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2024 Season and Nationals Reflection

It’s been a while between writing innings, but there’s no better time to do so following the final competition of the year, the National Open’s Championships. Before getting into the details of this year, in a broader sense, I’d like to outline that:

  • This has been the first year where I’d say I’ve well and truly had fun coaching, which I’m obviously happy about. A big part of that is that the people I get to work with every week are all legends.

  • This was also the first year I wasn’t coaching alongside Louis as he shifted focused on academia and teaching. He has taught me a lot of what I know - I truly think he gave me a university degree worth of knowledge on our car trips to and from training so whatever successes we’ve had to this point are largely in part due to these conversations. Much like HECS, I'll forever be in debt for the knowledge he has given me and he's going to be a beast in his field.

I’ll split this into three reflections:

  • The athletes

  • Nationals

  • General training takeaways

With this in mind, if I mention someone, it isn’t personal and nothing mentioned is intended as being negative. I’ll also leave out the kids as we coach because they’re kids. As mentioned, I work with legends and I want to ensure that whatever reflections are registered now are fulfilled, or at least developed, in 12 months time.

The athletes:

  • The national representatives

In the 2022/23 season, we had a lone national representative in Allie, who qualified for the 400m. Although we certainly had the pedigree to have more, we didn’t. Unfortunately, Al sustained an injury in the process of exploring the 400m hurdles with an old hip/adductor issue (that occurred before our coaching tenure) re-emerging. It was something that was acknowledged as a possibility going into the experiment by all parties and unfortunately, it just didn’t work out. 

Myself, Sean and Harry re-qualified for nationals.

Sean sustained a calf issue in the middle of our GPP phase after coming off a week of COVID. He rehabilitated it extremely patiently, got extremely shredded and fell in love the sauna and put himself into a position to race again. He opened up the year in a 10.8, and followed it up with a windy 10.6, being his fastest time ever. Unfortunately due to unrelated health issues, he was unable to compete at nationals but hopefully will be back more shredded and fitter than ever for next year. 

(Sean in the yellow at the beginning of his 10.6 run.)

Harry ended last season with a hamstring injury (grim start to this reflection but it’s been our reality) but immediately got to work with Mike and Louis to rehabilitate it to full health. By the time the preseason rolled around, he was able to join the group in full training which was an absolutely best case scenario given the extent of the injury. In a way, the hamstring injury gave us an opportunity to address issues which H brought in to our coaching arrangement with him and that we should have more aggressively addressed from the get go. The injury gave us an opportunity to address years of achilles tendinopathy, which was done through basic general strength loading, an increase in elastic calf capacity through extensive tempo running and a re-education into running biomechanics that I believe assisted in efficient loading of the ankle complex. We were also able to address asymmetries in hamstring strength as highlighted through Nordboard scores - perhaps an insight into a history of hamstring tears and posterior knee niggles sustained in previous years before we started working together. And, as alluded to earlier in the achilles considerations; the hamstring injury taught H control the lower-limb swing leg mechanics. He used to be an extremely ‘flicky’ sprinter with a loose shin and now, it has tidied up significantly. This was done through extensive drilling; general muscular strengthening and a lot of patience. H competed in the most comps in years with improved symptoms with his achilles and knees - although we probably re-entered the competitive season too early and fell short of getting his physical preparation to a high enough standard to compete as much as he did. After an unfortunate run of conditions and failing to secure a national qualifier earlier in the season, H competed his ass off until the very last minute until he caught a good day and executed well in the ACT. At this stage, the body was being held together by voltaren and we had been separated from consistent high quality training for months. Although symptoms were good going into nationals, we required better health and a denser body of work over the previous few months to ascend to a new level. With many positives for this season, I’m looking forward to H taking a step up in his physical development (power and acceleration qualities, as well as elastic qualities now we have the achilles settled) as a compliment to his extremely smooth and rangey running style.

(Once up and moving, H is a serious mover.)

I was able to get back into shape to run at Nationals which was a surprise. I was as fast and as strong as I’d ever been last winter, although old adductor tendon related symptoms re-emerged around June and that put me on ice until October. I raced with only 2 spikes sessions under my belt, opening in 11.3 and I slowly chipped away until I ran a windy 10.8 at Wollongong, and then a 10.71 in perfect conditions at Illawong. I backed that up shortly after running a windy 10.8 in Campbelltown and all of a sudden, I’d just run my three fastest times all within a month. After this, my body shut down to a certain degree with my left knee having a mystery flare up and everything else just feeling awful. It got to the stage where I got my knee jabbed a week out from state and then just rode it home until nationals where my training consisted of bench press and occasional sprinting. I’m super grateful for the year I’ve had and I fell back in love with competing. Shout outs to the TSD Competition Virgins (to be explained) as well as Ash McMahon who inspired me to return to competition. I’d attribute my increase in performance to simply sprinting more, lifting less and listening to when my body says that it doesn’t want to be intense on that day. Next year, I’ll probably try and join in on some more sessions with the squad and closer align my own training with theirs. I’m not sure if I’ll get back to the performance next year that I did this year given I’m getting married in October and flying away on a honeymoon in November; along with an increased need to make money and ambition with work and coaching; BUT who knows? This year proved you can accomplish a lot without requiring as much training as I thought.

(My PB run of 10.71 at Illawong. Good acceleration, wigged myself and didnt finish strong.)

The girls were all newcomers to the nationals scene. 

Denise opened up her year with absolute bombs - dropping nearly a second in her 100m PB and almost two seconds in her 200m PB. This was not a surprise to anyone as she undoubtedly had the best preseason of anyone in our group. Denise made a commitment to transforming her body, significantly improving her body composition and going hard in the gym. She didn’t really miss a session in the preseason and I think she set the tone for how to take one’s performance to another level (often taking over as the sergeant general of the warm up). As someone who used to be scared to compete over the 200m, it was even awesome to see her have a crack at the 400m at one stage as well. Following early season PBs, we decided to get back into more of a ‘training block’ over the christmas break instead of continuing to compete. Those early season performances took a toll on the body and progress begun to stagnate, so we thought this was a worthwhile opportunity to get some training back into the legs. Although times did not improve since the early portion of the season, the racing definitely improved with the 100m prelim at Nationals probably being Denise’s best race - the conditions just weren’t there to put a number down. The other moment available for a PB was at Wollongong, although Denise DQed and this was a big lesson in her development as a sprinter. For Denise to continue to improve, due to her anthropometrics, we really need to excel over the first 30-40m. Luckily, her best technical asset is her ability to endure speed with excellent speed endurance mechanics. This needs to be complimented with an increase in her accelerative abilities and by peaking her maximal velocity to another level; currently, her best 20m fly split in a 100m race is at 2.14. Denise’s best 20 fly split last year was 2.29 with significant tail wind. In order to get to 11.9, we’ll have to get that number to 2.03-4 which is extremely possible

(Denise has credited the physical and. psychological stress of the hills in our offseason as a large factor in setting up a breakthrough season.)

(Denise a few weeks out from State.)

Sasha joined our group in November, so she didn’t have a preseason at all. It was obvious from the get go that she has a lot of ability, and although she hadn’t competed recently, had some some training in her youth. We trained for 6 or so weeks with most of our running efforts <60-70m and a lot of resisted acceleration work. She opened up her season running a national qualifier at 12.3, which was obviously a pretty exciting starting point. As the season drew on, we combatted trying to train and compete concurrently and we were still trying to understand Sasha as an athlete having such little time with her. Progress stagnated as pre-existing problems with her shins and back popped up; particularly without having the opportunity to work on these with an offseason. Shin splints were kept at bay by continuing to run a low volume sprint program and we momentarily put a hold on training to gain a better understanding on the discomfort around her back. Once confident that there was nothing sinister, we plowed through to nationals with a focus on understanding the start. Sasha performed well at nationals and we’re looking forward to next year. As opposed to Denise, she has a good profile of power but we need to develop posturally in order to take her performance to a new level (and I think this will also alleviate concerns around lumbar discomfort). We <3 Mushies.

(Sash accelerating as a part of our testing day at ACU Blacktown)

We’ve coached Ruby for a few years now, but this was the first year which saw a return to sprint hurdles for her. Ruby is technically a round sound mover and has a great anthropometry for speed and hurdling (long legs, short torso) - but a return to the hurdles proved to be a great test of mental fortitude this year and as such, I was super proud to see her make it to a national competition. As with a lot of people in their early 20s (and in my own personal experience currently right now as well), you end up working weird jobs that you’re not 100% passionate about at weird hours. Towards the end of last year, Rubes decided that enough was enough and made some life changes around work. This undoubtedly had massive cascading effects on the person who was coming to training and through the period of December - April, we had our best period of training that we’ve ever had. Hurdles are the ultimate metaphor for overcoming and this was extremely relevant to Ruby. She’d often have sessions which were like having the yips and her confidence fluctuated, but during this December - April period, she was able to pull herself out of these fluctuations in confidence and continue to attack. This is something which wouldn’t have been the case in the previous few years and showed a great deal of psychological development. I had a lot of empathy with this frustration as, when I was moving up hurdle heights, I’d run into similar issues and it’d take me a lot to adjust to new heights and lengths. Getting over fear and stress is a task 10x harder than putting making your back squat bigger or running further, so I had a lot of respect for Ruby in the consistency in overcoming this pain point. Next year I anticipate another jump up in performance - however, as with Denise and Harry, an increase in hurdling performance will coincide with an increase in general athletic improvement. We need to be in the low 12 seconds over the 100m, to be strong enough to accelerate well and to handle the load of regular hurdling. 

(Example of a bad day out.. I only wanted to show this to highlight the realities of coaching and to document Ruby's progress in obtaining a national qualification standard.)

(Ruby flying over the hurdles around early March. Good days out only happen when they're built upon.)

Although she didn’t run at nationals, I’m also going to put Tash into this ‘nationals’ category as her performances in the pro-scene were outstanding. Tash won multiple gift races this year at Beachside and Newcastle, and made it through to the semis at Stawell (which is a hard feat after some tough seeding and in general, coming from outside of the Vic racing scene). There are a lot of things I’m proud of with Tash’s work this year. I think that she was able to establish strong protocols around nutrition and psychology and we were able to have better synchronicity between work completed on the track and with her external S&C coaches. I think Tash was also able to create a clearer athletic identity as a sprinter this year. She embraced her gifts as a pusher, often dominating races within the first 10m of a race and knowing that this was her strength, I think she was able to be more composed at the back end of races as others inevitably caught up. Having a clear identity as an athlete (honestly understanding your strengths and weaknesses and how they manifest in a race) can instill a great deal of confidence and routine - and can also shift the mindset towards various components of training. I like that Tash took the acceleration and speed work seriously and then when presented with some longer intensive tempo type of running, didn’t stress out knowing that it’d get tough and she wouldn’t excel at it. This kind of psychological development and understanding of sprinting is something I love seeing as a coach.

(Views from my couch watching Tash win the Beachside gift)

(Tash came a really long way this year in becoming a strong accelerator. We focused a lot on her postures gradually evolving as she climbed higher in velocity.)

  • Track Virgins

(Many of the track virgins with the virgin coaches, myself and Louis)

TSD popped a few track cherries this year. Paul, Nath, Lorenzo, Matt and Piotr all competed for the first time and Sasha and Juan raced for the first time in close to a decade. 

Paul joined mid-last year after he broke something in his wrist doing crossfit. Typical of crossfitters, they’re sadists who enjoy inflicting pain upon themselves and training hard. Paul took to the 400m and absolutely ripped in without fear. Sometimes I wondered whether Paul cared more about the time of the 400m or the level of pain at the finish line. Pauly raced around the 53-54s barrier, which is super impressive to do after such a small stint in training. He also backed up running around 11.6 in the 100m. Upon returning to crossfit, he took his training to another level and in having conversations with him, he recognises how healthy the bounce and speed of running track is for general athleticism. He showed a tonne of leadership with the younger squad members, kept training fun and encouraged everyone to push their limits to the max. Great first season for Paul.

(Paul getting his lid off after axing himself in a 400m, much to the anger and arousal of the SOPAC officials)

Lorenzo was an intern with TSD as a sports science student at ACU. During his internship, he’d join me in training before coaching begun and we ran experiments with things like long sled sprints. Once he completed his internship, he hung around and continued to train a few times a week with us. He took the plunge and competed at the end of last year, opening up his season by almost face planting out of the blocks and running around 12.8 from memory. Towards the end of the season, he finished at 12.2 and now we’re on the hunt to go sub 12 as soon as possible. Lorenzo has fallen in love with the biomechanical side of sprinting and now doing an internship at NSWIS. He is in excess of over 5.1Hz (which is pretty crazy) - a bit more stride length to match his world class cadence and he’ll easily clear 12 seconds next year. Lorenzo’s a great hype guy in training and gets off on beating training partners out of the blocks.

(Lorenzo showcasing his impressive cadence and scurrying acceleration skills)

Piotr, the Polish Gazelle, was also an intern originally from ACU as well. So far, the best interns we’ve had, are the ones who ditch the internship to a certain degree and just get into the training as much as possible to experience what the athletes are going through. The original plan with Piotr had nothing to do with running and everything to do with coordination as understood in the most general way possible. The first time doing A-Skips completely disarmed Piotr - wrong arm, wrong leg; random skip timings, etc. Months later, and only training 1-2 times a week, he put himself into a position to compete and ran 12.2. After running some relays, it’s evident that he is more of a 200m guy and we’ll look to do more of that in the future as his long and elastic frame can bound the track at high speeds. More training, a bit of power and continuing to develop the basics of block clearance will lead to immense improvements going into next year.

(Piotr probably timing the drop of some hardstyle while passing through the timing gates.)

Nath was once a student with Dr. Mike at ACU and has experience in sports coaching. He’s Mr. Consistent at training and took the chance this year to get into some competing as well. Nath loved the relays, running at both State Relays and club meets in late 2023. The relay training sessions we did around that time were probably some of the funnest we’ve had and I’ll try and schedule more in next season. Nath does a good job of balancing the training schedule of the day and his own curiosities, for example, completing an acceleration session and understanding that he won’t be able to make training the following day, doing 200m of lunges; or going for a 50km bike ride for some reason. Towards the end of this year, he started to grasp the technique and intent of early acceleration. Next year, I want to work with him on learning how to actually ‘bounce’ at high speeds as he’s a like a high powered lawn mower ripping up the ground. 

(Nathan eating it at the end of his first 200m competition)

Juan returned to competition for the first time since High School which was awesome to see. It’s a hard task for someone to do as a lot of the memories, expectations, emotions, etc. that you experience as a teenager continue to linger into your 20s at track meets (at least in my experience it was like that) and it can be really off putting in returning to the competitive space. Juan got better and better the more he competed and a lot of the physical niggles that sometimes popped up during training seemingly began to alleviate. He’s a smooth operator type of a runner, and if layered with a bit of power, I think he’ll come closer to the 10 second barrier than he knows. On top of that, Juan has been a wizard in helping Mike create gadgets, gizmos and algorithms to help us monitor the performance of our athletes in competitive environments. Such a beast.

(Juan's disgustingly smooth running style)

Matt rocked up towards the end of last season and put in a huge body of work over the offseason. Coming from a cricketing and school sport background, there’s an adjustment to joining a sprint group if you want to do it right. I think earlier on in the offseason, we weren’t able to tap into the requisite intensity to push speed and power qualities - and similar to Paul, being the sicko that he is, there were times where he’d go an run a half marathon on an off day. Prior to the competitive season, Matt begun embracing his weaknesses more and more and we got to the point where he could finally squat more than he could bench, which was a huge milestone.. As we got into the competitive season, he competed in a wide range of events over many competitions. After he absolutely flogged me in a 400m at Campbelltown one week, along with his random cardio obsession, it was obvious that he’d be more likely to succeed in the 400m than in the short sprints. The times dropped week after week, ultimately running a 50.7 in March which was a huge achievement. For the 50.7 to become a 49 or a 48 next season, the 200m needs to go from 22.8 to something much quicker. We’ll do our best to become a faster, more efficient athlete as a priority and to address some general physical deficiencies (mobility, strength, power and elasticity). Matt’s definitely started to become a student of the sport and I believe that this is a great precursor to success in athletics.

(Matt and Pauly bounding down the back straight as a part of a 400m prep session)

I’m gonna slot Paddy into the ‘Track Virgins’ category. He’s a footy (league) player and the only thing that has stopped him from competing is that ANSW doesn’t permit the one off trial experience at competitions. Although we’ve had many field sport athletes come and go through our group on short 6-8 week stints, Paddy has hung around and continued to get faster and more powerful with us going into the footy season this year. As far as athletic development goes for team sport field athletes, I think he’s a great testament to how it can be done right (although he skips his squats too often). Paddy has gotten up to >9m/s as a roughly 100kg 18 year old. Imagine that charging at you. He trains in spikes and on the track, which I think is a great sign for future foot and hamstring health and has refined his technical model to be extremely efficient and smooth. Paddy is probably training at 110%+ of the speed demands of his sport and it’s cool to see the physical changes that come with that. Great vibes, apparently puts in a good effort at a christmas party and our groups gotta get out to a game at one point.

(Paddy ripping up the 1080 in the hallways of ACU Strathfield. We used the 1080 when usual acceleration sessions were rained out. Incredible device, but unfortunately it's logistically not viable on regular occasions for us.)

Nationals Recap

A lot of the recap of for our athletes can be found above. Across the board, I was satisfied for the performances. It wasn’t a competition to run a PB in, unfortunately, with times across the board for all athletes being significantly lower than seasons best in the preliminary rounds. I was happy with the way our athletes navigated the stress of the event and prepared in the weeks leading in.

General reflections:

  • The athletes at the top of the podium have raced a lot.

  •  I do think that preparing for a single competition and preparing for a championship event are not the same thing. With the current cohort of athletes I’m working with now, I don’t know if it’s necessary to prepare for championship events specifically as none of our athletes are of that caliber to waltz through to a final. At this stage, we want to be able to just hit a higher peak without the consideration of it being replicated over multiple days. But, overall, I think that the competitive density of the top athletes in the 100m and 200m probably is a testament to the specific positive adaptations made through competition, having the confidence to nail your race model and being able to physically tolerate a high density of high intensity work.

  • The athletes who are really good are extremely autonomous.

  • In watching athletes at the warm up track, many of the higher performing athletes at the competition were well and truly doing their own thing. They weren’t in constant conversations with their coaches, certainly not conversing about the specifics of the upcoming event. They were in their own universe, doing their own warm up and for the most part, being pretty loosey goosey in that environment. I think this speaks true to how much of the athlete journey needs to be held responsible to the athlete. At the height of the season, the athletes destiny falls into their own hands as the coach has done their best to that stage to physically, psychologically, tactically and technically prepare the athlete.

  • The best coaches shut up at the warm up track

  • It was funny to me seeing coaches coaching at the warm up track in the sense that they were still providing technical cues and feedback to the athlete. In my opinion, this is just a huge red flag. I enjoyed being at the warm up track so much because I could see some of the best coaches in Australian T&F history do their things and many of those coaches took that opportunity to step back rather than speak up. At this stage of competition, there’s nothing more to learn. There’s only the possibility of creating more stress and confusion. I vibed with the coaches who just looked ‘comfortable’ and ‘themselves’ at that moment - many of those were just calm in nature and probably helped regulate the emotional anxiety of the event rather than freaking them out even more.

