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IFAC Reflections Part 2
January 22, 2019
A review of Jerome Simian’s workshops on physical preparation for sport. I had to choose between different “strands” of coaching topics at the IFAC conference in Loughborough. A difficult choice, not wanting to miss out on some excellent speakers. I chose to attend Simian’s because of a quote I heard on the HMMR podcast: “I […]

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Stronger, higher and better fuelled: athlete support day in Exeter.

“Defatted Wheat Germ? That’s Special K!”

how to jump higherThe horrors of breakfast cereals were the opening topic on the latest Athlete Support Day in Exeter.

Healthier and affordable alternatives were given in this interactive presentation with the kids and some Mums.

One of the important parts of the Excelsior Athletic Development Centre is Parent and Coach education. The Mums do the shopping and cooking for the most part, so it is great that they attend these parts of the day.

How to start resistance training

  • Move well
  • Move further
  • Move faster
  • Do more of it
  • Then add resistance

That is the simple plan about getting stronger for sport.

girls pull upsUnfortunately, the prevailing “wisdom” is just to add load and get bigger as quickly as possible.

Rugby is especially notorious for this and the two young rugby players had been given advice which could lead to then getting injured.

I spent the time showing all the youngsters how to progress movement and loads according to their own ability.

Some were good at lower body work, some at trunk work, but all were weak in the upper body (except for the two athletes who train weekly with me: see picture to right). 

I always try and get the athletes to coach each other to aid understanding, and it was good to see the improvement as the session progressed.

Jump Higher!

With high jumpers, volleyball and netball players attending, I thought it prudent to teach jump technique and training drills.

There are many different ways to jump, and having a variety of strategies allows the athletes to choose (consciously or unconsciously) the best option when needed.

how to jump higherAn example is the one or two foot take off: what is ideal and what happens in the maelstrom of competitive sport are often two different things.

By training with variety we can help the young athlete develop their jumping and landing skills.

The co-ordination challenges of the drills really stretched the athletes. They were outside of their comfort zone for some time.

But, they took it on and tried. I was very impressed with their “have a go” attitude.


We finished with some new stretching exercises to help relax and unwind the athletes.

They all now receive follow up hand outs and video clips to help them practice at home.

Thanks to all of the people who came: a credit to their parents, schools and sports clubs.

The next Athlete Support Day is on Tuesday 23rd July

Weekly training sessions are run at the Sports Centre on Wednesday nights from 1830-2030. Contact James on james@excelsiorgroup.co.uk for more information.

Thanks to Exeter University for hosting the day, I was impressed with their new meeting room set up and how user friendly it was.

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Athletic Development Coach – WILLAND
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Athletic Development Coach Venue: WILLAND Date: Wednesday 20th February. Time 0900-1630. Booking deadline Friday 8 February Is the ‘Athletic Development Coach’ course for me? This particular course is for our junior members to attend. If you are interested in attending please contact Carly. What will I learn? Course Goals and Objectives Candidates will be expected […]