250 delegates attend European Sprints and Hurdles Conference | 12.11.2012
|Around 250 delegates from 16 countries attended the European
Sprints and Hurdles Conference in Warwick at the weekend.
Renowned sprints coach Loren Seagrave, the opening keynote speaker, was in no doubt about the value of the conference and spoke in glowing terms about what he regards as "the best coach education programme in the world."
He began by explaining his coaching philosophy with the bold statement that "if it's not broken, break it. Then re-engineer the athlete." He spoke about planning with reference to periodisation and preparing for the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow by using specific examples from athletics as well as other sports such as American Football and powerlifting.
Seagrave also gave presentations about fault correction for advanced hurdlers and acceleration and starting for beginner and intermediate sprinters.
Seagrave was followed by the first of three presentations from legendary American coach Tom Tellez, who focused on training for hurdles, addressing the issue of the approach to the first hurdle.
He followed this by speaking about the training of sprint legend Carl Lewis, who he coached to nine Olympic gold medals.
Tellez, who has also coached the likes of Olympic 200m champion Joe DeLoach and former 100m world record holder Leroy Burrell, spoke of the importance of coach education.
"I hope that the material I presented is valuable and helps them to become better coaches. Coach education is crucial, especially in the world right now; we are not producing coaches that are of a young age, we have got to start producing coaches that are interested in coaching and get them to know about biomechanics," said Tellez.
Wigert Thunnissen, the Dutchman who coached the Netherlands to a bronze medal in the men's 4x100m at the 2003 World Championships in Paris and recently guided the women's sprint relay team to a new national record of 42.45 seconds, spoke with specific reference to the challenges of coaching the 4x100m relay and also started the proceedings on Sunday by speaking more generally about the Dutch approach to relays.
Over the course of the two days there was also a presentation from Michel Afilaka, who spoke about training philosophy, progression and development with direct reference to British sprint sensation Adam Gemili, who trains under Afilaka's tutelage.
Frenchman Pierre-Jean Vazel talked about the history of sprint training methods whilst James Hillier spoke about constructing training programmes for developing hurdlers.
"We have a huge offering in terms of coaching development across the country and the events that we run like this one are the pinnacle. This is one of the few opportunities that we have to focus on slightly more elite issues because a lot of things are targeted at coaches that work with younger athletes. Here we could get into some of the issues that affect Olympic and world level athletes and give a huge opportunity to hear speakers from abroad which we don't get too often. This was also a great chance for coaches to get together to talk which is very important," said Richard Wheater, Head of Coaching for England Athletics and UKA'S Event Development Manager.
Content from the European Sprints and Hurdles Conference will be available to view at: http://coaching.uka.org.uk