27 June - Masterclass

These are opportunities that don’t crop up every day. Via the England Athletics Coach development Programme a group of 8 endurance coaches have a session on movement and technique with Dan Pfaff, the UK Athletics High Performance Coach who oversees the elite programme at Lee Valley in North London. He is personal coach to a number of athletes just selected to compete in the Olympic Games in a range of sprints; hurdles; jumps and throws. The words ‘World Class’ are bandied about rather randomly these days but Pfaff’s coaching CV includes coaching Donovan Bailey of Canada to Olympic Gold in the Men’s 100 metres in the Atlanta Games of 1996, and Bailey set a World Record in wining the final. Let me know if there’s a higher sporting achievement than Fastest Ever Human Being.

It’s probably one of the most demanding Coach Development sessions I’ve been to and I have a sheet of notes that just about made sense as I jotted them down but it will be a challenge to absorb them all; then have athletes implement the drills and then be in a position to advise athletes on how to maximise their efficiency and convert it into improved performance. What was interesting –and maybe unusual – is that for someone who’s individual long term coaching is very much speed and power based, he does ‘understand’endurance, both the events’ nature and the athletes’ and coaches’mindset, so there is nothing that he presents to us that can’t be practically applied for distance runners. What we do with it all will vary coach by coach and athlete by athlete but the opportunity is there

PS The ownership of my session notes unfortunately has to go into past tense as I have lost them, presumably because my cat has taken to paper eating. Time to write a humble pie-laden email to the other coaches who were there to tap into their notes.