Junior triathlon in NSW is experiencing rapid growth, with an increased demand for junior-specific coaching and races all year round. One coach who has been active in the kids’ coaching space for some time is Andrew Tong, known as “Tongy”, who runs Tri Focus and is an active member and coach with the Northern Suburbs Triathlon Club (NSTC). He has also previously coached TNSW Development Pathway clinics and camps and can often be found supporting his athletes at local races like the NSW All Schools Triathlon.
With over 20 years’ experience in the sport and 10 years’ experience as a coach, Tongy is a highly regarded triathlon and athletics coach whose junior triathlon program, based at St Ives program, has produced some great up-and-coming athletes in recent years. We caught up with Tongy to hear about the program and what it’s like to be a junior triathlon coach.
What is the aim of your program?
Our sessions have multiple aims as follows;
- To introduce kids to multisport and then develop the skills required for these events
- To develop running, cycling and transition skills
- To build kids fitness and strength
- To learn how to race and how to train (yes there is a difference)
- To have LOTS of fun!
What age groups do you cater for?
The age group is primarily primary school and early high school aged children, around 8 – 14 years. We do take children under 8 but only after we have assessed their current skill level. All sessions are catered to the skill levels of our individuals. Our focus is on looking at what each person needs to assist with their development and not making the squads or training competitive.
What do the sessions involve? What is your favourite session to run?
The sessions involve a combination of drills, running sets, transition practice and bike skills/riding. All participants are also encouraged to attend their own swim squad.
I am not sure if we have a favourite as we are passionate about developing every aspect and enjoyment of sport is high on our priority list. If pushed for a favourite I would say bike skills and seeing the kids achieve something that they said 10 minutes ago they could never do that! I do believe that having good bike handling skills is a great skill to have that can be used throughout your entire life.
What do you enjoy about being a triathlon coach for juniors?
Having fun! The kids are so eager to be there. Often they start training and doing drills or technique work whilst we are setting up. The best thing I can hear from the parents is that their child has been looking forward to training all week and that this is their favourite activity of the week!
How can athletes be a part of the program?
To be part of the training we do require all participants to be current members of Triathlon NSW. Entry is online and can be found here: https://trifocus.com.au/kids-tri/.
Term 4 2020 starts on Wednesday 14th October for 8 weeks and you can read the brochure below. If you want to join our mailing list to be advised when entries are open or to receive our updates please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our coaching program is Active Kids Certified and we can accept Active Kids vouchers!
Thanks to Tongy for his time & we look forward to seeing his athletes out and about racing soon!