Connacht T&F Squad 2017/18 Report
The final Connacht T&F Squad for 2017/18 took place over the past weekend in AIT with 87 athletes across sprints, hurdles, jumps, throws, middle/long distance and walks attending. The squad kicked off in late December and despite a number of weather setbacks, further squad dates were held in Jan, Feb and April in both AIT and Claremorris athletics facilities. Athletes from U14-U19 from all across Connacht who medalled at their provincial championships in clubs and schools events were invited to attend the squad. The average attendance across all squad days was 90 athletes and it was great to see large numbers of athletes attending and creating a real team environment.
Each of the events groups worked under the guidance of a lead coach across all of the squad days. Parents and coaches attending were strongly encouraged to observe, ask questions to the coaches and network with other coaches as the sessions were underway. This was emphasised throughout all of the days in the hope that coaches as well as the athletes themselves would learn and develop new ideas to bring back into their training programmes and clubs.
Olympic 400mH finalist, Thomas Barr, joined the squad for Day 3 in AIT to discuss his career to date, his development in the sport as well as speaking honestly about the struggles of injury, moving away to college and almost giving up the sport in his mid-teens. Athletes received their one off squad wristband which was presented by Thomas to all squad members.
The squad were put through their paces by RDO Paul Byrne on the 4th and final day when he held a workshop on injury prevention/strength and conditioning. This workshop focussed on the new ‘AAi Coach’ online resource for athletes and coaches. Athletes, coaches and parents were made aware of how to access AAi Coach online and the importance of basic strengthening exercises in preventing injury and boosting performance on the track or in the field. Using the online series of videos from AAi Coach, athletes practiced some of the exercises and discussed them afterwards.
After talking to the squad coaches it was great to hear that they noted a vast improvement in technique, fitness, ability and craic amongst the athletes as each of the squad days progressed.
A huge well done to the Connacht clubs, coaches, athletes and parents who’ve helped along the way in driving the improvement of the squad and Connacht Athletics. A big thank you to all squad coaches; Ger Hensey, Lilly-Ann O’Hora, Mary Barrett, Cliff Jennings, Padraig Joyce, Sandra O’Cathain, Brendan Glynn, Laura Reynolds, Cian McManamon, Karl Fitzmaurice, Martin O’Grady, Denis Finnerty, Dermot McDermott, Philip Finnerty, Deirdre Gallagher, Daniel Hernon, Jim Ryan, Bob Bailey, Daniel Finnerty and Colm Bourke who are looking forward to seeing many of the squad athletes pop up in upcoming outdoor championship results.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
For more information on the AAI Coach click HERE.