Mon 29th Oct 2018

End of the first series. Review by Frances Skipwith

Fine weather greeted us for the opening session of this series. The idea was primarily to have some fun but also learn triathlon skills along the way. Progressive sessions, giving the children confidence to enter an event or the skills to improve on performances.

Session one focused on the transition, breaking it down in to three elements.. The push, the scoot or flying mount and quick dismount. We were fortunate to have the use of the Garrison Ground in Winchester and lots of space! With a 1:6 coach ration we were able to focus our attention on specific needs, splitting the group up when necessary. Each session finished with a mini duathlon to put new skills in to practice. Amazing how technique is forgotten when put in to a competitive situation.

A couple of weeks weren't blessed with such good weather and numbers dwindled but we maintained a committed core group who really showed the grit and determination needed to compete in this country.

Without the use of a pool, something we are still working on, we focused on the duathlon; pacing for the bike and run, cornering, gear usage and group riding/drafting. The last session was lead by Di Murray, British Triathlon's Skills School coach for this area. The Skills School philosophy is to teach children the skills for sport through games and fun. Quite often the children don't realise they're learning. It's a philosophy that we've based this series on, so it was really useful for the coaches as well as the children to gain from Di's experience. An example was Di having the children huddle together on the start line before an effort, simulating the close proximity of open water swim starts. Lot's of interesting ideas and a really fun way to finish. 

On the whole, a successful block of training. The kids were all well behaved, wanting to listen and learn. The parents too, offering help and support.

The idea now is for the children to continue to practice their cycling skills at the Wessex Cyclocross league or by joining a cycling club. VC Venta are based in Winchester and run Go-Ride sessions as well as group rides for older children. Running with Wadac and swimming at local clubs. Bringing this group back together and welcoming new members after February Half Term, leading in to the triathlon season.

Thanks to all the dedicated coaches who have helped bring this idea to fruition. We are fortunate to have a group of coaches with a wealth of experience, all with a passion for sport and getting kids active.

Thanks especially to Paul Cox without whose support and encouragement this wouldn't have happened. Steve Bailey, Sam Aplin, Toby Leyland, Martin Davies and Jenny Aster and Di Murray also helped coach the group.