James Marshall gave advice and training to young athlete's from the South West.

Athlete Support Day helps aspiring young sports people

On Tuesday 9 April the University of Exeter hosted the third Athlete Support Day at the Sports Park on Streatham Campus.

Run by the renowned Excelsior Athletic Development Centre, the four hour workshop offered teenage sports people from across six different sports the opportunity to develop their speed and coordination.

Coach James Marshall led the event and explained the importance of offering specialist training to all abilities. He said: “We aim to provide affordable access to cutting edge training techniques and systems for all ages and abilities. When millimetres and split seconds separate champions from the ‘Also Rans’ it’s important that those with serious intent have specific advice, support and guidance with their Athletic Development programmes.

“With ever increasing time and money restraints, plus a pressure to succeed academically, parents and young people often find it hard to balance the demands placed upon them. The University of Exeter have recognised the need for quality support and advice for young people who are aspiring to join their High Performance Programme. That is why they have kindly supported the Athletic Development Centre.”

“Producing Champions is expensive. GB medals at the Beijing Olympics worked out at about £5 million pounds each and just over £4.5 million for London 2012 medals. Since 2008 some £100m per year has been invested in 1,200 athletes competing across 47 different sports in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games”

 For the fortunate few funding is good, but breaking into the elite levels is tough. In a world full of outdated training ideas and fitness misnomers it’s difficult for young coaches, sportsmen and women to get a fair chance to progress onto the big stage. It’s not doing things well, but doing the right things well that earns the glory”

Gary Knight, Team GB’s Blind football coach, attended the event giving the athletes an insight into the demands placed upon footballers during the London 2012 games. He said “The aim of the seminar was to give the participants an idea of life in the Olympic Village, maintaining routines, overcoming the mental challenges in a difficult environment. At these events it is often as much about being mentally strong as it is physically strong.”

The aspiring athletes were then put through their paces with a challenging speed development workshop using innovative drills and coaching practices. This challenged their coordination immensely, as well as targeting muscles that they have not been using for a while.

This demanding session created a thirst so, whilst rehydrating, the athletes took part in a Hydration Myth-busting interactive quiz and talk.

The day finished when the Athletes were asked to put into practice their own ideas by creating games. Play is an important part of Long Term Athletic Development, so rather than getting well drilled athletes, the aim is to get creative thinkers.

The next Athlete Support Day is taking place during Spring Half Term. The University of Exeter Sport also hosts weekly training sessions on a Wednesday night with James. All teenage sports people are welcome.

For coaches James is running two SPEED Training workshops at the Peninsular Coaching Conference at Marjons University on April 21st.  A few places are still available. For further information please visit the Excelsior Athletic Development website.

Date: 11 April 2013

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