspective.”
If you have a question or concern about selection, or are an athlete rep looking for support, please get in touch: