Sunday 22nd October 2017
One week on from the latest instalment of Welsh Athletics National Coaching Conferences, our 4th since March 2015, we can reflect on a great day that formed part of a significant weekend for Athletics in Wales. The coaching conference returned to East Wales with the Coldra Court Hotel, Newport playing host. With arguably the best attended coaching event for many years, the atmosphere throughout the day was very positive with coaches taking time to exchange coaching stories from the season just gone.
Scott Simpson (Head of Coaching and Performance) opened the conference setting the scene for the day and introduced our keynote presenter for 2017.
This year saw the return of GB Olympic Coach Fuzz Caan. In his usual high energy and engaging style, Fuzz entertained the 90 strong audience with some very honest and humble reflections on his career so far. His presentation ‘Falling Forwards’ provided a plethora of key messages for coaches to reflect on with regards to their own coaching environment and methods of coaching. These were underpinned with witty anecdotes and insightful real life stories.
The Science behind Sprinting by Hans Von Lieres (Cardiff Met), Neil Wheeler (Welsh Athletics) and Matt Archer (Sport Wales).
This presentation provided three distinct perspectives on sprinting. Hans presented from a Biomechanics perspective, providing some key findings from sprint research and specifically with reference to his own PHD thesis focusing on the Initial Acceleration, Transition and Maximum Velocity phases of the sprint.
Neil presented from a coaching perspective and the requirement for coaches to interpret, understand and learn from the science to help influence coaching practice. Each section of Neil’s presentation provided examples of how we can teach the science and movement of sprinting through targeted skill development tasks.
Matt concluded the presentation touching on the Physical Preparation required to underpin sprinting. The body needs to be able to produce and tolerate large amounts of force in the most efficient way possible. The movement quality and strength required to achieve high speed sprinting is a key contributor to performance.
Preparing Athletes for Senior Success by Adam Rattenberry (Welsh Athletics) and Matt Craythorne (Sport Wales).
Adam and Matt provided case study examples from our junior development programmes. Through a series of simple performance measures, the data collected provided a powerful message for coaches highlighting the demands that exist to help athletes physically prepare for sport-specific performance while aiming to minimise the risk of injury.
Maximising Your Training Sessions by Felicity Hares (Sport Wales) and Chris Beaumont (Sport Wales).
During this interactive workshop, Felicity and Chris encouraged coaches to reflect on their current practice, while challenging thinking about what they do to maximise training sessions for athletes before, during and after training.
To conclude the conference, Scott presented on the strategic direction for 2018, with particular reference to the Regional and National development programmes. Coach and Athlete development is at the heart of what we do and is essential for long term success at senior level.
This year’s conference also saw the launch of our 2ndPhysical Preparation resource. Copies were provided to each of the conference attendees during Adam and Matt’s session. Both Goldie Sayers and Fuzz Caan praised the work being done by Welsh Athletics in providing coaches with such high quality resources.
Thank you to all coaches and presenters for an excellent day.
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