On Thursday I attended the weekly FAST sessions, however this week we were training at the Charnwood sporting ovals. This change of venue allowed us to train on a different terrain for usual perfectly manicured AIS grass. We started with the usual warm ups over 30 metres, which I believe I am slowly getting better with technique wise. When warming up at both football training and on game day, I have noticed that I am slowly adapting to changing my warm up techniques of butt kicks and high knees more towards how I do them when attending the FAST sessions. Once we were warmed up, we each got into our lanes and started with 50 metres sprints, at 90%, 3 times, with slow walk backs as recovery. We then did 70 metres, at the same intensity, reps and recovery. Then continued to 100 metres, back to 70 metres and finished with 60 metres. With each sprint, fatigue was kicking in however we all continued to put in our best performances. In the end Steve was giving me a handicap compared to the others, which improved my motivation to be competitive and try and cross the line first – sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. We finished up with the usual cool down of 60 metre run throughs, at 60%, 3 times.
On Saturday approximately 50 kids and adults participated in our Winter Wonderland sessions, with more and more parents joining in to help their kids each week. As I was walking around and taking pictures, all kids were joining in and having fun, either learning new skills or mastering their techniques they had learnt from previous weeks. Many parents were participating, either demonstrating the technique or running alongside their child. As this club is very friendly and family orientated, this is great to see everyone getting involved and helping out to make a smooth and enjoyable experience for both the kids and adults.
On Sunday, our FAST session took place at Parliament House Hill. This was my first time at this venue and with Steve away overseas, we had Luke step up and show us the ropes of the hill. After we completed the warm ups and run throughs, we walked to the bottom of the hill to complete our 130 metre sprints at 70%. We only completed the runs 4 times as it was uphill, as it was a harder track and one of our main focuses was on recovery. I found that Parliament House Hill has been my most challenging venue so far, as I was sore from football the day before and I don’t think I was fully prepared for what was required of me and I didn’t balance out my intensity and walk backs correctly. This caused my legs to feel heavy and become tight. We then started to do our usual cool down.
This week has again opened my eyes up to focus on my sprinting technique and how to manage when fatigue kicks in. I am looking forward to the upcoming weeks with both Steve and the interns.
The past week I interviewed the Junior Coaches manager and remember him mentioning that he would bring his daughter to the little athletics sessions and thought while he is here he might as well join in. This motivation and drive is what I believe helps build and grow a sporting club and develop the culture to be family friendly and a fun environment.
On Thursday the FAST session was based on grass sprints with the main focus on being on driving the legs when fatigued. We started with our normal warm ups, then we got into 90 metre sprints at 90%, performed 10 times. Steve was tracking our time to consistently push ourselves to become quicker. My aim was to get times in the range of 14.5 seconds and 15.5 seconds. On my 5th run I clocked my fastest time at 14 seconds, however over the runs my time was fluctuating between 14 and 15 seconds, this was due to not starting off quickly and correctly, and after a while fatigue started to kick in. This is when I needed to start focusing on driving my arms to power my legs. After completing our 10 runs, we finished off with 3 x 60 metre runs at 60% for our cool down. Overall, this session made me continuously think about my arm movements when sprinting and how I can improve my technique to become faster.
Saturday consisted of our third week of our new winter wonderland sessions. This week we saw approximately 50 kids and parents joining in and having fun. This was a very good turnout of numbers as it was a very chilly morning, however the weather didn’t stop the kids from running around and enjoying all the activities planned out. My main focus to capture this week through the lens was on the kids having fun and showcasing their different emotions. I was also focusing on parents getting involved by either assisting their children complete the activities or joining in and performing the actitives for their own purposes.
Throughout the next few weeks I am hoping to continue capturing the kids emotions and showcasing their developing skills and techniques towards athletics.
This week was another enjoyable and amazing run with tigers. To start this week off, there was the routinely FAST session on the Tuesday night which involved completing repeated sprints. We performed 10 sprints over 100m with the intensity in the form of meeting between two times. My times for this activity was between 13.5 and 14.5 seconds which is a big margin to fit between. However, this proved challenging when reaching the last 3 sprints of the session as this is where either oxygen deprivation hits you or a build of lactic results in the legs locking up. As you could imagine it was very hard to move after finishing this session with even the cooldown lap around the track proving to be difficult for myself. Despite this, this was an awesome session and was important in teaching the athletes about judging ones’ speed and adjusting race pace to meet a certain intensity. As well as this, I learnt that it was important to be explosive at the start of the sprint in order to level out into a comfortable pace towards the end and this proved to be very helpful message to take on board when 6-7 sprints in.