  • Coaching practice seems to be improving and it was nice to see the other young lads coaching as well.

  • Firstly, who am I to judge? And what do I know? This is just an opinion of someone from the outside, so don’t think of it too much. I think one of the pain points from a coaches perspective is when there’s a misalignment of successful performance and coaching practice. One of my motivations to get into coaching was to see if I could be successful in doing it differently because I didn’t like the general Australian sprint coaching. Some of these old school coaching styles are seemingly fading out. I want to shout out Andrew Murphy and Chris Dale as I think, from my perception, leading Australian sprint coaching to a higher level with their work. I was lucky to hang out with Chris a bit over the weekend and his insights has definitely inspired me to push myself further as a coach. Some of the regimes which have a survival of the fittest reality seem to be dying out, which I think is a good thing, and will create a more sustainable and successful athletic cohort in the higher levels of performance. High performance coaching requires reflection, critical thinking and nuance. Also, shout outs to Jack Darcy and Vas Krishnan. I just thought it was sweet to see other dudes around my age trying to figure it out. I’ve found coaching really hard in my short career and I’m sure they’ve shared that experience, and to be in a position to have athletes at a national level competition would have meant a great deal of time and dedication.

  • Manual therapy is probably required to get through a competition and be at the highest level.

  • There were many beds out on the track. I see it at every competition, but it’s something that I’ll have to upskill in over the coming years if I’m to try manage competitions with many athletes.

  • You have to work backwards from championship competitions

  • This is alluded to in the first point about racing regularity, but I think that it’s a point that has to permeate through everything. The warm up track at nationals was a random 70m 5 lane track surrounded by dirt and marquees. At Bankstown, our athletes almost have the track to themselves. Now, we’re surrounded by high profile, testy athletes and coaches with absolutely zero spatial awareness wandering around and effectively warming up with a familiar routine isn’t as easy. For that reason, I start to think that we should create warm ups that can be done in close spaces, as this will also be useful for wet weather training and competition. It makes me want to create protocols which allow athletes to modify their warm up easier if they’re to be placed in Heat 10 instead of Heat 1. Although I strongly believe that what is done prior to the race is insignificant compared to the work completed over the previous 10 months, I want to create more steadfast protocols to handle events where there’s not much space and one needs to be flexible with their time.

  • It’s really hard to have a completely good coaching day

  • With everyone of those coaches who I think are at the top of the Australian totem pole, they had both wins and losses with athletes whose stakes are 100x higher than the stakes of my own athletes. For every win that they had, they also had a loss seemingly, and I don't think that because their athlete didn’t have their best day that it means they failed as a coach. Whenever the time comes for me to have higher responsibilities and races with financial implications, I hope I’ve got the head on my shoulders that can manage the stresses of wins and losses proportionally as I think it’s human nature to experience loss at 10x than any win.

  • General training takeaways

  • Capacity underpins intensity

  • I’ve always wanted to shift my athletes training towards a program which is high in intensity. Lots of speed, power and acceleration. But, with the athletes I work with, it took me until this year to embrace more moderate variations of typically high intensity work and I think this was able to facilitate higher intensities and more regular competition exposure. I’ve always steered clear of slower running, for example and our training program involved a lot of resisted acceleration work in regular running shoes. As much as I’d like to run a really high intensity program, it’s just not appropriate with the capacity of the athletes I work with and it’s not like they have access to regular therapy as well.

(Athletes indulging in some tempo running a few days following competition. Wasn't a day to run fast, and running generally isn't a bad thing. 4-5x150m was a common prescription).

  • Athlete’s need to take responsibility for their journey

  • The athletes who took it upon themselves to make the change were the ones who profited from the training experience. If you’re honest with yourself about where you currently are, and you’re not happy about it, you need to be the agent for change. Myself and Mike will be the guides to provide a framework for you to thrive in, but if you learn how to do things such as: manage diet, sleep, stress, competition routine, reflect on wins and losses, initiate conversation with coaching staff; your chance of succeeding increases 10x. In the past, I’ve taken responsibility for my mistakes as a coach and I’ll continue to do so moving forward and I hope that the athletes I work with continue to do the same.

