The Youth & Junior National Championship was held in Westchester Ohio in August 2013. What a fantastic experience this was, beginning with the location, organization, preparation and the competitors. It was a three day event, one day for youth & junior triathlon camp, one day for youth championships and one day for junior championships.
This event was linked to the Youth & Junior coaching certification camp held in the same place days before and we all were invited to be part and see first hand top coaches and their triathletes, learn and interact with them. The coaching camp was an eye opener and definitely it is a must to take if you want to coach young triathletes, because there you will realize how different it is from coaching adults. To learn from the people who have in their hands the future of the Olympic team in the country is just amazing, the procedures, the nutrition, the hydration, the way of talking, the strategies, the stories, the results and the way they think between others. The whole thing about how to produce an Olympian.
The USA Triathlon organized us in a way where we all worked in our specialty and with triathletes of all ages. From the little ones to the fast juniors. The interaction was dynamic and rich in knowledge, one thing I loved the most was to be doing drills and running with them while they were asking questions. Besides going with them, coaches had to instruct about form, posture and tell/show “how to” in case there is a need for it. The event was all supported from day one and this included kayaks, lifeguards, ambulance, aid stations and all the others.
“Be Safe & Have fun” is the slogan, they all know how important is being safe during training and during racing. Like wearing helmets and buckle them, hand signaling, who to ride with and where to ride bicycles, never swim alone between others.
But one thing that caught my eyes, ears and it was really impressive because it was the same in the eight year old triathlete and the seventeen year old triathlete. It was the respect for the elders. They were polite and respectful with everyone around and their coaches. The level of respect was just impressive.
The highlight, the young triathletes were questioned about their experience at the end of day one and items from all the sponsors were given away as reward. One of the questions was to name one coaches in the running group when a junior’s hand was picked between all those hands up ready to answer and he said my name 🙂 . He received a Rudy Project triathlon package.
I learned a lot and I look forward to help future generations of triathletes and who knows maybe I am lucky enough to produce an Olympian.