Millfield named as ‘epicentre for sporting excellence’ in new sport development book

Leading independent school Millfield in Somerset has been featured in a new book exploring elite athletes and the environments that create them.

The Best: How Elite Athletes Are Made by applied sports scientist, author and educator Mark Williams and journalist Tim Wigmore, researches top athletes and their journey to success. The new book has been called a ‘must read’ by England Rugby coach, Eddie Jones and an ‘engrossing guidebook for youth athletes, parents, and coaches’ by The Washington Post.

Amongst the chapters which cover ‘The Psychology of Greatness’, ‘Timing is Everything’ and ‘Location, Location, Location’, Millfield student-athletes and coaches are featured alongside professional sportsmen and women including Marcus Rashford, Pete Sampras, Ian Poulter and former Millfield student Helen Glover. The book also references Millfield’s notable reputation for producing an athlete that has competed in every summer Olympic Games since 1956.

The school is described by Wigmore, who visited the school in 2019 during his research, as a ‘community of practice’, in which its inhabitants are spurred on to greatness by competition. According to Wigmore, these communities ‘present substantive opportunities for informal and incidental learning outside of the traditional classroom setting’, enabling athletes to learn from one another and improve at an accelerated rate.

A passage in the book describes the advantage of studying at Millfield as ‘two-pronged’, attending a school where aspiring athletes go to develop their talent, but also where talent ‘doesn’t get missed’. Millfield strives to Discover Brilliance in every student, and we nurture that talent throughout their schooling.

Millfield’s Director of Sport Dr Scott Drawer says, “I’m grateful to our coaching team for sharing their experiences and stories about the Millfield development environment in sport that helped inform  part of this book. We are very proud of our sporting legacy and our student-athletes, specialist coaching workforce, and all the teacher-coaches who support the delivery of sport. Our extensive facilities and diverse development programmes are testament to that. To be acknowledged as a world leading development environment in sport is a real honour.”

The Best: How Elite Athletes Are Made was published in 2020 and is available online and in most UK retailers.

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