Saturday, 30 July 2011

The Gravy Train

On a morning when I only have about 30mins to get a workout, I will often turn to the turbo trainer - aka Gravy Train due to the amount which it makes me sweat!.  It's much better to get outside, but with all the clothing, gear, water bottles and bike check, it would take your near 30mins before you get on the bike.  At times I feel like a woman getting ready for a ball there is that much gear to get on.

After taking Friday as a rest day, I needed a work out to keep me ticking over til next week.  So I decided for a short intense session on the turbo.  My training bike which I have hooked up to the turbo is a TREK 1000 Discovery Channel, 8 speed compact chain setup, so easily pushed in the big gear

After a 3minute warmup spin and Sky Sports News on the telly I began a fairly intense workout.  In the biggest gear, and highest resistance on the turbo I set out for a 25min TT.  I had a target of maintaining a 100rpm cadence, to compensate for the compact chainset on the bike.

During the 25mins I worked up a great sweat and got a good session into the legs.  Sky Sports News was dominated by Man City and the transfer market.  My beloved Everton never get a mention, poor Moyes doesn't have any money to spend.

After the 25mins, I got off the bike happy to have got in a good workout.  My cadence counter showed an average of 108rpm, so I was happy enough.

Lot of cyclists I talk to hate the turbo trainer.  I agree that it is far from ideal, but if weather is bad or you only have a short training window, it serves its purpose.  However, you anyways need to have a structured routine so you have targets to meet.  This time mine was to maintain a high cadence for 25mins, about the length of a 10 mile TT.

Mamore Gap - Part of Inishowen 100

Just over 2 weeks to go until the Inishowen 100, so another tough week of cycling ahead next week.  Is the Tour De France 2012 still a realistic target ;-)

Got bad news this morning, Brigid Heavron died this morning.  We coached her son Danny when I was involved with the Derry Minors. We were beaten in the All-Ireland Final, but I remember chatting to Brigid in the Hotel after the game and she was so proud of what Danny had acheived during that season. RIP Brigid

Are we being too restrictive

Your team is two points behind, time is almost up. You are looking around for that spark that cannot be found. All the players are cancelling each other out and there isn’t a match winner to be found.
Since all our coaches are following the same steps, preaching the same things it is very often the team with the talented performer that comes though. We call him the match winner. One example was in a 2001 game in Thurles. Kerry trailed by a point, Maurice Fitzgerald lined up a sideline kick from distance and curled it over with the outside of the boot.

Maurice Fitz - 2001 v Dublin

Coaches up and down the country were tearing their hair out. They are preaching that players punt every ball and don't encourage what Maurice Fitz done. Are we wrong?
Our goal in coaching is that we will develop players who will play on our club senior teams and maybe go on to play for the county. We want them to be able to be fit enough to last the game, we want them to take the ball first time and break a tackle. They will also be taught about diet and preventing injury.
Why not dedicate some time in your coaching sessions for players to express themselves. In the dying moment of a championship game you may want your wing forward to drive forward evading opponents and kick over the bar, so we need to give them a chance to practice.
It is very important that we promote team play but there will always be the day when a bit of individual brilliance will be required.

Back to basics

In the past children played in the playground at school. They played, tag, hide ‘n’ seek etc and got all the exercise they needed. Times have changed. To compensate for this, the GAA Coaching Hierarchy began to put a huge emphasis on ABC’s at primary school level. Agility, Balance and Coordination.

So in an era where the internet, TV and video games are highly accessible, youth officers and coaches have rolled out a very well structured coaching scheme to teach kids basic movement and exercise skills.

However there is another worrying trend creeping into our game. How many players can kick a long pass accurately? How many players can catch a high ball in a ruck of players? Can they put the ball over the bar on a regular basis?

High Ball into Donaghy for the first goal

Kerry’s decision to put Kieran Donaghy into full forward transformed their 2006 season. It was back to the era of Bomber Liston, Jimmy Keaveney etc. However, for this to happen you need two things…..a strong target man who can win his own ball and players who can direct a good pass into the full forward line.

In your club U14 team do you have players who can pass the ball accurately? How many forwards in your U16 team can score regularly from play? Can your midfielders, full back and full forward win a high ball against their opponent?

There are so many other things creeping into our game. Third midfielder, two man full forward line, blanket defence, breaking ball and turnovers. The list could go on.

These can all be very useful additions to a teams armoury if they are looking for success or trying to play against a difficult opponent. But are we neglecting the basic skills of our game?
  • Consider the advantages of improving your long kicking, can your passes unlock a defence?
  • Consider the advantages of increasing your scoring rate, can you be another source of scores for your team?

  • Consider improving your overhead catch. Can you win more kickouts or make a match winning catch at the edge of the square?
Just something for us to think about.

Crashes Everywhere

I am new to this blogging lark, so thought I'd start somewhere.

After watching all the crashes in Le Tour, it often makes you wonder how dangerous cycling can be.  Only this week in the club cycling scene there was two crashes.  I didn't attend the Bann Valley Race on Tuesday night, but oncoming cars and sprint finishes don’t mix. A recipe for disaster. 

Two of the Carn Wheelers lads were in the middle of it, with Stephen Walsh acting as a landing pad for Cathal Doyle and a few others.  I usually finish in the bunch and could very well have been in the middle of the chaos as well.  Stephen was quotes afterwards as saying “I fell as if I got an awful kicking”.

Then on Thursday night at the Inter Club race on the Wood Road circuit, Martin Bradley of Bann Wheelers sustained a nasty shoulder injury.  So cycling can be a risky game, so it makes you appreciate the Schlecks, Evans, Voeckler and Hoogerland who are going at much faster speeds than I can ever dream of.

Last year I was in a crash (Martin was also involved in that one), the difference was we have to fix our own bikes and get up for work the next day.  The pros just get another bike, get on with the job and let the medical team get them back ready to race.
The interclub race the other night was on the Wood Road course, the venue of my one and only race win.  That was in the days when the first time racers got away with 3min head start to see how they got on.  I am not in the first group now, so no head start.

Our group were going very well including Hugh Evans, Paul Duffy, Gerry and Mickey Kelly from Carn Wheelers.  I thought the pace was going well and kept pushing away up at the front, hoping we could have held off the chasing scratch group.  They caught us going through Tobermore for the third time, and went past opening up a gap.

I was feeling in great shape and kept powering away up at the front and helped get us back with the leaders.  On the final ascent up Tobermore the sprint started and I just hadn’t got the legs for the sprint, but was happy with my overall “workhorse” performance.

Well done to Cathal who finished in 3rd place overall.

It was a tough week with 40mile on Saturday (including Cullion) followed by 60 on Sunday on the Greencastle route.  On Monday and Wednesday, I had a solo cycle to and from Ballymena (42mile round trip @ 20.5avg).  Then the tank well and truly emptied at race on Thursday.  210 miles in 6 days.

Cousin’s wedding tomorrow, a few stout, but not too many.  Have to think of Sunday 14th August…..Inishowen and my old friend Mamore Gap.

This is my first attempt at this, so we’ll just have to see how it goes.