COACH'S CORNER : Coach Bio
National and International Organisations
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Sprints and Middle Distance Coaching
Ihave Level Three Athletics New Zealand Sprints and Relays and Level Two Middle distance qualifications. My depth of knowledge and experience in middle distance coaching goes well beyond the Level Two qualification but I have neither found the time to do the Level Three nor found a facilitator who would make the experience worthwhile.
Commenced coaching sprints in my final year at St Patrick’s College when I started coaching Mathew Coad as a 13 year old. I continued coaching Mathew until 1998 when I went overseas. During that period some of Mathew’s achievements were :
Moved to Wellington College in 1989 where I continued coaching Mathew Coad and my time was still heavily devoted to the demands of coaching college teams for McEvedy Shield.
Notable individual successes during that time were :
Throughout my years coaching I have always felt some tension between the short term demands of events like the McEvedy Shield Competition and the desire to work on the long term development of athletes (as was the case with Mathew Coad). My primary interest is in the long term development of athletes while at the same time achieving success in the short and medium term. After the best part of twenty years involvement with McEvedy Shield I have finally ceased coaching teams for this event to enable myself to concentrate on coaching athletes on a more long term basis.
My sprint coaching has the same influences as most New Zealand Coaches with a strong emphasis on technique and the role of the neuromuscular system (Loren Seagrave and Ralph Mouchbahani) while at the same time not overlooking the strength and endurance requirements. The experience coaching sprints has also proved valuable in coaching middle distance athletes.
Arthur Lydiard has, to some extent, influenced most New Zealand middle distance coaches. The emphasis that he placed on aerobic development is critical in middle distance coaching. In my opinion the main area of dispute is how to achieve that aerobic development. The emphasis of Arthur Lydiard was the regime of long slow miles followed by "speed work". Much modern research indicates that superior gains can be made from higher intensity training (achieved through repetitions and higher speed longer runs). Athletes may still clock up a reasonable number of "miles" but the concept of bigger gains from bigger miles is a dubious one, may lead to injury and certainly discourages a balanced programme.
A successful middle distance athlete needs a programme that incorporates aerobic and anaerobic development, technique work, strength and power (possibly but not necessarily involving weights), flexibility, speed and nutritional balance. The exact mixture of those elements depends on the event and age of the athlete.
Young athletes do not, in my opinion, need to do a large number of miles (nor should they undertake high volume intense anaerobic training). As the athlete gets older the mileage can increase and so too can the intensity and volume of the anaerobic work. While an athlete is still young is a good time to work on flexibility, speed and technique. Some strength work with mainly body weight resistance, medicine and Swiss Balls, less intense plyometrics can commence in the early teens but a serious weights programme is not necessary (if at all) until the later teens. Simple hill runs and hill repetitions can build up a lot of the lower body strength needed for middle distance running. Most athletes have very poor core strength and this leads both to injury and an inefficient technique. Core stability training therefore is very important to the long term development of the athlete and as it is low impact is suitable for young athletes.
In summary training involves :
Thursday July 17, 2003 06:43 PM -0400