Busy weekend ahead? Oh yes but for some, this weekend could not have come at a better time. Back in the latter part of March ETU hosted its first Development Camp of 2016. The location – Alicante. Yesterday saw the final session of the second camp, held at the Desmor Rio Maior Sports Centre just a little to the North of the capital. Click the link for a great video showing what the athletes and coaches have been doing.
How did it all go in March?
Well, leading the camp, as ever, was Željko Bijuk, ETU’s Development Coordinator. “I can just comment that National Federations are sending stronger and better prepared athletes to the camps each year, which is encouraging and means that the investment made in the past to train and develop coaches is now clearly paying dividends. All the athletes and coaches that took part in the camp were eager to learn and improve their “triathlon tool box” but not forgetting the important thing, which is to have great time and make new friendships and networks. I can only express my gratitude to the ETU EB & ETU Development Committee for giving us this great opportunity to continue our work on development and making those kids’ dreams come true.”
Jozsef Papp from Romania explained, “This was my first international camp and I really loved it! It is a big thing, your first camp and I was a little worried that the other guys and the other coaches may not like me because I am one of the youngest here. But once I got to know everyone I saw that they all want to be friends and meet new people so basically after the first day everything went well. I wanted to learn and so I tried to get the most out of everything. I tried to improve my transitions and cycling especially. I think that cycling improved a lot since being here and I am very happy about it. Being part of the ETU Development Camp really helped. I loved to be involved in the ETU and ITU family so I really enjoyed it! I really met new people and made new friends from all over Europe. Also I met a lot of new coaches and learned something from everyone. I am very proud that I could join this big ETU and ITU group. I hope we will see each other as soon as possible. I will go from Alicante to my next race, which is a regional cup just a week before the Balkan Championships.”
Igors Siminaitis, a Latvian coach as well as being a fully-qualified Level 1 Technical Official, “It is such a pleasure to work with such a proactive group. I’m looking forwards for the next training day.”
Ljudmila Medan from Serbia came to Alicante as a coach, “For me as a coach this is first ETU development triathlon training camp. I’m very pleased to be able to be here. I had the opportunity to meet Željko Bijuk earlier and his name is a recommendation for quality work and great fun. I’m interested in the improvement of skills specific to triathlon and work with a large group of international athletes and coaches. I have come away from this course with great improvement of skills for group open-water swimming with wetsuits, transition zone polygon training with mixed groups, group brick sessions in the velodrome and work with a large group of athletes with different competitive experience. The ETU Development Camp has enabled me to improve my coaching knowledge and gave me an opportunity to work with a large group of athletes and coaches with different competitive experience. It was very exciting. After this camp we are heading to Romania, to Transylvania for the Târgu Mures Cross Duathlon European Championships.”
For Sonata Ramoškevičiūtė from Lithuania this was her first ETU Development Camp. “It was my first camp and I was, I admit, a little worried because my English is poor. It was really hard work. I understood that it was going to be hard work at first meeting with the course lecturer. I came here to really get good information and coaching to help me with my swimming and transitions. It was great. They taught us lots of new exercises and I realize now just how very important it is to get things right in transition. I certainly will go home with new skills and perfecting those I have – like really paying attention to what I do there.”
Karel Viigipuu, a coach from Estonia has been part of the ETU Development camps now for a number of years. His experience of many sports enables him to deliver quality training to his athletes. “This was my fourth camp and some of the young athletes’ first camp. I was really excited about coming. I knew from the beginning that it would be fun but I was surprised that it was not so hard in the beginning. Coming to Alicante I really wanted to be able to share experiences with other coaches. Luckily we did. I learned some new running drills and I enjoyed being a lead coach. This ETU Development Camp has been for me a big help. The venue and delivery was superb. Excellent conditions for training, knowing that I am doing the right thing and refining my skills. Next event for me will be in Lithuania, the Kupiškis ETU cup.”
From Slovenia comes Jana Koradej. It was her first camp. “Yes, this was my first camp and hope not the least. I had no worries coming to Alicante but just didn’t know what to expect and how will other athletes look on me. That all went pretty soon and after the first meeting and then after first training I realized that all this camp can give me is everything positive. I really enjoyed open water swimming and the work in the velodrome. Also the roads in Alicante are great. I got new lessons and skills on bike, learnt how to enjoy what I love to do and what I need to do to become a better triathlete. I’m so happy that I had the chance to be the part of ETU Development Camp. All I can say are just positive words. Alicante gave me a lot of skills and things that I start to think differently. I met wonderful people, had great time and I think that this camp was the biggest point in my start in triathlon career.”
Also from Slovenia, is Lana Nemanič. For her too, it was the first chance she had to join the ETU Development Camp. “I was excited to meet new people in this sport, to learn something new and get some more valuable experiences. I realized very soon, that it was going be a lot of fun, a lot of different approaches, different points of view and a lot of hard work. I wanted to get an overall benefit. Nothing specific. Most of all I’m always interested in ability to connect all this three sports in one, in training sessions and in the competitions. It’s hard, but not impossible, to find a perfect balance to succeed. The camp taught me to pay attention in even more things, connected with training and competitions. I realize how much different things are included in the process of training.”
Pavels Smirnovs, from Latvia was also a “newbie” at the Camp. “It came to me on about the third day that this would be fun but hard work. I worked hard on the swimming and bike skills and this camp really helped me in those areas. My next event will be in Lithuania, at the Kupiškis ETU Triathlon Junior Cup.”
Leon Pandža, from Croatia is no stranger to the ETU Development Camps and was looking forwards to training again in this environment. “I knew it would be fun but hard work before I got to Alicante. I wanted to work on my swimming and running technique and this camp certainly helped me. I improved my running, my English, I learned about training sessions and how others are training.”
So, athletes and coaches got together in Alicante and then again most recently in Rio Maior. Together they trained, learnt new training techniques, practiced the skills they had and then tried out new skills. Over the weekend we will try and get to speak to the athletes and coaches who were on the ETU Development Camp and see how they benefitted from the excellent training opportunities provided to them by ETU and its dedicated team of coaches and facilitators. Many thanks to them for the photos.
Watch out for them this weekend as they put into practice what they have learnt. This is our new generation.