In 2016 we decided to look into taking the squad warm weather training. Usually this type of training is aimed at seniors and performance athletes, with a view to training hard in decent weather with a reduced risk of injury. With a training squad of 14 teenagers most folks thought we were mad to even suggest the idea, but we bashed on and in April 2016 we headed off to sunny Tenerife with myself, Nicola, 6 year Faye and the mixed squad of boys and girls ranging from ages 14-17.
Don’t get me wrong, in the lead up to it there were times when both Nicola and I started to panic. Would they behave? Would they get on? Would they think they could party?
Well yes they all behaved. Yes they all did get on. In fact the week really bonded the whole group where before it was often split into smaller fractions at training. This was probably one of the biggest benefits. As a development group we have younger athletes join each September as older athletes leave the group to head onto university. The training camp allows the group to really get to know each other and concrete friendships as well as training partners.
We set an 11pm curfew for being in the rooms which everyone respected. No one abused the week, they trained hard, were focused, motivated and an absolute pleasure to spend the week with.
So here we are, ready to head back next April, this time with 14 teenagers, myself, Nicola, Faye and a “PAACE” family wishing to train.
The training plan will be similar to last time with a mix of track, beach, gym and aquajogging sessions. Plus a day off midweek to hit the water park!
With two training sessions a day the squad are happy to relax in between, but this year we will be having a few activities planned during the relaxation time. We will also be putting some study time into the weekly plan for those who have exams.
This is a fantastic opportunity for young athletes to experience what it’s like to train as a performance athlete for a week, and be responsible for being ready and getting to training on time without parents on-hand to get them organised. Last time we were training on the track alongside some world class athletes including the Belgian Men’s 4×100 relay team. It was really satisfying to see them do a similar warm up to our own, and they gave our young squad the same respect on the track as we gave them.
This year I have no apprehension, only appreciation of the benefits of this training week is for our squad. Roll on spring 2018…