The next two training session were most likely the hardest sessions I have done so far. These included completing five 200m sprints in the form of team relays and pyramid hill sprints at the Governor Generals House. Both were designed to push the limits of an athlete and to solidify the notion of technique being key when running. Not only this but when you are fatigued the arms drive the legs so long as your arms are moving then your legs will also move as a result. From a coaching point of view, I learnt many things throughout this week’s lot of sessions like grouping the athletes in terms of training age and similar physical abilities. I also learnt that our job as coaches isn’t just about teaching the athlete the correct techniques and lead them through the different session activities but to also motivate the athlete. Our job is to push the athlete above and beyond, so they are able to reach new heights within their athletic career. This statement really sat with me and is one of the important lessons I have learnt throughout this internship.
Not only were there sessions with Steve this week but we also had the Tiger Cubs session held on Saturday mornings. This week was the first week where Alex and I were able to implement a program that we had written focusing on run and jump. The weather wasn’t the best, but everyone seemed to have a whole bunch of fun in the cold both parents and kids. It was awesome to see so many talented kids getting involved and enjoying all the activities that we had offered them. It was amazing to see the initiative of the junior coaches who helped out on the day as well and to see that they were really taking charge and making each station their own. With that being said I would like to say thankyou to all of the junior coaches who helped out, you guys are awesome and to the parents and kids who stuck it out through the cold and rain.
Another week finished and another amazing time spent running with tigers.
Week 2 of the winter program coincided with the Canberra cold snap, a top of 9 degrees with wind and rain – conditions more suited to a game of rugby rather than athletics! However parents and kids were not deterred, with a strong turn-out for Tiny Tots on both the Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning.
The theme for this week was Mother’s Day, with Mums (and Dads, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles) encouraged to get involved with their kids, and a choccie surprise at the end a good reward! This week I had the pleasure of working one-on-one with Cameron, one of our older Tiny Tots living with autism. Cameron is a vibrant young boy, with endless amounts of energy, constantly challenging me to keep up with him – if only I could match his energy levels!
The Tiny Tots program attracts kids of wide ranging abilities by providing an inclusive and fun environment for them to thrive and reach their full potential. There’s something for everyone – with activities modified to suit the abilities of all kids involved and one-on-one support available.
The theme for week 3 is jungle day, so come dressed up as your favourite jungle animal, bring along a friend, and get ready for some jungle fun!
Winter is coming
Hello, my name is Natasja Vasta and I’m currently in my final year of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Canberra. As part of degree I required to participate in an internship within the sporting industry. This so, I gain practical skills within the industry and this will prepare me for graduation and for the work force. UC Ginninderra Athletics Club was happy to take me under their wing with this new life experience. Thank you, Steve and the team, for this amazing experience.
To start of my journey with GAC, I had an initial meeting with Steve where he summarised what GAC had to offer me, both personal and professionally. For my first session of the winter season, I assisted with the Cross Country with Brian Daly and Steve. This event was at Charnwood athletic field, we started the session with a small basic warm-up, before they started their run. There was a group of 18 participates which had a choose of distance they would like to run, 1.9km, 3.7km or 5.6km. Only the 2 boys dared to run the 5.6km, they ran it under 40 minutes. The overall afternoon was fun and an amazing experience for me.
For my second session of the winter season, I assisted Steve with the Winter Season Track and Field day starting bright and early on Saturday the 5thof May. As the team knew I was excited to work with young athletes, I was involved with 9 and older ago group with Steve. The group was jam-packed with energy and was ready to run around. This made me more excited and less nerves as the day went on. This morning session was very eye opening and I can’t wait for what next session has to offer.
I was very lucky to be involved with three different session this week, the last session was also with Steve at Stromlo Forest Park with the FAST group. For this session I didn’t really know what Steve wanted from me. However, I soon worked out what it was, this session was the hardest of the three. Steve wanted us to have an understanding of what we were teaching the athletes. Which meant we had to run the 500m loop with the athletes, the idea involving with this session was to build and improve the athlete’s endurance levels. There was one key tip that I took from this training, which was that technique is important and that the movement of your upper body and arm will aid your knees when you are exhausted. This session was by far the hardest, however it was also my favourite out of the three sessions.
Thank you again Steve and the team for this amazing week of learning. I’m looking forward for what next week hold for me. Thanks