Please watch, if you're involved in cycle sport
Where do you want to go?
I've been thinking a lot about this, as over the past few years with working for Hilton (it's been almost 4 years!) in the Victorian Sprint Group program, we've seen some amazing growth and some brilliant results. It's not all been perfect, of course, lots of hard lessons have been learned and there's more to come. One of the things we need to consider is pathways into the VSG. Until reasonably recently, we'd pretty-much say yes to anyone that wanted to have a go, sprinters being rare animals. But, these days, we've got a pretty good hotbed of talent here and the VSG is full.
So what do we do with the kids that want to have a go?
We need pathways into the squad. I very briefly discussed this with Hilts yesterday, and it's softly-softly at the moment, but some ideas to toss around, based mainly on talent ID, where talent isn't just being able to ride quickly as a J15, but also being committed. We (Hilts and I) put our hearts and souls into the VSG, it's all consuming for both of us, and we expect that riders in the program are equally committed. If you're committed and prepared to bust your arse for years, we'll move heaven and earth to make the program fit you in.
How do you, as a J15 or a J17, show commitment? It's easy to see speed, just race fast. Are you in it for the long haul or just dabbling for a bit of fun before you go and do something else? There's nothing wrong with dabbling, but the VSG is not for that.
Is it realistic to expect a J17 to show long term commitment? I think it is, to a point. If you can't ever see yourself as being an Olympian sprinter, then you're dabbling - if it's something that you want, now, then we're interested in you. We know things change, and life intervenes all the time, but if it's not on the radar, you shouldn't be wasting our time. The kids I've fed up into the VSG want (at the moment) to be Olympians, Perko and Anna are their heroes. This is really important.
So, some pathways, I run a sprint group outside of the VSG, which you all know about, the aboc Sprint Squad, it's a bunch of masters guys and developmental kids and some senior riders who for various reasons aren't in state development squads (but may be working towards them). That's one pathway into the VSG - if you ride in my squad, I'll see you, and see how committed you are as well as if you have physical talent. If and when the time is right, I feed you up the chain into the VSG. I've done this with a few riders so far. This means paying me though, and that's possibly open to suggestions of nepotism, it certainly can't be the only way in and it isn't.
Other pathways - work with another coach, specialise in sprint (if you can find a coach that will let you as a J17 or J15, they're rarer than they should be), get them to speak to Hilts if you're showing the right stuff. Win sprint at Junior Vics beating the kids in the VSG, that's sure to get our attention! Get spotted by a coach or testing through Cycling Victoria, as an example Carnegie-Caulfield riders sometimes get pulled up into the VSG if they show enough talent at their club training sessions or testing sessions.
There's others - if you think of some, I want to know!
I got ride of the Adsense adverts ..
No-one wants to pay to read this (why would you?!) and no-one clicks on the Adsense adverts I had on it. So, they're gone!
I hate 'em too ...
While many bitch about their rivals ... the Llama shows real class
In the Llama blog ...
I think a lot of us who call ourselves racers can learn a lot from how Shane describes his main rival. True Class, Shane. I'm impressed but not surprised.
Congrats to CCCC
I see on the Interpipes that Carnegie-Caulfield have cancelled the Modella road race today due to concerns about high winds. I commend them for this decision. Organisers have a duty of care. I wonder what conditions are like out at Eildon today for the Junior Tour? Weatherzone suggests 72km/h wind gusts. I hope we have the same level of commitment to rider safety that CCCC have shown.
No snake-oil here!
Today I'm working in at Cycle Science Mitcham (as I do on most Thursdays). We often get reps in to try to sell us stuff. Pete, who owns the shop, has a PhD in biochem and is a very smart man and a real scientist.
So anyway... We don't stock Skins, or any of those other faux-compression clothes, for example. No evidence, go away ...
Now, today, a rep shows up, from 'Eken Human Performance Enhancement'. Yes, alarm bells are ringing ...
They sell those hologram/magnetic/snake-oil placebo bracelets that you may have seen around. Buddy, you're in the wrong place ... GTFO!
I was very fortunate to have been sent to Adelaide for two days ....
Thanks to Hilton Clarke and Tammy Ebert I got to spend the last two days over in Adelaide at the National Talent ID conference, which was a very worthwhile experience. We had presenters from all sorts of interesting fields, including a police psychologist who specialised in negotiations in siege situations and an elite track and field sprint coach. For a long time now I've wanted to speak with a track & field sprint coach, we can learn much from them and that was really valuable.
The police psych may seem odd, but as coaches we have to deal with some ... fiery ... people sometimes (I had to deal with an upset and very angry sprinter very recently, for example) and learning how the police do it was very worthwhile. They (the police) have an advantage, they always win in the end - the bad guy comes out horizontal or vertical, but always comes out, and they often have the luxury of time, where we may not, but the consequences are somewhat different too!
Jan Sterling, the former Opals coach, was also a speaker and she had a lot to say about continuing to learn and develop as coaches. It's very easy to slip into an "I know it all" mindset when coaching, but it's something we have to be very much on our guards against. Jan showed us a very powerful video about sportsmanship and suggested that (and I agree!) sportsmanship is something that coaches have a strong duty to foster in their athletes. This is a longish video, but well worth watching :
Those kids knew what the right thing do to was, and that's something that their coach must have nourished in them. I hope that any athletes I work with (and I do myself) if ever in a similar situation, would also do, with grace, the right thing.
Apart from that, we had a lot of round-table talks about coaching methods, sprint development, talent identification and so on and I had a productive meeting with Tammy and Josh (NTID program directors, basically) and now I have a new t-shirt to wear. More to come on that front soon I hope, but it was a great trip and I learned a lot and benefitted a lot from it. I hope I can pass on that benefit to those of you I work with.
I also touted the sprint series to Gary West and Sean Eadie .. Watch this space!
I got an email last night ...
Yesterday evening I got an email from velogear.com.au. They're an online bike shop of sorts I think, I haven't had anything to do with them. Because my review of the KKRM shows up a lot on Google they've asked me to review their (well, it's not theirs, they just sell it) fluid trainer. They offered to sell me one cheaply or similar as payment for my time reviewing the trainer. Some trivia, I now own 5 KKRM's! I'll be grabbing another one today too, we'd better get lots of people at Spin!
I'm not sure what to do, I won't be buying any of their trainers (we have one at CS-M and I wouldn't get one myself or recommend one either), so I'm reluctant to spend the time reviewing it when I know it's not a product I'd ever get myself or suggest to anyone that they buy.
Hrm. I guess I should say "No but thank you for considering me as a reviewer". I don't think I want to get involved in reviewing stuff for personal gain.