Since last Saturday the 6th of October, I have been fortunate enough to be working with the annual ITU Junior and Under 23 camp in Auckland. This camp is held every year just prior to the World Championship, where ever it is located that year.
A total of 30 promising athletes and 11 coaches from developing National Federations were selected based on their talent and elite potential. The camp is scheduled just ahead of the Junior and Under23 ITU World Championships in Auckland, which most of the athletes will be racing in. The camp is set at the Millennium Institute for Sport and Health, New Zealand’s Sports High Performance Sports Institute, with the athletes hail from 21 different countries and all five continents!
The staff I am working with include world renowned triathlon coach Sergio Santos (POR), running and psychology expert Bobby McGee (USA), Claudia Beristain (MEX), and Zeljko Bijuk (CRO), all having numerous Olympic medals and countless world champs and world cup victories to their coaching experience. Jeff Donaldson (USA) is the camp’s bike mechanic after having worked numerous ITU Development teams, on Pro cycling teams and heading the Specialised USA branch for several years. I consider myself very fortunate to be working alongside such an esteemed group and am learning a huge amounts from these world leading coaches and specialists.
Each day the athletes complete on average three sessions a day. These are typically high quality sessions, with most looking to peak at the world champs on the weekend after next. The sessions have also had a large technique component, with some of the worlds leading coaches working alongside the athletes.
In addition to the training, the intent of developing well-rounded athletes thus we have held lectures for the athletes every evening during the camp. On the weekend I gave the athletes a lecture on Recovery, Strength and Conditioning for Triathlon and Travelling Well. They learn on various topics such as nutrition, cycling strategy, sport psychology, analysis and anti-doping in preparation of becoming the future generation of the sport.
This so far has been an extremely rewarding camp, with all the athletes being very appreciative of the time and expertise they have at the camp. It has also been an amazing opportunity for myself to watch other coaches work and learn from them. I will write plenty more on the experiences after the camp is over and I have a little more time!