Published: 7 February 2012
Report: Scott Hobro
Great Britain coaches Jeremy Hayes and Marcus Bloomfield have spoken of the hard work and discipline required of Great Britain’s BMX youngsters if they are to reach Olympic heights in their careers.
British champion Bloomfield, who was appointed BMX Academy coach after the programme was re-instated in November last year, admits that the new intake of riders to the programme - consisting of Abbie Taylor, Kyle Evans, Grant Hill, Dan McBride, Curtis Manaton and Tre Whyte - found the first few weeks a eye-opening experience.
“They are full time athletes - it’s a 24-hour-a-day lifestyle. What they eat, what they do between sessions affects their next session and reflects on their day.
“Some of them struggled with the workload for the first few weeks. We worked them hard to make them realise they are athletes. I went through that myself, you have to work hard to give yourself a chance to achieve your goals. The first couple of weeks were a learning curve, since then all the riders have accepted it as the norm.
"Ultimately it all comes down to the rider, they have to want it – hunger, discipline, the will to win. They have to learn to manage themselves, to live as an athlete."
“Physically, tactically, we can teach them that but it’s down to them. You can’t give them the will to win. We can give them all the tools but you have to make the most out of every session. The way to get your fastest lap faster is to push out of your comfort zone. My guys are on the track four times a week but the biggest shock to them was the stuff you do away from the track. Some of the guys aren’t as developed as some of the riders from other countries, in the gym we are striving towards being more powerful, stronger. It’s also important to rest properly on rest days as it effects your next day and session - that doesn’t mean go shopping to the Trafford Centre.”
Hayes, who is responsible for both the Talent Team and Olympic Development Programme riders , stressed the importance of riders managing themselves on a day-to-day basis and in the process taking responsibility for their organisation, as well as raising the significance of the ‘basics’ which he feels many riders lack and neglect in their training.
“They have been given a massive opportunity - we give them the guidance, knowledge, but they have to take the opportunity,” Hayes commented.
“Ultimately it all comes down to the rider, they have to want it – hunger, discipline, the will to win. They have to learn to manage themselves, to live as an athlete. Parents have to give their children the responsibility, we have to stand back and empower riders.
“When we look at developing a BMX rider you have to ask ‘what is the complete BMX athlete?’ First you have to develop the skills when they are younger and then the physical side later but the skills are fundamental. A lot of riders neglect these skills and we try to focus on that.
“Ideally what we want is 13 year-olds with the skills of Paddy Sharrock – when a rider has all the skills we can focus on the physical side but that all takes time as the athlete matures. The bike skills never stop, along with the personal lifestyle skills.”