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My Lap Around the Track – Week 9

This weeks training sessions unfortunately got washed out so I didn’t get to see how much my athletes remembered from last weeks sessions.  However no matter this week we will have to wait and see.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoorThis week has yet again been one of new opportunities. I started a new role as coaching coordinator. My role is to guide, organise, and mentor our younger coaches. The age range of our younger coaches is between 16-22. These junior coaches are the guys that are going to start coaching the younger age groups on Tuesday and Thursday. They have been long term GInninderra members and there passion for athletics is incomparable. They are doing a great job so far its heart warming to see. It is also great to see Ginninderra offering other opportunities to their athletes beyond just training and competing. Coming from a Uni student I didn’t really know what i wanted to do with my life until much later than 16 . I have a strong suspicion that a few of these young coaches may pursue coaching as a career or at least a life long hobby.  Not  only that it has also given me the opportunity to take a mentor role on so early. Exposing me to those management and mentoring skills so early is bound to yet again make me a better and more well rounded professional.

During a coaches meeting a few weeks ago a pitched an idea to try and maybe get some more athletes from the high school age involved in athletics. I thought why not create a presentation promoting Ginninderra athletics and ask the local high school if they would mind if we presented it to their students during a school assembly. The idea was well received and I have now been put in charge of getting the ball rolling. It was really nice to have the support and autonomy from the beginning. I was also surprised that they in-trusted me with the task given it doesn’t really fall into the scope of what an exercise physiologist does, and after all I am still an intern and not yet qualified. I am so happy they did however because whilst it might not be in the traditional scope of practice, networking and project managing are important skills in the work force. So hopefully at the end of this little project Ginninderra will have plenty new members added to our Athletics family.

My Lap Around the Track – Week 10

Hey guys I know it has been a while since I have posted and I apologise for that. I am sure you can understand that over the Christmas period it gets a bit hectic with family festivities. But not to worry I will be going back to the weekly post as of this week. Also under 10-12’s training will be starting up next week for those interested.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, child and outdoorSince my last post a lot has happened at Ginninderra. Nationals has been held and we had a number of athlete compete so give a shout out to; Eden, Jeremy, Becca, and Annika. I want to just say how proud of yourselves you should be regardless of performance. It’s a huge effort just to get there and I couldn’t think of another bunch of kids that worked for it and deserved it more. If you still feel you could have done better, don’t lose faith in yourself or us because it’s all a work in progress and together we will get you to where you want to be. We also held our twilight meet for the parents and volunteers. It was a great night with lots of fun and games. It was great to see all of our parents and volunteers getting involved in the games. Without these people our club wouldn’t be possible and especially the weekend athletics meets. It was also great to see all of the athletes helping out and assuming the volunteer role for the day.Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing, child, outdoor and nature

Since being back I have hosted a few gym sessions for the athletes and I was amazed about what some of the athletes were saying. Some of them still worked out or did something towards their running over the Christmas break. It’s great to see such dedication especially when the ACT junior and senior Championships approaching this month. The athletes that are planning on competing have approached me in one way or the other asking me if there is anything they could work on. Which impresses me because at their age I enjoyed my sport and I always had a drive to get better but I didn’t understand the work it really takes to  get there and I certainly wasn’t willing to put it in. It’s also extremely flattering to have my athletes seek me out for advice and guidance. Especially because just a few months ago I was worried they weren’t going to take me seriously because they have been running for a lot longer than I have. I look forward to the New Year with these guys and coaching them through their competitions and new PB’s

My Lap Around the Track – Week 8

This week has been an interesting one as always, but this week for different reasons. Ginninderra as always keeping me on my toes. As we all know it is the first week of summer.

So the assumption would be that athletics would be in its peak or at least on its way and it is. It’s just not the typical weather that track stars like to compete in. For multiple different reasons, one that I found most interesting is that bad weather has the potential to slow you down and often does. A sprinter is a lot less likely to get there Personal Best (PB) in the wet. The reason being is there is a higher potential for a head wind which will slow you down. Most importantly though it’s harder to concentrate on form and technique when you’re getting hit in the face by rain. Having said that it is inspiring to see the Ginninderra sprinting group still pushing through and turning up to training. It still consistently amazes me how dedicated, joyful, inclusive, and hardworking these people are. I come from a majority basketball background and a majority of my teammates wouldn’t dream of hosting a training session in the rain. Even if it wasn’t using basketball equipment.

The training sessions I host on Tuesday and Thursday are starting to gain popularity.

