Leading local sports performers and coaches were given expert insight into coping with injury during the latest Talent Day of the Isle of Man Sporting Excellence Programme.
The Programme, delivered by Kelly Holmes Education, is now in its second year and continues to inspire and prepare a new generation of sporting champions.
Sporting performers and coaches from across a broad range of sports attended the Talent Day at the National Sports Centre, Douglas, on Saturday (January 18), including many who are focused on qualifying to join Team Isle of Man at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Olympian and World Champion rower Toby Garbett, British athlete Dani Christmas, leading Sport Psychologist Chris Gooder and Physiotherapist Victoria O’Donnell were on hand to offer their experience and advice on preventing and recovering from injury. Mark Bennett MBE also returned to the Island to continue his coach development training.
The day opened with a question and answer session hosted by Manx Radio Sports Editor Tim Glover, giving the audience a chance to quiz the experts. That was followed by a Self-Massage session for the sports performers, led by Victoria and Dani, and a Sports Psychology session with Chris.
In the afternoon, attention turned to Core Stability, with double World Champion rower Toby, an experienced Pilates instructor and personal trainer, demonstrating how controlling the position and movement of the central position of the body can maximise performance, and reduce the risk of injury.
After making his senior debut in 1997 in the men’s eight, finishing fourth at the World Championships, Toby was forced to miss two seasons due to illness and injury. He returned in 2000, winning gold at the World Championships in the coxed four and the following year winning his second world title in the coxless four, followed by two silvers in 2002 and 2003. In 2005, Toby set up his own personal training business.
Toby’s workshop included a range of exercises to develop improved core stability and provided an understanding of the long-term benefits.
He explained: ‘Core stability training targets the muscles deep within the abdomen which connect to the spine, pelvis and shoulders, which assist in the maintenance of good posture and provide the foundation for all arm and leg movements.’
‘There are many benefits to core stability training. Not only can it maximise performance, but will help reduce the risk of injury resulting from bad posture. It will also increase strength and flexibility and protect the spine and skeletal structure.’
After a day of Coach Development and Sports Psychology, the coaches re-joined the sporting performers for a team quiz before a final question time.
There was a surprise for the audience when Dame Kelly Holmes appeared by video link, and explained how coping with injury can be a major part of any athlete’s career, including hers.
The double Olympic Champion said: ‘Throughout my journey to two Olympic gold medals, I was afflicted with numerous career-threatening injuries. Unfortunately, it is inevitable that all sports people will at some point in their career suffer with an injury. It is how we deal with these obstacles that will determine our ultimate performance and success.’
The Isle of Man Sporting Excellence Programme, launched in 2012, is supported by leading Island businesses SMP Partners, Creechurch Capital and Microgaming. In addition to elements of physical training, the programme, which also involves Isle of Man Sport, the Isle of Man Coaches Association and the Isle of Man CGA, offers expert knowledge to address the emotional, physiological, psychological and social aspects of being a top sports performer.
The next Talent Day takes place at the NSC on March 23, 2014.