Building on the success of previous years, over the weekend fifteen keen students gathered at the Point Wolstoncroft Sport and Recreation Centre at Gwandalan for the third annual Billigence Talent ID Academy Camp. Designed for talent transfer and new athletes, the three-day camp exposed the 12–16-year-old participants to multisport, in an inviting camp environment - under the guidance of some of the state’s best coaches. We were especially excited to welcome students from across NSW, some travelling a fair distance to be at the camp.
Day one commenced with a welcome to students and parents including a presentation around the Triathlon NSW Pathway Junior Development Pathway and philosophy, which centres on the idea ‘do triathlon, don’t be a triathlete’. This philosophy encourages late specialisation and sport sampling rather than myopic – and often detrimental – focus on the sport from a very young age. After a chat about camp rules and expectations, the parents said goodbye and the athletes had a quick bike check, bike skills session and dinner. After dinner each night, athletes participated in some fun team building group activities to motivate athletes to work together toward a common goal.
Day two began with an easy warm up run with the stunning back drop of Lake Macquarie. After the warmup athletes broke into groups for running drills and awareness. The groups then had transition and bike skills – the progression of the athletes’ skills during these sessions was huge, with some athletes moving to more advanced skill / movement in a relatively short time. After lunch, there was a swim skill session, focused on developing some necessary skills for open water races and a 200m time trial. Another session of transition and bike skills - these skills are fundamental to athlete development and for high speed, technical racing, which are predominant for elite youth and juniors and to best prepare the athletes for the event the next morning.
Sunday morning started with a light breakfast before the athletes headed to the race start and briefing which was on site. The 200m time trial from the swim session was used to handicap the athletes in 2 heats of 3.4 km bike / 800 run. Athletes and coaches grouped after the first race to discuss where improvements could be made for the second race. The second race was a duathlon 800 run / 3.4 bike / 800 run. The bike course was technical, and the racing was set up to simulate the racing of the Billigence Pathway Championship Series. At the conclusion of the second race, the athletes had a post-race briefing and reflection, with a focus on skills learnt over the weekend rather than performance. The athletes were encouraged to continue their triathlon journey by engaging with one of the fantastic local clubs, racing one of the many junior events in NSW and /or connecting with their Regional Academy of Sport.
The stellar team facilitating the weekend were:
- Head Coach: Robyn Low-Hart (Coach Education and Pathway Lead Triathlon NSW)
- James Sweeney (WSAS Triathlon Head Coach)
- Andrew Tong (Tri Focus & Northern Suburbs TC)
- Nicky Western (HAS Head Coach and Scone Triathlon Club)
- Jana Kapr (Tri Focus & Northern Suburbs TC)
- Sheena Carter (Camp Manager and Scone Triathlon Club)
This camp and race would not have been successful without the contribution of a number of key people. Firstly, thank you to Jana Kapr, CEO of Billigence, whose enthusiasm and support of junior development drove the evolution of the concept. Thank you to all the coaches and manager who attended and shared their knowledge and passion with the athletes. Most importantly, thank you to the athletes, who showed great eagerness, respect, and maturity over the camp, and to their parents for getting them to the camp. We hope to support and guide you in your triathlon journey to come.
Speaking on the camp Robyn Low-Hart said,
"The Billigence Camp had been scheduled in December and was unable to go ahead as the coaching staff were all close contacts to COVID. The rescheduled date in May was to be in The Sydney Academy of Sport (SAS) Narrabeen and only 3 weeks before the camp SAS advised that the camp was unable to go ahead due to flood damage. A decision needed to be made weather to attempt to find another location on the same date and reorganise everything."
"Understanding the importance of providing development opportunities to junior athletes in the sport paved the way to reaching out to Point Wolstoncroft who were very obliging to the short notice. All the athletes that attended the camp had a great time – as did the coaches and manager. The decision and extra work to organise a camp for the third time in one season was the right decision and I am sure that some of those athletes will be part of the pathway next season”.
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