Tag Archives: University

Ready, Set, Nat – Week 1

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

Natasja Vasta

Ginninderra’s Tiny Tigers – Week 1

Hi, my name is Megan Mayoh and I am currently in my final year of studying Sports and Exercise/Science in Psychology at the University of Canberra. To complete my course I am required to undertake an internship with a sporting organisation to gain practical experience and prepare me for graduation. I was fortunate enough to be given a chance by UC Ginninderra Athletics Club with Steve and the team.

My journey with GAC started with an initial meeting with Steve and Fiona where they outlined all that GAC had to offer both professionally and personal, a lot of information to take on board but I was up for the challenge. Our next meeting involved Steve, Fiona, and all UC interns (whose blogs you will also have the pleasure of reading), Steve and Fiona outlined their plans for the winter season and where we interns would fit in to that plan. We all left the meeting feeling excited about what’s to come for GAC in the coming months.

My first day was on Saturday the 5thof May. I arrived at the oval bright and early, nerves at an all-time high, but excited to get involved. Due to my previous experiences coaching young kids I was involved with the Tiny Tots program with Fiona, Debra and some of GAC’s talented young coaches. The day started off with a bang, with approximately 30 kids aged 3-4 participating in the program. Tiny Tots focusses on teaching young kids fundamental movement skills in a fun and inclusive environment. Fundamental movement skills are an essential precursor to learning more technical skills. The hour long program felt like it only lasted 5 minutes – time flies when you’re having fun! I had a blast!

I’m excited to be back for week 2 of the winter program and am looking forward to getting further involved with the club, and gaining experience in all areas.

Megan Mayoh

Winter is coming


Behind the blocks – Week 1

This week was my first week interning with the UC Ginninderra Athletics Club and what an experience and eye opener it has been! As I am an Event and Tourism Management/Sports Management student, I have taken on the role of Marketing Officer to capture each athletes journey with both the new winter session and upcoming summer session. In this role I will not be working one-on-one with the athletes, rather promoting the athletes, athletics and the club through documenting and showcasing what UC Ginninderra Athletics is all about.

On Thursday I joined Steve and the FAST squad with sprint training at the AIS. Walking into the AIS track and field centre I was both overwhelmed by the amazing facilities and privileged to be able to use the facilities as a part of my internship. We started with warm ups consisting of high knees, bum kicks, straight legs and marching exercises. This allowed us to really break down the aspects of sprinting and focus on our techniques. We then started sprinting over various lengths, for instance 30 metres, then jogging 10 metres and sprinting 40 metres, and then finishing off with sprinting 50 metres. I soon learnt that Steve’s favourite number is 3, as we completed each activity in stints of 3’s. For the cool down it consisted of a light jog around the 400 metre track. Throughout this session it made me really thinking about my sprinting technique and what I need to focus on to improve my technique.

On Saturday we held the first Winter Wonderland session with a come and try day, which was very successful! Over 80 kids and parents joined in to have fun and partake in activities based around athletics, fitness and teamwork skills while meeting new people. My tasks for the day was to video a ‘Coach of the Week’ and take plenty of pictures of everyone having fun and showcasing everyone’s different emotions and experiences throughout the morning. From coaches getting involved and demonstrating the activities to each individual smiling and being challenged to master their techniques, plenty of moments were captured to display the fun and excitement.

On Sunday I headed to Stromlo Forest Park with Steve, the FAST squad and other interns to participate in a cross-country training session. We started with the usual warm up activities and discussed that this session was going to be focused on our high knees and arms. After warming up we headed to the 500 metre loop which consisted of running up and down a slight slope with varying inclines and declines. We completed the loop 3 times, making it a total of 1500 metres, with 40-45 second recoveries in between each 500 metre stint. At the start of this session Steve pointed out that as I am a league-tag player I tend to run with my arms crossing my body. Therefore, throughout the session I was mainly focused on how I swing my arms and what I need to do to get out that style.

Throughout this week I have meet plenty of new people who are not only going to make my internship enjoyable but also a very valuable experience. My first week has been very fun and exciting and I can’t wait to continue to work with Steve, Fiona and the other interns each week.

Lindsay Mitton

Running with the Tigers – Week 2

With another week completed comes many more amazing experiences and a great deal of learning opportunities. This week involved learning other different training modalities used in sprint training from hill runs at 70%-90%, pyramids and sprints to 1 min runs for pacing. Rehashed throughout this week was the importance of pacing yourself and aiming to finish the final leg of training. As well as this, as these training sessions were taxing on the body it was extremely important to engage with the athlete to gauge their fatigue levels. I learnt that this was a vital component in coaching to identify whether an athlete can continue throughout the session or if they should stop and aim to fight another day. Steve made it very clear that as a coach this will help identify whether an athlete is at risk of injury or making a future injury worse. This was an important aspect of coaching that I would come to realise very soon.

