ARA coaching conference – liveblog

Morning all.  I'm at Staverton Park, Daventry at the annual coaching conference and exhibition.  Rowperfect is showing off the new Aero sculls in the exhibition.

First session is Professor Greg Whyte and Steve Gunn talking about athlete pathways for developing athletes.

The Athlete Pathway


The relationship between the athlete and coach must be strong and have a good working basis.
The ARA vision

"Excellent coaching will enable the sustainable growth of rowing.

Application "Coaching is required for participants & crews that wish to continually improve and take on greater challenges."

The support services of physiology, biomechanics, psychology, strength and conditioning, nuturiion, massage, physio, medicine are all support services to the coach:athlete equation.

Success comes from
1 – genetic endowment – rowing is a sport where height and armspan are important
2 – the health status of the athlete – if we can keep an athlete healthy we can keep a continual training stimulus.  The more time out injured means less training and impact on performance.
3 – training – here the coach has the greatest influence

The coach needs to understand all these factors and the purpose and nature of the support services.
In the USA the most important coaches were at high schools where they develop the athlete to put them into the college programme which allowed access to national level competition.

Performance Factors

  • – Boat
  • – male versus female
  • – senior / junior and development
  • – Entry pathway
  • – heavyweight / lightweight
  • – Able bodied / adapted
  • – Determinants of performance – physiology, psychology biomechanics

Don't forget that athletes are built differently and when they are within a single crew you shouldn't treat them as all being the same.
e.g. recovery ability, power production, psychology.  Multiple factors affect performance outcomes.

Determinants of performance

  • entry pathway
  • homogeneity of athleticisim in same boat?
  • nature vs nurture?
  • how much individualisation is required?
  • How much can we individualise?

The Australians are looking at gene testing to determine performance.  I spoke to Alan Bennett who has coached at the Australian Insitute of Sport and he thinks it is producing some useful outcomes.

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