Report from the coaching seminar
A brief overview of the proceedings at the first coaching seminar/forum
This was something well overdue, and although it was initially a bit directionless, that was probably a feature (although unexpected!). I got there a bit early and watched the last 30 mins or so of Hilton running a training session, including some motorpaced flying 200's. Hilton's assistant needs to work on his motorcycle riding a little, in particular holding a line, but Hilton himself rode perfect F200 lines and set up his riders beautifully for their efforts.
On to the forum/seminar. Around 20 coaches were present. There really wasn't a set agenda for this, I think a major goal for it was to see what we (as coaches) wanted. John Beasley started off with a bit of a Q&A session, and immediatly was drawn into dangerous grounds, where he was discussing female cyclists and the issues that occur with coaching them that are different to coaching male riders. I kept out of that one! Anyway .. after that I asked him to elaborate on training sprinters and that was useful information for me and a few others. There's a real lack of information on coaching sprinters, and a glut of stuff on enduros. Enduros are reasonably easy to coach, by comparison, 'get out and ride your bike lots' and do some intervals that are tailored to your goals. Sprinters on the other hand really need to do a lot of strength and power training which involves gym and on the bike strength work, and the trick is to know what sort of gym work and how best to fit it in with riding. I wanted to really pick John's brains on this, and got a good few leads. I read a book recently by Boyd Epley, who pioneered the use of gym strength work for college level athletes in the US in the 60's and 70's, and I was wondering how best to use that for my power riders (Nath!), and John basically confirmed what I hoped to be the case, that the same sort of resistance training is appropriate - squads, deadlifts etc.
We then meandered a bit, and there was a brief discussion on power meters vs heartrate monitors. I waved the Powertap flag a bit here, as for a coach, a Powertap is a good tool as it's so quick and easy to swap between riders.
There was some more randomish questions, and then we drifted into a discussion of what 'we' wanted from the sessions, which was productive - this ended up being a decision to involve each of the forum attendees in giving presentations on specific topics (a great idea) and having the forum probably once every two months or so. There was also a little bit of passionate discusion from one coach (who's name I can't recall, I'm sorry) who was beating on about what we should be doing to change the sport - he had a point and I think most of us agreed with him to a certain extent, but it got muddy and I think his message was lost in the noise. Suffice to say that the gist of it was that we should remind riders and coaches of the bigger picture and that they're part of a sport and that they need to contribute and share their knowledge and time, not just take from the sport for their own personal goals all the time. I agree whole heartedly with his sentiment here, although when he drifted into denigrating people who see D grade at Glenvale as a major goal I was a bit non plussed. I think he got a bit carried away! For many riders in the real world, a win at D grade at Glenvale or St Kilda is a major goal, and that's not one I think that should be seen in a negative way. Everyone competes at the highest level they can based on circumstances and their genetics and potential. If that's elite level, or D grade crits, they're equally valid in my eyes.
Anyway, after that moment of rigour, it settled down again and the general gist of it was that we need to collaborate more (agreed!), coaches are welcome to attend John Beasley's and Brad Robins' sessions etc and we will have bimonthy forums/seminars where there'll be topics and speakers.
I will be going along to the gym that he uses with his Malaysian sprint squad to see how they do it, and also his track sessions when I can to learn, and hopefully get involved a little.