ITU/BG Triathlon Community Coaching Course
Port of Spain, Trinidad. March 30 – April 2nd
Winston Crooke and James Weekes from the Nevis Cycle and Triathlon Club traveled to Trinidad to attend a four day Triathlon Community Coaching Course. This course was organized by the ITU (International Triathlon Union) and funded by the BG group, to enhance the performance of regional athletes with special attention to our youths. One of the aims is to ensure that young people receive the proper training and guidance that goes to making them better and injury free athletes.
ITU coaches Alan Ley, Gale Bernhardt and Tracey Shelley were responsible for guiding all the apprentice coaches from present from Antigua, St Kitts & Nevis, Grenada, Bermuda, Barbados, Tobago and the host country Trinidad.
All three head coaches were present at every session which began at 8:00 am and finished at 5:00 pm daily, for the entire 4 days, as they lead the assembled group through the basics of coaching at the community and club level. Normally this would be a very long day but because of the rich teaching and illustration, accompanied by the experience of the coaches it seem there was never enough time to absorb such healthy information. These sessions were not just verbal but we also had hands on practical work, where the couches would ask or create certain circumstances and have us elaborate or demonstrate how we would handle such situations if they were to arise. We were also placed into groups of three to deal with certain problems or create training schedules to accommodate various age groups.
Day 1- The emphasis was on community/school and club programs with a large emphasis on the FUN aspect when dealing with youths, ethics and the philosophy of coaching were also dealt with. Coaching roles and responsibilities was one of the most s erious aspects involved in the whole course.
Day 2 - Things that were taught were proper swimming technique, running position and techniques and skills for bike handling, riding, and correct bike fit, the specifics of the different energy systems and their practical application in the coaching environment.
Day 3 – Practical application of the swimming techniques we were taught, using an open air 50 meter pool, warm up drills, exercises and fun games, were the order of the day. We then went on to do transition training drills and biking drills on a pre marked out course in the Chaguramas region of Trinidad.
Day 4 - Sports Physiology, Nutrition and practical applications of planning a coaching session, group divided into three’s and given scenarios to provide solutions for, and the results were shown to the rest of the group as a presentation.
It would take us forever to outline all the benefits of this course, we saw this course as very fitting, especially now that we are presently working on a youth Triathlon program, it also showed us that we are on the right track with investing our time to mold these young ones into future athletes. We now have added incentive to work with our kids and usher them to become bigger and better tri stars of the future.
Attending this course was not only educational, and informative, but it gave us the opportunity to meet with our peers from around the region, to cement those relationships and make new ones, plus it gave us the chance to see how our home grown program fitted in to the world view of Triathlon and kids involvement in the sport.
All in all we think the course was excellent and we look forward to attending the next course, which is a level 1 certification, to be even more informed in how to train and coach tomorrow’s Triathletes.
At the end of the final session we were all given certificates for completing the first level of this coaching course.
Many thanks goes to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Affairs which made attending this course possible, we learnt a lot and we intend to put our newfound knowledge to good use.