Advancing Players

Olympic Coaches – Keith Williams & Klara Spilkova6 min read


Posted on: 22nd Aug 2016

Klara Spilkova and coach, Keith Williams, have been working together since she joined the Czech Golf Federation training squad in 2007 when she was 12 years old. Keith states that Klara has always had a determined attitude which is how she has got to where she is today, and it is Keith’s vast experience that helps Klara build her own self-belief and confidence.

Keith and Klara meet once a month or more and communicate regularly online to keep up to date with her progress. Their training schedule has been driven by the Olympics with an increase in practice on links-style courses in preparation for the Olympic course in Rio.

Klara Spilkova

@spilkovaklara

Keith Williams

Country:Czech RepublicWales:Country
Turned Professional:2011Great Britain & Ireland:PGA of
Tournament Wins:042:Years Coaching

 

PGA PROFESSIONAL COACH: KEITH WILLIAMS

Explain a bit about how you began working with your athlete and when that was.

KW: I met Klara as Head Coach for the Czech Golf Federation – Klara joined the training squad at 12 years old in 2007. She was always a very talented played, albeit with a small physique, so optimising her technique was important. Fortunately she was such a determined girl so her attitude was always 100%, which ultimately is why she’s where she is right now!

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What are the key things you are going to work on to prepare your athlete for the Olympic Games?

KW: We will just work at what we have planned for the 2016 season – the Olympics is a significant event for golf and one that Klara welcomes as a great privilege to participate in.

We are increasing our practice on some links venues as the Rio course is designed in that style. We have just finished four days training at Saunton Golf Club in Devon, United Kingdom – I will coach & caddy for Klara at Dundonald Links for the Scottish Ladies Open later this year and we will organise one more links visit before Brazil.

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Have you changed anything technically or even just operationally with your athlete to help prepare or to aid their qualification hopes?

KW: No not really but we are aware it’s a big year for Klara as in a small country like the Czech Republic the benefits are enormous.

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What advice will you be giving them about competing on a wider global stage than perhaps ever before with an approximate 3.6billion viewers across the world?

KW: I always advise players to enjoy the experience.  Have fun…whatever the score it’s a privilege to play at this level!

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How will you stay in touch with your athlete during the Olympic Games?

KW: Originally I was going to travel with Klara and probably caddy for her too, but we have decided her caddy will attend instead.  We will still keep in touch via FaceTime & online coaching systems though.

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What does it mean to you to be working with a potential Olympic qualifier?

KW: Wonderful of course…it’s a Major really if not in name, whatever some say!  There’s no guarantee that golf will remain in the Olympics so it’s about enjoying it and taking something from the experience!

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How do you work with your athlete on a day-to-day basis?

KW: We have a 12-month programme.  As Klara has moved up the rankings it’s been more difficult in some ways – the pressure to improve technically and skills-wise have increased and Klara wants to be a LET winner, Solheim Cup player and LPGA player.

We have identified her strengths & weaknesses pretty well and have filled many of the gaps.  There is still plenty to do but we meet up once a month or more and always communicate via online options.

OLYMPIC ATHLETE: KLARA SPILKOVA

What does the prospect of being able to represent your country and make history at the Olympic Games mean to you?

KS: Well it’s great…I’ve played for my country since I was 12 years old as an amateur golfer, but playing as a professional and at the very top level is an ambition I really enjoy.

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What makes your relationship with your coach a success and a benefit to your game? 

KS: I have been coached by Keith since I joined the Czech Golf Federation National Squad system and have always appreciated his ability to coach talented players at the highest level.

His communication is great but for me he is always that one step ahead; he sees what I need to focus & work on clearly and sets me on path of progress and development.

I know I have a coach who’s worked with Major winners, Ryder Cup players and with two national Federations, which helps build my own self-belief and confidence. If he tells me I can do it then I know I can and that he means it!

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How important have they been in your existing/current development as an athlete?

KS: He always keeps me moving forward…I’m naturally very ambitious and have high personal expectations. Keith matches those and goes beyond. I know if I have questions he can answer them.

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How are they going to help you prepare for the Olympics?

KS: Yes we have it all planned so I will play my schedule on the Ladies European Tour, add some special training dates with Keith, and work intelligently with my physical and mental coaches.

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What are you most looking forward to about potentially competing in the Olympics?

KS: Just to be a part of the largest sporting event in the World, staged once every four years, wearing your national colours in the first golf tournament staged in modern times at the Olympics is…as they say in the UK… a ‘no brainier’!”

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How have you worked/will you work with your coach to prepare for the Games?

KS: Extra Links golf & adding/improving some skills related to links play.

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What impact do you think golf being in the 2016 Olympics will have on the sport?

KS: Hopefully it will help grow the game in the Czech Republic. We are crazy about sport and to have golf involved is fantastic for the Czech Golf Federation and the golf industry in the country.

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How important is it to you that your coach is a PGA Professional?

KS: We have an active PGA in the Czech Republic and they deliver a good programme. Keith is a true PGA coach…He’s achieved so many things in all areas of the game in the UK – it’s like having a guarantee or standard of quality. That works for me!!

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The PGAs of Europe Olympic PGA Professional Coach Hub is a first-of-its-kind Olympics page (http://eur.pe/OlympicPGAPros) that aims to and celebrate coaching and shine a light on the PGA Professionals from around the world that are supporting, or have supported, the 120 male and female potential qualifiers for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Each Player-PGA Professional section contains details about their relationship, key links to find out more about both the potential Olympic qualifier and their associated PGA Professional, along with interviews and features with many of them.

For more information on the PGAs of Europe Olympic Coach Rankings visit http://eur.pe/OlympicPGAPros

Images courtesy of Keith Williams and Ladies European Tour/Tristan Jones