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Blog: Ellie Spain on the Rising Events Conference

  • Posted: 24.01.2014
  • Author: Ellie Spain (ENG)
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Rising Events Conference

Ellie Spain ACM North – Pole Vault

Rising Events presented a day long set of talks from World-Class speakers in on-field performance, training methods, rehabilitation and nutrition. The following post will include a synopsis of key talks and the key take home message with a view to the points most relevant for coaches.


Dr John Rogers


Integrated support teams crucial in World Class sport however, these often come with big egos and high expectations. Dr Rogers discussed his thoughts surrounding best practice and how to keep an athlete on track when working within an IST.

Poor communication practice experienced when dealing with IST’s

ï‚· Inconsistent information

ï‚· Information overload and white noise

ï‚· Information omission

ï‚· Omission of information to stakeholders in the process

ï‚· Too hasty in communicating

ï‚· Talking too much – listening too little

ï‚· Catastrophizing

ï‚· Bypassing correct communication channels

ï‚· Breaching confidentiality

ï‚· Inappropriate modalities of communication

ï‚· Inappropriate conversation / rumor / innuendos

Educate the athlete on best practice in the following – they are the key stakeholder!

ï‚· Immune system

ï‚· Vaccination

ï‚· Travel advice

ï‚· Hygeine

ï‚· Recovery

ï‚· Sleep

ï‚· Hydration

ï‚· Nutrition

Avoidance of overtraining

ï‚· Work off feel

ï‚· Maintain close communication

ï‚· Watch the athlete closely for the non verbal signs: attitude, breathing, demeanor

ï‚· Don’t be too prescriptive in your session delivery or your planning – be flexible

ï‚· However beautiful the strategy you should occasionally look at your results – Winston Churchill

Take home messages:

ï‚· Communication is key – the best communicators watch and listen more than they talk

ï‚· Avoid egos – the athlete is the center of this process, the IST is there to support

ï‚· Aggregation of marginal gains – small improvements in a multiple number of aspects can make huge impacts. Conversely, small slip ups and breakdowns in communication can become major issues.

ï‚· So … Take care of the little things!


Alison Rose


Alison spoke about treatment management of athletes in elite sport from her perspective as Physiotherapist to Jess Ennis-Hill & Kelly Holmes amongst others.

General thoughts

ï‚· Jess included a lot of rotational work – reduced injury rate?

ï‚· An injury free athlete is an athlete who can perform

ï‚· Take the time to build relationships and trust with people

ï‚· Build a team

ï‚· There is no room for egos in this team

What makes a champion?

ï‚· Intuition

ï‚· Feel

ï‚· Takes many years

ï‚· It is the approach of the athletes to setbacks which determines what they ultimately end up getting out of themselves

On injuries

ï‚· A non traumatic injury is a sign that something is going wrong somewhere

ï‚· This should cause us to look at things from a different perspective

ï‚· With older athletes who have never been injured, if they do then sustain an injury, this can be catastrophic as they haven’t acquired the mental tools to cope with it

Development of young athletes

ï‚· Injury prevention through correct training

ï‚· Example of diving club – older athletes trained with younger athletes and acted as mentor. Aspiration to achieve by younger athletes, young athletes taught to avoid bad habits from an early age

ï‚· Use Pilates / Yoga type strength work – integrated approach

ï‚· Use training camps as an education process not a holiday opportunity

On her work with Dame Kelly Holmes

ï‚· Kelly had supreme confidence in her own ability & was mentally strong

ï‚· Big attention to detail

ï‚· Recovery, nutrition – everything – was taken under control by Kelly

ï‚· Kelly managed to win at 34 as she paid attention to details, she had confidence and self belief, she felt a need to win, she ‘stalked’ Alison at the first sign of any niggle, there was trust between team members, great team cohesiveness

On her work with Jess Ennis-Hill

ï‚· Attention to detail mindset

ï‚· Professional

ï‚· Ability to put disappointment behind her and move forward

Key take homes

ï‚· Champions take care of the little details & take responsibility for their own success

ï‚· You must have a short memory in sport in terms of failure and set back – learn then move on

ï‚· Integrated approaches work – use them

ï‚· Use older athletes as mentors and teachers


Tommy Yule


Tommy spoke about considerations for strength development within performance and rehabilitation

General thoughts

ï‚· What are we trying to change as a result of strength training?

ï‚· Strength in the context of sports performance needs to be put in the context of what you’re trying to change

ï‚· Eccentric strength capabilities – sprinting is landing – multiple times

ï‚· People do not get strong lifting light weights – this might affect recruitment or co-ordination but it won’t affect strength

ï‚· Improving strength requires high loads

ï‚· Often athletes do ‘stuff’ but are they really changing what they want to change, or are they just making themselves feel tired?

