COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A pair of Columbia head coaches, field hockey’s Caroline Nelson-Nichols and archery’s Derek Davis, each spent time last week at the U.S. Olympic Training Center to participate in the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Coach Accelerator Program (CAP).

The event provides coaches with a foundational base of high performance coaching knowledge and skills that are practical and scientifically based. CAP also gives an opportunity to develop new coaching skills, collaborate with other sport coaches and plan future development in areas that improve overall performance outcomes.

In Nelson Nichols’ three seasons at the helm, the Lions have had 10 student-athletes garner All-Ivy League status and four NFHCA All-Region selections. She has coached three of the finest scorers in Columbia history in Maeve Doherty '18CC, Christina Freibott '16CC and Katie Ruesterholz '17CC, who set the school's career point records in back-to-back seasons.

"The CAP coaching program was an incredible opportunity to take a deeper look at how and why I coach as well as how I can better impact my athletes,” said Nelson Nichols. “Coaching is one of my vehicles to inspire my athletes and teach them how to grow as young women and athletes; this course gave me additional tools to be a better coach for my CUFH team. I ask my athletes to seek continual improvement and I want to ensure I am taking the same steps I challenge my athletes with daily. “

“This course was very well run and extremely valuable in the content that was delivered,” she continued. “It opened my eyes to new ways of thinking and supported many of the practices I already implement in my coaching. The opportunity to learn from other high-level coaches, including a former teammate and a Columbia colleague, was truly priceless. At the end of the day, I want to be the best I can for my team and this course helped me understand ways I can continue to grow and become better as a coach."

Davis has guided the archery program to seven national championships, five in recurve and two in compound. During his tenure at Columbia, Davis has produced a number of All-American and All-East honorees, as well as a host of USA Archery All-Academic team members. He was named 2015 Coach of the Year by the USOC and has been an instrumental part of USA Archery for a decade.

“I’m always looking to improve as a coach in order to help my student-athletes be their best,” Davis said. “The Coach Accelerator Program will definitely contribute to my journey. What I liked most was that we learned from each other as much as we did from the instructors. So much was shared in a few short days and every bit of it was useful and relevant. No matter what the activity or task, it was informative and always fun. It was great to see that coaches across all sports face similar challenges. It was also nice that everyone seemed to know at least one other person in the program, which lended an immediate comfort. I was happy to see Caroline there. I’m looking forward to implementing what I’ve learned next season.”