First I thought the drills were scary. Then I thought the pyramids were petrifying. Now I find the time trials frightening. However NOTHING I have done over the last few months of getting back into the training is as scary as the ‘Athlete Profile’ document I have sat beside me currently.
To be fair the first section isn’t too taxing; gender, name, DOB -the basics, but then comes the first of a number of questions I am undoubtedly going to over analyse. ‘Reasons why you take part in athletics?’ Good question and something I asked myself this evening as I stumbled my way through my last 200m, but the truth of it is that I love having something I am good at. And having a focus. And having something so very far removed from my working life. I also really like sand and the opportunity to jump around in it.
Next up: Targets. An entire page dedicated to my dream, seasonal, performance, process and short-term goals. Where do I want to be as the end of the season? (somewhere warm), What is the big prize? (a life supply of pic’n’mix sweets), What do you want to achieve in the next 3 months (to not fall over and hurt myself) etc. All slightly daunting for someone who, although determined to compete next year, has not thought in any possible way of how she’s going to get there and what she does once she has.
Finally, the ‘Performance Factor Self-Assessment.’ Now the fact that this section needs about 4 paragraphs to explain exactly what it needs you to do should highlight somewhat the complexity of the technical and tactical assessment. Now, you thought running was just running right? Just one foot in front the other in a repetitive pattern, speeding up and slowing down as and when. And jumping, well that’s just bending your knees and pushing off from the floor in a casual and natural manner…WELL YOU WERE WRONG. Coach Man and his technical assessment have broken the art of running and jumping into not one, not 5, not 10, but 15 different sections, all to be judged by yourself on your ability to do them on a scale of 1-8 (with 1 being pantaloons and 8 being the dogs knick knacks). There’s everything from ‘leg cadence’ to ‘hip mobility’, ‘stride patterns’ to ‘arm drive’ and even the chance to grade yourself on the ‘step’, ‘flight’ and ‘landing’ phase of a jump.
The tactical assessment is a bit more straight forward, with classifications to be graded featuring such training favourites as ‘Finishing speed’, ‘self-awareness’ and ‘ability to bounce back’. Judging by last week’s performance however I may need to tack on a final subject for assessment in the ’emotional overflow’ genre.