North West networks take a Journey to Success

North West networks take a Journey to Success

Over 100 coaches and athletes attended the first ever North West Athletics Network Conference held at Sportcity on Sunday 25th March 2012.

The day began with an inspiring talk by Sydney 2000 Olympic medallist Katharine Merry (now BBC and Channel 4 athletics presenter) who gave the audience an insight into her own personal journey to Olympic success.  She explained that when she was 10 years old, watching the 1984 LA Olympics, and after being inspired by watching Kathy Cook of Great Britain take bronze in the 400m, she told her family that in the year 2000 when she would be 25, she would win an Olympic medal…and the rest as they say, is history!

One coach who attended the conference stated, “I could have listened to Katharine Merry all day- she has a very easy going style which is both amusing and inspirational!” with another saying “Katharine has made me feel inspired for the forthcoming season!" 

The theme for the rest of the day was focussed on coach development and offered coaches opportunities to work with some of Britain top coaching talent. There were eight events covered throughout the day including Pole Vault, Middle Distance, Sprints, Horizontal Jumps, Athletics 365, Hurdles, Road Running and Rotational Throws.

Journey to Success Conference: Coaches

Ron Scott of Southport Waterloo AC commented on Norman Poole’s Middle Distance Workshop, “Norman Poole's workshop was extremely well attended. Coaches were invited in to what can seem like the secret world of coaching elite endurance runners and Norman readily shared his philosophy and coaching methods. The hand out material was generous and I can see me poring over that in the months to come to give my athletes the benefit of that experience. We were also joined by 800m international Michael Rimmer who was more than happy to talk about his own experiences and training."  Both Norman and Michael emphasised the importance of the coach / athlete relationship.

Kevin Davies, a Polevault Coach at Blackpool Wyre and Fylde AC stated “I found Christian North’s pole vault session extremely useful. We were able to get in amongst the athletes and look at ‘every day’ problems and share our own experiences. Christian was great to work with. And as usual, Keith Hunter gave me food for thought.  His session made a lot of sense to me and was delivered in a very easy to understand manner.”

Taking lead on the sprints was Morris Condon, who used Abigail Fitzpatrick, ranked 1st in 2011 for 400mH, to example best practice and demonstrate key drills, skills and sprints conditioning techniques. Morris spent the session over viewing the basics of sprinting whilst sharing various journals and resources to support his delivery. One Cheshire Coach said “Morris did a good job of showing how science can be used in training and applying it to training practices.”

Running from the front with her views, Jackie Newton provided a new and exciting insight into distance and road running.  Jackie brought along a innovation in distance training, a newly designed cross training bike which participants got to trial on the track.  Jackie also gave an insight into alternative training ideas on the track, in preparation for the road.  One Manchester Coach Danny Gray said “I always enjoy listening and learning from Jackie, always pick up something new and today she did not disappoint!”.

Journey to Success Conference: AthletesDennis Roscoe, well renowned Throws Coach based in Merseyside delivered the session on rotational throws and techniques needed for successful throwers. Dennis took the session both indoor and outdoor and covered aspects of both winter and summer training ideas. Colin Allen, M60 Network member said “It was a Good session - I now know something about rotational shot! The technical drills demonstrated by the athletes were also very good.”

Delivering a session on Young Hurdlers Roger Devlin, who coaches various developing and successful hurdlers across the North West, provided an insight into technical points he considered vital to perfecting at an early training stage. “There’s not enough knowledge and support for hurdles locally, it’s great that Roger provided such a useful insight into his training, I have taken a lot from the session.” said a Merseyside Coach.

Attending athletes were treated to a workshop with Katharine Merry and Lisa Daley (GB T13 Athlete) and had the chance to ask them anything they wanted around the topics of challenges athletes face and how to deal with competition day preparation.  Lisa Daley who delivered one of the athlete workshops commented…“It was great to meet some of the North West’s aspiring athletes and for me to be able to share my experiences with them. I look forward to seeing some of them in GB vests in the future.”

Following this they took part in a circuit training class delivered by Nick Chadd, EIS Strength and Conditioning Coach at Sportcity.

Journey to Success Conference: Coaches

To close the event was a short workshop delivered by Paul Hurrion of Quintic; Quintic specialises in sports analysis and offers computer packages which can support coaches in their delivery and biomechanical analysis of their athletes. He went on to explain how each athletics discipline can benefit from the software. If any clubs or coaches are interested in purchasing the software, there is an exclusive offer for a discount.  Also, speak with your network coordinator or Chairman who may be able to support you with the funding.

It is hoped that this conference can be repeated next March, but all will depend upon the availability of funding come the summer of 2012. 

If anyone would like a copy of the DVD which was produced from the Conference, then please contact Vicky Huyton at: Once again, Vicky Huyton (Cheshire and Merseyside Athletics Networks) and Ceri Richardson (Manchester and M60 Athletics Networks) would like to thank everyone who supported the event, including Manchester City Council who sponsored the event and wishes coaches and athletes a fantastic 2012 season.  

M60 (previously East Greater Manchester) blue logo Manchester Network Merseyside Athletics Network Cheshire Athletics Network



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