Some good results over the weekend at the first official athletics meet of the year. Oscar Coggins won the Mens open 1500m and Camden Richter was 2nd in the Womens Open. Both in strong times considering the training phase they are currently in.
Also impressed to see some of the younger kids getting involved considering that there were no age categories in this competition and they had to race with HKs top athletes. Zoe Yip also competed in a 4KM race for charity on Sunday and won the youth category. Well done to all and see you at race 2.
Full results here http://hkaaa.com/en/comp_news_details.php?id=27&news_id=80
Mens 100m - Arthur Liu 14.32
Mens 800m - Mahan Malhotra 2.13
Mens 1500m - Oscar Coggins 4.10, Mahan Malhotra 4.42, Clement Beylier 5.37
Womens 1500m - Camden Rickter 5.02, Jade Saunders 5.42, Victoire Beylier 5.57
Congrats to those who raced DIV 1 School athletics over the past week. Outstanding performances from Matt Tan who broke the 1500m and 3000m B grade records. His brother James also had a great meet with a 2nd and 3rd place in the 5km and 1500m A grade. Jasmine Drew picked up two silvers in the 800m and 1500m for the C grade girls and Miles W, Swiss D and Oscar Wong were top 8 in their events. All athletes are on our YDP programme. Unfortunately most of our other programme athletes are not in D1 schools so didn't get to race.
Lessons Learnt on Camp with the Worlds Best Coach and his athletes
We set off to sunny Gran Canaria for a 10 day camp with arguably the worlds best triathlon coach and his squad of champion athletes. Everyone, including me was slightly nervous as we were keen to make out that HK athletes are stronger than they are sometimes perceived.
Due to the high turnover of families leaving HK its extremely difficult to build a squad that retains older athlete role models, who inevitably inspire potential athletes to achieve what it takes to be a professional. This has meant that the squad has always been very young and in need of professional athletes to inspire them, something not available to them in HK. One of my main aims of the camp was to inspire our athletes, give them confidence and get them thinking on a more competitive level.
Day 1 and lesson 1.
Staying calm in a difficult situation. Missed flight connection and lost luggage meant showing up with no equipment. Very frustrating and slightly embarrassing. Putting a positive spin on it we agreed as a group that staying calm in a difficult situation was a good skill to have and we all spontaneously laughed. When this happens in future the athletes will be prepared, confident and know what steps to take. Learning great life skills already.
Lesson 2 - Weighing in with the pros
The biggest reason we were there was of course for the training. To experience what Olympians and World champions do in training on a weekly basis, guided by a world champion coach. Current Olympic champion Nicola Spirig, Current ITU long distance World Champ Mary-Beth Ellis as well as Junior World Champ Lucas Verzbicas were all in attendance. Training with them gave massive confidence to our guys and pushed them faster than they have ever trained before. It made the athletes realise the amount of hard training done by top level athletes and that there are no complaints when tough sets are handed out. Oscar, Cricket and Henry performed extremely well and took their training to a new level. It was also great to have the input of the other trisutto coaches and to learn about training in their countries.
Lesson 3 - Unconventional training practices
There were also some unconventional ideas to experience which may not have strict scientific reasoning but obviously have their place and are backed up with years of results.
Lesson 4 - Independance outside of training
Whilst on camp other vital skills that the athletes learn on camp with no parents or helpers around include shopping, traveling, cooking, health, cleaning, time management, budgeting and recovering to name a few. Each day an athlete took turns to buy and cook healthy meals under my nutritional guidance. Cricket, Henry and Oscar are all very capable in this respect, and took most of these duties in their stride without the need of much input from me. In HK basic skills are rarely taught but are essential ones in becoming a good athlete.
Lesson 5. Coach-athlete trust
The message from this camp for performances coaches is that almost anyone can prescribe a training session or plan. When two coaches set the same programme and one gets better results than the other, that is the true art of coaching and where Brett is a step above the rest. It is the interaction of the coach and athlete and how the athlete is guided through the many obstacles to the top of the podium by squeezing out an extra few % that makes the difference. Many of these obstacles have nothing at all to do with what sessions are given and often the training becomes inconsequential. None of the athletes on the camp questioned the coach no matter what the session was, there was 100% trust to get the best results. Brett's squad produces continual results whereas other squads "have hit and miss" years, whether they be private or National federations.
On a local level our 26 squad has consistently produced youth and junior athletes over the past few years by applying many of the same training principles to our individual athletes as Brett does. We also pride ourselves on having a high level of coach-athlete interaction, something I see very few other coaches able or willing to do. Standing on the track shouting with everyone doing the same set isn’t good coaching. Letting your athletes know they are all individually important to your squad is essential for development and they will reward you with hard work if you apply this philosophy to you coaching.
Lesson 6. They have what it takes
Our athletes will return home very fit, having gained a huge amount of experience, and with a renewed steeled confidence. These key ingredients are going to be invaluable to them, whether it helps turn them into champions or just very rounded individuals. These experiences and skills will certainly make them very hard to beat this season.
By the end of the camp Brett gave us all a lecture that 2020 Olympics is a very realistic goal for Cricket and Oscar based on their work ethic and ability. A plan has been put into place to get them there through the ITU rankings. The training pathway in our opinion is the easy part as they are both on a great programme and are beginning to think like winners. It will be politics, social pressures and all the difficulties of living in HK that make it that much harder. Priorities have to be put in place and sacrifices made. Henry also demonstrated that he should be racing ITU for the depleted HK team and performed better than he has in a while.
See you all on the start line and thanks to Brett for letting us join the group.
TALENT ID VIDEO - Series 2Part 2 of a great series on Talent ID. This is a fantastic presentation and some of the concepts can be taken on board in sports like rugby in Hk, who have a reasonable development programme.
However, for triathlon we are so far behind with very little talent ID and an inadequate setup to nurture potential athletes, it's pointless to think about the content of the video just yet. Three very simple concepts that can be applied to triathlon that would make an overwhelming improvement.
1. Allow the best athletes to race and make it easy for them to do so. Make selections based on results. This will produce role models and make triathlon an attractive sport to be involved in.
2. Encourage the clubs to develop potential athletes with incentives and do not force those athletes away from the club once they have reached a good level. Currently no clubs in HK are focusing on producing potential Elite athletes.
3. Set up good talent ID protocols and recruit from schools and other sports clubs such as swimming.
This will only work if the first two points are achieved or no athlete or parent will want to be involved.
Let's hope this year something can be done. With only 3 senior athletes currently on the national squad something must be done ASAP. It will take a majority of the trihk committee to take action before any changes can be implemented.