20th December 2018


The first British Athletics Futures Academy Programme camp of the year took place last weekend at the National Performance Institute (NPI) in Loughborough.

The aim of the camp was to welcome athletes and coaches onto the programme and provide an enthusing and motivating experience, with an overview of the environment, expectations and support available.

It provided an  opportunity to establish detail around their Individual Athlete Plan (IAP) with their Programme point of contacts, which will identify where the programme can support and add value going into 2019.

Athletes experienced a number of sessions with British Athletics’ Futures Performance Support staff, which gave an insight and overview of the programmes role whilst providing practical information around key principles to support their development.

British Under-18 discus record holder James Tomlinson (coach: Paul Jensen; club: Pembrokeshire) who is now in his second year of the programme, feels the sessions at the weekend will benefit him moving into 2019.

He hopes that by having access to the services on offer from British Athletics, he can build strong relationships with the members of the team that continue his progression.

He said: “The weekend has allowed me to fine-tune my plan for the course of 2019 and where I can use the programme to enhance what I’m doing further.

“Nutrition is one of the things that a lot of people leave until last and thanks to the programme and last weekend, I’m learning that it should be one of my top priorities and how to manage it properly.

“Having the one-to-one session allowed my weight loss progression to be seen and be broken down effectively. It’s also created the link and it gives me someone who is overlooking what I’m eating and making sure that I’m getting the right fuel, whereas before we were being told ‘this is good, this is bad’.”

Tomlinson feels that the sessions highlighted several key areas where he can continue his development and also pinpoint how he can use the programme effectively to help him get there.

“The sessions were much more beneficial this time because they were one-to-one and to have that attention allows you to express your personal needs and wants and say things that you might not say or ask in front of a whole room of people.

“We’ve been able to outline our performance plans for the course of the year and we’ve gained confidence in them because the British Athletics staff have seen them and agreed them and added pointers in.

“Having that weekend allowed me to get to know the team better, not just the athletes on the programme but the performance team and the British Athletics staff.

“For some of the others, the S&C educational session  also really benefited those who haven’t done anything like that before and they were able to get a good fundamental base on lifting and strength,” he added.

Alongside access to all the services, the programme also enables athletes to have access to tools that will benefit their performance, such as the chance to utilise altitude training. Jake Heyward (James Thie; Cardiff) will head away on altitude training for the first time in January.

He assessed: “The weekend started with a psychology session when we arrived that was really active and gave us a chance to appreciate how much is going on around us that we might not notice.

“Personally, one of the most beneficial parts was being able to train and have Trevor (Painter) and other members of staff watch me train and perform, it wasn’t just them taking my word for it.

“It’s nice for them to be able to see the process and get an appreciation of the finer details and what goes on behind closed doors, but they can also pick out areas of development for my plan that I can work towards.

“To be able to train frequently and have the support team throughout the weekend was excellent and you could book the sessions when you needed them.”