What a great trip down into ‘hobbitses land’ as my coaching mentor calls it! The annual SWEN (South West Endurance Network) Coaching Conference in Barnstaple was a feast for the coaching mind.
The wheel of emotion shows how quickly an athlete can interchange from the ‘normal’ brain into a ‘fast’ brain state in which they are unable to judge or react in a ‘normal’ way..The day began with a brilliant overview of the athlete mind by Amanda Wilding. The outstanding message was that we as coaches need to help our athletes through their bad mental states, and not hinder them with the wrong words or actions. The wheel of emotion shows how quickly an athlete can interchange from the ‘normal’ brain into a ‘fast’ brain state in which they are unable to judge or react in a ‘normal’ way. How quickly the athlete can snap out of the ‘fast’ brain state, is dictated by their immediate surroundings and support, and most importantly, the actions of this support network. For example, an athlete about to compete in a marathon will be in a ‘normal’ state unless something has happened to them recently to unhitch that normal state. Maybe the athlete had a bad race on this course last year, maybe it’s their first marathon or maybe they forgot their gels and gel belt. How they deal with this situation can be either hindered by their coach or supported using the right information at the right time. As a coach, by not overloading them and providing only positive solutions, the athlete can switch back to a ‘normal’ brain state more quickly. This enables them to stay in the middle zone of the emotional wheel and not jump from fear to terror, or from anger into rage.
Author: Ivan Akira
Source: Wikimedia Commons
License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
The second coaching revelation was provided through Dr Karen Reid, a sports nutritionist and advisor to many UK athletes. She talked about the need for recovery using proper food within 30 minutes of exercise, and about recent evidence showing that milk is an effective natural sports drink. Milk, combined with a supermarket own brand shake powder provides more carbohydrate, more protein, more electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) and contains essential minerals and vitamins, than most other protein recovery shakes. The level of electrolytes in milk make it a very effective drink for combatting dehydration and are equal to if not better than many electrolyte drinks. In short, milk is amazing!
The level of electrolytes in milk make it a very effective drink for combatting dehydration and are equal to if not better than many electrolyte drinks. In short, milk is amazing!
The last gems of coaching knowledge that tickled me and I intend to use this week in training were based around sprint drills for endurance runners. We all know how inflexible us endurance runners are, yes hands up!! My athletes know how I bang on about helium balloons and pelvic buckets of water, but how important are these cues in our training and racing, and how can we correct these malfunctions in our running form? Using sprint drills of course! The position of the body whether running super fast, or whether running a marathon is the same, and is all about the central trunk. The arms help to drive your legs forwards, but if your trunk is not in the correct position your arms cannot drive proficiently. Equally your triple extension levers, or rather legs cannot push your body forwards if they are not engaged correctly by the central trunk. Using a simple march with the trunk in the correct position, i.e. not spilling any water from your pelvis, will soon tell if work needs to be done to engage the 5 foci (shoulders, elbows, pelvis, knees, ankles) of running movement correctly. Adding a simple arms above the head, or ‘mo farah’ style arms around the head, to a basic high knees drill will soon show who is using their trunk. So guess what we’re doing this Tuesday Chippenham Harriers ?…