In 2012 Racewalking Squad Sessions were held as follows:
1. Three days from the 2nd March to the 4th March inclusive in the NSC (National Sports Campus), Douglas, Isle of Man. This was undertaken in conjunction with a similar size group of young English Racewalkers with both groups of coaches overlapping their educational work. The highlights included combined motivational talks on separate days from Paul Nihill, an Irishman who among his many achievements won an Olympic Silver medal for Britain and also set a World Record. See more expansive report already submitted.
2. One day on Saturday the 21st April in Santry, Dublin (both Santry Demesne and Clonliffe Harriers Clubhouse were used).
3. One day on Sunday the 22nd April in Claremorris, Co. Mayo (both the indoor and outdoor tracks were used).
4. Five days from the 31st October to the 4th November inclusive in the National Racewalking Centre at Leeds Metropolitan University, Headingley Campus, Leeds, England. The first 3 days were dedicated to the developing walkers. The group was built around the medalists from the various National Championships held throughout the year for Youths, Juniors, Under 23’s and Seniors. However these were subdivided into the more experienced/advanced undertaking very detailed testing and biomechanical analysis by Brian Hanley.
All others participated in an appropriate development programme. A keynote talk and presentation on nutrition was given by Michael Doyle. The last 3 days were more advanced and detailed as it incorporated the EAA Coaching Summit on Racewalking, with the entire Irish party together for the full day on Friday the 2nd November. All our Irish Olympic Racewalkers, bar one, from the last 2 games were present too. Both Olive Loughnane and Brian Hanley gave separate keynote presentations to the coaches present from all over Europe and beyond.
5. One day on Saturday the 1st December in Santry, Dublin. This was a direct follow on from the testing done in Leeds with Brian Hanley traveling over to give individuals their personal results. A highlight was a talk from Laura Reynolds on her international experiences over the years leading to her excellent performance in the London Olympics.
The usual participation rate was 40+. With such a consistent level of participation each squad session also produced a large quantity of follow on work and often two-way feedback. In particular the 3/5 day get-togethers generated a huge volume of additional administrative work. Much of the budget was allocated towards making these extended sessions a rewarding and fruitful experience for all who gave the extra time commitment required. To achieve same the costs for single day outings were minimised totally however the best achievers were rewarded with a variety of training and coaching aids specific to athletic performance improvement.
Additional squad initiatives:
While not an event organised via invitation etc, all the qualified juveniles available were taken for a half day introduction/performance evaluation on the afternoon of the All Ireland Schools in Tullamore, Co. Offaly on Saturday the 2nd June.
Similar undertakings were carried out in Claremorris on the 19th February and in St. Anne’s Park, Raheny on the 29th September. All of these activities ensured there was a consistent squad development flow spread over the entire year with squad activities held on 8 separate months of 2012.
To conclude my summary I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to the following for their direct coaching inputs to the squad sessions over 2012: Brian Hanley, Michael Moran, Michael Oliver, Frank Lynch, Jimmy McDonald, John Egan, Michael Doyle, David Kidd, Pat Ryan, Noel Morley, Regina Prendiville, Laura Reynolds , Rosemary Hanley, Sandra O’Neil and all other parents and adults/senior walkers who assisted. Likewise a thank you to all the athletics supporters and promoters in Manx Harriers, Clonliffe Harriers, Claremorris A.C., Raheny Shamrocks and the staff of Leeds Met University.
While the squad budget was fully utilised, if the even greater financial input of the racewalking athletes, coaches and parents is also included the relevant actual spend for the year approaches 25,000Euro. From a costing perspective by using my financial skills and experience then further cost savings of approximately 10,000Euro minimum were procured/initiated. Finally as I approach the end of the contracted term I would like to thank AAI and its’ Coaching Committee for their support and in particular Jacqui Freyne for all of her support and assistance both in 2012 and in all prior years.
Michael G. Lane, FCCA,
National Event Director for Racewalking, Athletics Ireland.