This week I had some new female youth athletes show up. Both of which were school reps and state reps for middle distance running. I was excited to coach them because it gives me the opportunity to train elite athletes for their age group as well as the general athletes that compete for fun. Ginninderra has a good spread of talent in their club. A lot of the more competitive athletes at Ginninderra have been with them for a long time and have gotten where they are today because of the great coaching staff.    It was interesting to see how high the maturity levels of these kids are. Even though they are only 10-12 years old, they are there to train and not just mess around with their friends. There hasn’t been a single complaint about having to do a drill they don’t want to.   It makes it a pleasure coaching them. The other thing I was surprised by was the way I held the coaching session. I have never been known as a kid person. But as soon as Ginninderra gave me the opportunity to coach kids I jumped on it with the view of making a weakness into a strength through exposure and practice. I found myself using an upbeat tone to help keep them engaged and used age appropriate language which was my main concern. Surprisingly it came mostly naturally without much thought. After each training session I go home and evaluate the session and see what I think I could have done better or how the session could have gone better. One thing I need to work on is talking less and not overwhelming the kids with information. I was impressed though I managed tco teach the kids 4 new things about sprinting. Now let’s see if they remembered what they are, check in next week for the answer J

My Lap Around the Track – Week 7

Another week has gone by and still new things are happening. I am supremely impressed by everyone’s passion for athletics at Ginninderra. They are constantly looking for new ways to get more people involved in athletics so they can share their passion with the rest of the ACT and even Australia. Currently Ginninderra is looking into ways of how they can best cater for deaf athletes. They were inspired by the deaf games and wanted to get a team together for the games in 2019. Ginninderra has tasked me with trying to make this happen. I am looking forward to the challenge ahead. However I do have a good base to start with because Ginninderra currently has 4 deaf athletes and 1 disabled athlete.  Neil the ACT deaf athletics coach who is working with Ginninderra has built starting lights for the deaf for us to use.

I am currently working with him to try and entice more deaf athletes to join the club. It is beautiful to see that a sporting club is actively searching for new and innovative ways of including athletes that unfortunately don’t get the attention they deserve. The best thing about having the light system is, eventually there will be integrated sound to match the lights. Meaning that both abled hearing and deaf athletes will all be able to compete together. Once again creating that feeling of inclusiveness that I have come to associate with Ginninderra

Ginninderra has once again offered me another fantastic opportunity. I held my first under 11’s training session yesterday afternoon. Now they have offered me the chance to work with Elijah and younger kids. Giving me a good range of experience across multiple age groups. I am sure this will give me the exposure and experience I need to make me a more adaptable professional once I FINALLY ATTAIN MY DEGREE!!! ( :p ). The session went well I was told that the best way to plan a session with this age group, is to have a session goal (speed, acceleration, finishes etc) and try to build fun drills with those goals in mind. I chose acceleration as my session goal and then had to build these drills. It was a little difficult for me to get my head around at first. At Uni whilst we have had the odd lecture on training kids and a class or two on development throughout a lifespan. But in general when we talk about fitness and training modalities, it’s usually with adult or elite athletes in mind. I am glad Ginninderra gave me the opportunity which, in turn forced me to think outside the box. The drills I ended up going with were chase your partner and best of three wins. The idea behind the drill is that one athlete starts 2m behind another. They both start running at the same time and the kid that started at the back has to catch the runner in front of him. It makes the kids really focus on their starts and driving with power. Keeping their stride length smaller and faster as they start. As they get closer to the athlete in front of them it teaches them to start striding at full length to get into their top speed. I look forward to holding more sessions and continuing the challenge

My Lap Around the Track – Week 6

Where do I start with week 6. Yet again Ginninderra Athletics has given me the connections to propel my carer forward. This weekend I was introduced to an ex-Paralympic gold medalist and current AIS coach. I spoke with him about Elijah and the work  I have been doing with him. By the end of the conversation he had invited both me and Elijah to come alone to his training sessions at the AIS. This is a dream come true for me. To be mentored and guided in program prescription, implementation, and evaluation by a coach and athlete of his standing is just unreal. I am also so excited for Elijah and all of the great opportunities it will give him. To be able to be trained by elite coaches so that the work we do with him could potentially help him reach his goal of doing wheelchair long distance racing. The possibilities are endless and just so exciting.

Elijah on the weekend during our training sessions also improved his throwing distance by 25cms. Which for the second sessions is just such an impressive increase. It is really rewarding to see that the research and thought that goes into creating the program can pay off in such a small amount of time. It’s also interesting to see the difference in coaching experience. What I mean by this is Steve has been training and coaching in athletics for a majority of his life. So he is very good at picking up the small in consistencies in peoples form or technique which in turn improves their overall running speed once those inconsistencies have been corrected. Since working with him and learning how he looks at athletes I have noticed that it has started to rub off on me. Because I have gotten the background from university and my own research I am able to think through the issues with Elijah’s form and suggest alternatives to improve his form. I am just so stoked with my experiences and opportunities that Ginninderra are providing.