COACH CAMP REVIEW by Toby Coote, Performance Coach, Sunshine Coast Triathlon Academy
I was fortunate to be nominated by Triathlon Queensland to attend the Triathlon Australia Junior Development Camp at the AIS post the Australian Junior Youth Triathlon Series Race # 2 in Canberra earlier this year.
The Camp gives you an opportunity to get out of your home environment and network with other Coaches in a professional environment. We were fortunate to have Darren Smith mentor the Coaches and Juniors to which we all learnt a lot. Some of the things I walked away from the camp with are:
1. Ask questions - for an Athlete and Coach. Question why you are doing it to get a better understanding of what is being ask of you as an athlete. As a Coach, I am always learning and will never have all the answers. So asking other Coaches and working with different athletes gives you a better perspective that you can take back into your home environment.
2. Trust the process and believe in what you do. For myself, I find these camp environments very important as it shows a lot of what you do in your home environment is very similar to what is being done at the top of the high performance arena. It reinforces that the processes you are putting in place is very similar to what is being done at the top.
3. Pass on your knowledge to help others – Athletes and Coaches. I do enjoy working with other coaches and their athletes, at this camp there was a lot of this. So seeing what they are doing and listening and learning from their input and then putting your perspective on it as well. This way we all learn new ways of working in the camp and then taking it back to your home environment.
4. Look for the “funky stuff” (as Darren would say). There was a few times where I had the chance to sit down with Darren and talk one on one and pick his brain and he picked mine as well. It was the way in which he addressed the Athletes and Coaches, very calm, relaxed and soothing to get his message across. Some of it was done in a group environment and at times it was done one on one. He challenged the Athletes and the Coaches. Which goes back to my Point # 1 – Ask Questions. On the last day we were doing a run skills session. So to start of the session, the question was, How would you run down a hill? And that started a whole new discussion and learning technique for run analysis.
5. Athlete and particularly Coach management (yes we need to look after ourselves like we do with athletes), finding the balance. It is very important as we are dealing with junior Athletes that are growing, will grow and dealing with the implications of that. Similarly for Coaches, having the break away from the daily environment of Coaching. Coaching can wear you down at times, so having that outlet to find the balance away. Presently Darren is building a boat that has taken him away from full time Coaching. During the camp at lunch I chatted with him for about 20 mins about how the process with the boat building and photos of what he had done. This took both our minds off the camp and gave us that balance away from the camp and what we were doing there. Fresh for the next session.
6. Queensland junior Athletes are going very well (ok may be a bit bias but true). Just have a look at the Australian Junior / Youth Triathlon Series point score.
JUNIOR ATHLETE CAMP by Luke Harvey, Junior Athlete, Triple FFF
After an awesome weekend racing and staying with the Queensland team in Canberra, a busload of us headed to the AIS for a development camp put on by Triathlon Australia.
Upon arrival we checked in and dumped our bags before heading over to the Gold room for our first session and introductions. It was clear from the beginning that the theme of the camp was athlete health and availability, with availability being how often you can train without injury sickness or soreness. The first session focused on recovery. From stretching through to nutrition it provided a wider view of the topic, including choosing foods that can deal with the climate you will be racing in, or how accessible is water and food at the venue? Thoughts were certainly provoked, and everyone probably had some questions about how elite athletes actually did this; cue a live interview of Ashleigh Gentle, Matt Hauser and Natalie Van-Coevorden.
We then split into two groups; one to unpack/ relax, and the other to the recovery centre for some education and use of the contrast therapy, followed by an own choice recovery swim. This was well needed by myself after the two days of racing and I got to discuss my current recovery methods and find practical ways to improve.
I found the presenters extremely knowledgeable – especially Darren Smith who provided a unique and broader view of the topics discussed, whilst also allowing us to draw our own conclusions. What I learnt most from this camp, and found most surprising, was the number of junior athletes who were carrying injury or sickness that had effected them within the last week, and comparing those to our elite idols. Us juniors have a lot of room for improvement and a long way to go with keeping ourselves healthier and more available for training through less injury and sickness. We also had our recovery methods reinforced and refined to help with injury prevention and availability in the days after racing or hard sessions.
The camp was a mixture of both lecture style and hands on in the pool, track and recovery centre. If I could take one thing from this camp to teach my younger self, it would be to share some of the swim and run technique analysis to teach myself correct technique from the beginning.
Overall I found the camp informative and it reinforced a lot of what I currently do and has slightly altered the way I look at my training. Thank you Triathlon Queensland for nominating me for this great opportunity.
JUNIOR ATHLETE CAMP by Chloe McLennan, Junior Athlete, Race Pace Coaching
Within the camp, I had an amazing experience and I learnt so many beneficial aspects that will enable to become a better athlete. For example how important athlete availability and recovery is for an athlete. Throughout the camp it was reinforced that in order to succeed as an athlete you need to ensure that you are putting in the effort and making sure you do all the little things and the one percenters.
I believe the camp theme was to educate athletes not only how to get better but also how to look after our bodies and be mentality aware. The presenters were interacting and engaging and I was able to learn so much from them. There were many different ways that we were taught including, seminars, group work and the practical side.
I was fortunate enough to meet many fellow athletes, coaches and staff that I was able to learn so much from. I was inspired by the amount of passion that was displayed for triathlon, and the level of commitment.
If I could share one thing covered in the camp with my younger self I would make sure, that in order to succeed, it’s about getting the balance right and allowing time to develop all aspects of a good athlete.
I had a wonderful time and I am privileged to be able to attend! Thank you to Triathlon Australia and Triathlon Queensland in inviting me to attend!