Taking part in the training session for this week, I discovered that from the athletes’ point of view, it is crucial to have constant communication with the coaching staff. However, I failed to show an example of this, coming from a soccer background where we play with limited numbers almost every week I always battled through my injuries. Carrying an injury into Sunday and Tuesday’s session was something that I would learn to regret as I did in fact make my injury worse having to finish earlier than the other athletes. Despite having failed to inform Steve of my injury, it was a great learning curve as this is what could happen to an athlete if they fail to tell me in the future. Even though I had to sit out for the last leg of hill runs, I didn’t do it relaxing or worrying about my injury, I spent the time observing the other athletes while they run and listening to Steve on what to pay attention to in terms of form. From this observation I learnt a great deal like paying attention to the length of the athlete’s stride and noticing that as the athlete gets tired their stride length gets shorter. This subsequently causes the body to work harder and faster as there is little time between swinging the leg and coming into contact with the ground. Looking at it from this point of view helped in further understanding the techniques with running and the effects that fatigue has on running form.

Therefore, lesson of the week was that only you know what your body is experiencing and its important to inform the coach of any injury no matter how minor. As well as this its also good for the coach to pick up on any cues that the athlete is in fact suffering from an injury.

Not only was their training with Steve’s FAST team this week, but there was also a gym session. This week was the first week of running through the program developed by Alex (a veteran intern of the club). The program was created to develop power and strength as well as mimic some of the movements that was involved in sprinting. There is always a learning curve to be had from this and this was one of the first experiences that I have had coaching an athlete through each exercise. Through this experience I learnt that monitoring an athletes’ technique is vital in getting the most out of the exercises. As well as this an athletes’ form will start to slip when they are completing their final set. Not only this but I started applying some of the knowledge that had already been passed onto me by Steve when communicating to the athlete.

This week was not just full of training and athlete development but was full of other little side projects provided by Steve. This week showed two little projects including writing session one training programs for the new On Track program being offered to the Tiger Cubs on a Saturday. The second was the development of a promotional video for the UC Ginninderra Athletics club which put my IT knowledge to the test. This gave me exposure to not just the practical component but to the theoretical and technical components behind the club which I am grateful for being a part of.

With the conclusion of this week, I am excited to continue learning under Steve, applying myself in any way possible and of course to continue running with the tigers.

Jordan Green

Running with the Tigers – Week 1

Hi, my name is Jordan Green and I am a Sports and Exercise Science/ Information Technology student from the University of Canberra. To complete my course, I am required to take on an internship where I gain practical experience within the sporting field. I was extremely lucky to have been selected by UC Ginninderra Athletics Club and to be given the opportunity to join the coaching staff. These blog posts for the coming weeks are to document my journey and experiences of being part of not only the team but part of the clubs’ family.

Within Week 0, I had the pleasure of meeting with some of the members of the coaching group including Fiona, Alex and Steve (my supervisor within the internship). I had no idea what to expect and as everyone probably noticed I was severely nervous waiting outside of the venue for them to arrive. As soon as I met them all my nerves quickly dissipated, and it felt like I was part of family from day one. We discussed many things relating to the UC Ginninderra Athletics Club and it became very clear that not only were they looking at what I have to offer to the club but that they were also offering to develop my skills and to help me reach my own personal goals. From day one it was clear how passionate everyone was and seeing this made me very excited to start.

After this initial meeting, I left with such joy and was extremely excited to be joining the Ginninderra family. The next meeting that we had was to discuss the upcoming programs that the club would be offering over the Winter season. One of these programs is the On Track Athletic Development Program that is being introduced to our Tiger Cubs. This program started out in Victoria and has been very successful in teaching the fundamental movement skills required for all athletic events, from running events all the way to throwing events. With great delight it was stated that Alex and myself would be helping to deliver this On Track program on Saturday morning. This both raised my excitement meter even higher to the point where I couldn’t stop smiling my whole way home and I was eager to start.

The first week started with a bang where I met some of the talented athletes that were part of Steve’s sprinting and hurdles squad. I did not know what to expect from this first session and to be honest, I found it very hard just during the warm up. As a soccer player that trains on a regular basis, this opened my eyes to how hard this sort of training is and to what these athletes experience. Steve as part of his mentoring allowed me to participate within the training sessions and keeping up with all the young athletes made me feel old, at 21 haha. Not only did I realise that this sort of training is hard and not easy, but I also learned a lot from the coaches’ point of view, as well as the athletes point of view.

From the coaches’ point of view, I learnt several things from the get go. From that one training session I learnt that the warm up is extremely important not only in getting the body prepared for the rest of the session, but as a technical component as well. This technical component serves to elicit muscle memory to the techniques used in running and that this technical component should be addressed at the start of the training session. I also learnt that it is extremely important to individualise the training and to coach to the strengths of the athlete. One common phrase that Steve used through the training was “run for you, not to keep up with the person to the left, right or in front of you and that your time will come where you will be the one up front”. This was very inspirational and showed the passion that Steve has. This expression of compassion was very contagious, and I started feeling extremely lucky to have been given the opportunity to learn under him. Another element that I was told to think about when coaching was the idea of not letting the athlete go all out in the first or second lap and that pacing was important. I was told that the idea of the training was to finish 5-8 laps rather then 2-4.

From the athletes’ point of view, this strengthened the notion of pacing yourself, as I found it very easy to be tired during each lap, when you push yourself just that tiny bit too far. I also learnt that running is not all about speed and power, and that technique is what drives you forward when you start to get tired. When you start to get exhausted and your legs start to tighten, it becomes a mental game of trying to push through it to finish the lap and technique is what becomes the driving force.

Overall, I really enjoyed the first week of experiencing the training of sprinters and hurdlers. I can’t wait for the future sessions and in the not too distant future to apply the knowledge that I have.

Jordan Green