  • Paint a picture of the athlete through monitoring

  • We did a much better job at monitoring progress of our athletes throughout the year both in and out of season. To give more accurate coaching advice, broader context is required. I don’t understand how someone can give technical feedback if they don’t know whether the technical model they’re advising towards is physically even possible. We tested a bunch of general metrics (composition, jump testing, windgate, mid thigh pull, hamstring and groin, etc.) as well as a continual testing of speed and acceleration; and tracked them through the year. Most of our athletes are simply not powerful enough in the broadest sense to have efficient acceleration mechanics. I think that’s starting to be better understood as simple metrics such as CMJ scores paint a really clear picture to the athlete’s ability to project their body through space without pre-existing momentum. If anything, I don’t think that the results of these tests were communicated well enough to our athletes by providing context to the numbers but as we’ve accumulated more data, these numbers are being better understood. This year we also did a lot of in-race testing through the use of GPS data. Once its data was validated through Louis’ honors program, but putting it up against validated speed measuring devices, we were able to create entire race profiles. There were instances in which athletes had ambitions of running 10.7-8 for the 100m, but they were behind even me by 0.15 at the 10m mark. It’s an absurd hole to have in a race and bit by bit, we’re able to paint a better picture of the capabilities of the athlete. This information put alongside 100m race modeling metrics will outline where the athletes deficiencies lie and shape our work for next season.

(Mikes been interested in the potential of GPS in sprints for a while. He's strapping me into a vest here back in 2020 when we first started working together.)

(The standard of the reports generated now. Never understood how a coach could accept guess work when it came to competition analysis. Our eyes cannot be trusted.)

  • Systemisation

  • I’ve talked a lot about this this year, but unless you’re working with 5-6 people, try to get everyone on the same page. Particularly if you’re not working with someone fighting for 0.0001% improvement, the demands of a sprinter are extremely common. The metrics reflecting qualities of strength, power, speed and acceleration are universal in nature and they gain meaning when eveyone is tested under those premises. The social implications of getting everyone on the same program are huge as well. The vibe of a group putting their heads in the scrum with one another cannot be beaten.

  • Balance

  • This year I did less coaching than the previous 3 and it made me enjoy it a lot more. Mike and I alternated throughout the year and I think it worked a lot better than in the past where we both felt a bit overworked and underappreciated. My partner was able to accept it a bit more as I was around home too. If anything, it may have helped with my communication with the athletes in putting in work before and around coaching and not overly relying on the in-person experience. It also encouraged athlete autonomy, which in turned helped themselves. As a part of balance moving forward, I’ll probably join in with the group in training a bit more to save some time and to try and create time to create revenue streams around coaching. I’ve been saying that for years but it’s the only way I’ll be able to coach sustainably.

10 pages later and my season reflection is done.

Many more people who have trained with us haven't been mentioned, but many other field sport athletes, physios, trainers, coaches athletes (shout out Aiden and Claudia) have swung by at various and contributed to what we're making.

Thanks to Bankstown Athletics and Colin Whitbread for allowing us to do what we do.

What are the themes for next year? Well, I think it's evident that many of our athletes require greater force related qualities, so I won't be expecting too many big vomit inducing lactic baths for our short sprinters. I've also realised that if coaching was just about coaching, it'd be a lot easier - so a greater push to enhance the financial side of coaching will be made (hopefully not at the loss of integrity). And, one thing in a broader sense that I've enjoyed a lot this year, is connecting with coaches both in and out of track and field, and learning off of those who are doing things better than me,

This has been a good one and I think next years going to be even better.

(Members of our squad after running at State Relays. It was the first time I can remember Open's sprints relays representing Bankstown. It was also super satisfying beating clubs such as Syd Uni. Our changes were elite that day.)

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