Whilst the Australian sporting public was fixated on the NRL and AFL Grand Finals over the weekend, a group of talented and determined young triathletes quietly furthered their already high prospects in the sport at the Emerging Talent Squad’s camp in Wollongong, so that one day they can also have their time in the spotlight.
But success in the field of triathlon wasn’t the major focus of the six-day Emerging Talent Squad camp.
Under the guidance of renowned Triathlon NSW’s Coach and Athlete Pathway Manager, Mick Delamotte, the group of budding stars came together from across NSW in Wollongong to not only develop their talents as a triathlete, but to develop their life skills.
The group consisted of 19 youngsters, with nearly an even split in terms of gender and with ages varying from 16-19.
Delamotte is an International Triathlon United Accredited Development Coach with a proven history of success with young, junior and Under 23 triathletes from across the globe.
Whilst he enjoys working with athletes of all ages, he gets a special buzz from working with youngsters such as this group because of the positive effects that he can impart on their lives; not just physically, but mentally.
“We knew what level of physical talent they had at the camp but one of the objectives was to challenge their mindset and concentrate on developing their personal excellence,” Delamotte said.
“Sure we created a daily training environment with skill development opportunities for their swim, bike and run, but the important aspects of the camp weren’t solely focused on training or preparing them to cope with life as a professional athlete, but about preparing them with the skills and life lessons to be able to go into a daily performance environment and perform.”
To reinforce the messages from Delamotte, the group was spoken to by professional triathlete and 2008 Chile Olympian Barbara Riveros and NSW Institute of Sport scholarship holder and Wollongong Wizard local Grace Musgrove.
Along with reinforcing Delamotte and TNSW’s ethos, the pair also spoke to the group about patience, relishing challenges, setting in place processes and goals and enjoying the sport for what it is, as well as answering a multitude of questions from the group.
The Emerging Talent Camps occur on a quarterly basis, generally around the school holiday period, and after each camp Delamotte is continuously blown away with the development of the kids on and off the field.
“We want to challenge them to think like professionals, not like kids,” Delamotte said.
“This relates to how they approach their training sessions, how they approach their meals, how they approach time management, how they deal with their gear, how they manage their sleep, their studies etc. We had three athletes that couldn’t attend the camp because of their HSC studies and I’m happy with that.”
“I was very impressed with their behavioural changes – the lights went on in all of them. There was a lot of personal growth throughout the group; we’re about personal excellence and they got that.”
The Emerging Talent Squad is made up of triathletes who have been handpicked by the Triathlon NSW selection panel based on automatic selection criteria like their results in events, but also discretionary selection criteria such as their potential and attitude.
The 2016/17 Triathlon NSW Emerging Talent Squad is currently full, however keep a note ofTriathlon NSW’s website to apply for the 2017/18 squad and other pathway squads around December-January, 2016.
“The next step in the pathway for this group will lead to the Under 23’s where they will receive a professional license to compete around the world,” Delamotte said.
“Not all these kids are going to be professional athletes but we can equip them with life skills and an attitude of personal excellence and prepare them with qualities such as passion and drive then that will assist them greatly in their chosen careers.
“Hopefully some of them do choose triathlon as a career though!”