ï‚· Productive strength training gives athletes the potential to improve speed & power in sport

Effective strength training can:

1. Stimulate tissue adaptations

2. Raise motor potential

3. Prime performance in another activity or stimulate hormonal responses (T / GH) which will stimulate metabolic responses elsewhere

4. Influence stiffness / compliance of tissue

5. Restore function e.g. movement patterns / flow

You need to load your athlete, but, given your athlete, what is their load?

ï‚· Everyone is different – T responses are individual and protocol dependent

ï‚· Athletes can be responders / non responders

ï‚· If people like a certain training situation do they get a better hormonal response? Does this then underpin their + adaptation?

ï‚· Psychological response to certain types of training should be considered as well as working within an appropriate bandwidth

ï‚· If you’re fighting against a movement you don’t give yourself the opportunity to improve motor potential

ï‚· We should apply the MED (minimum effective dose) that allows continuity of progress & maintenance of a process of ALL training elements

ï‚· Figure out a way to feed the athlete’s psychology that doesn’t involve more weight – e.g. bar speed

ï‚· Load should be appropriate – don’t get OCD and hung up on specific numbers

ï‚· Are athletes comfortable in a gym environment e.g. long distance – do they want to be there? If not address the brain first!

Thoughts on coaching

ï‚· Technical development is linked to psychology – the athlete needs to refer to the knowledge they already have when learning something new

ï‚· Olympic lifts are a jump – does the athlete know how to jump? Can they jump?

ï‚· Give athletes a reference point to build on which is the correct one

Key take homes

ï‚· Athletes must be self aware

ï‚· All stress is not equal

ï‚· Become a clash detective – a lot of exercises that do the same things are not necessary and only add to stress

ï‚· Understand loading and organize it appropriately for each individual

ï‚· Multigyms are not appropriate for youngsters – it is all loading, there is no skill associated with it, there is no motor learning, there is no demand on stability – avoid!


Carl Todd


Carl spoke about Osteopathy and its role in sport

General thoughts

ï‚· Structure governs function – if you’re truly a team you do what needs doing to make everything better, each individual is just a cog in a big machine

ï‚· Be humble

ï‚· An understanding of biomechanics is imperative as a coach

ï‚· Anyone can identify disorder – to identify health is the true goal

ï‚· Use a functional integrated approach to screening – you need to see real time movement to give a true screen

ï‚· Functional asymmetry is present in athletes

ï‚· There is no absolute knowledge, sometimes there are a lot of grey areas.

ï‚· The more skilled we become – the more artistic we become.

Key take homes

ï‚· Know what is right in terms of function for each individual

ï‚· Asymmetry is sometimes an adaptation of the evolution required for their sport

ï‚· Movement screens should be done real time to be effective


Linford Christie


Linford spoke about his experiences in elite sport both from the perspective of an athlete and coach

Key take homes

ï‚· There’s nothing anybody on the other side can do for you – when you compete it’s down to you

ï‚· It’s all about confidence

ï‚· Athletes should go out and get a job and appreciate what they’ve got!

ï‚· There are no secrets – it’s how you apply what you know


Kelly Holmes


Kelly spoke about her journey to double gold in Athens 2004

Key take homes

ï‚· Treat the person as a whole

ï‚· Footwear is important – look after your feet!

ï‚· Treat the person as a whole

ï‚· Build a team around you who you trust and lean on them when you need to

ï‚· You must be resilient as an athlete – there will be many setbacks and it will not be easy

ï‚· Do not quit


Scott Simpson


Scott spoke about his experiences as national coach for Wales and his concerns about the prevalence of injury in young athletes

General thoughts

ï‚· Training – less is more – work to a minimum effective dose

ï‚· There must be a team approach to managing elite athletes

ï‚· Treat athletes individually

The ‘I’ generation

ï‚· Kelvin Giles term – ‘I’ pod / pad

ï‚· Creation of postural defects

ï‚· Inactive / dysfunctional postures

ï‚· Lack of physical literacy

ï‚· Lack of functional movement skills

ï‚· This is a concern for us as coaches!

ï‚· Stop working athletes – start teaching them – what does good movement look like? Do they know?

Training thoughts

ï‚· Be technically excellent

ï‚· Manage day to day stressors

ï‚· Watch movements closely and screen for dysfunction

Key take homes

ï‚· Have an integrated support team around you and lean on them when necessary

ï‚· Teaching is key – work is not teaching

ï‚· Apply the minimum effective dose – more does not mean better

ï‚· Be technically excellent

ï‚· Excellence is a habit which must be ingrained in everything the athlete does


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