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Coaching perspectives: mentoring helps juniors climb ladders.

Being part of an environment where 25 junior triathletes are enthusiastically practising essential skills, asking questions and absorbing knowledge is a positive, vibrant environment to be in for a coach.

I was fortunate enough to be part of such an environment at the most recent Triathlon Victoria Development Program day at Albert Park, together with other qualified triathlon coaches from around the state and Australian professional triathlete, Emma Jeffcoat.

One of the main benefits I see of this type of environment is that our young athletes get the benefit of learning from different coaches, officials and professionals and then having the chance to reflect on that learning.

Sure, the day has a valuable physical and skill-based element to it, but the lasting value that I saw was in offering these young athletes access to more experienced mentors and thus the opportunity to look at the realities and demands of training and racing further up the triathlon ladder.

In team sports and in business, we often talk about the need for mentorship and triathlon isn’t any different. Clubs within the NRL, A-League and AFL, senior players, who are further up the ladder, take junior players under their wing and become that positive influence and role model. This nurturing approach helps the younger player to learn, improve, become a better person and climb the ladder.

These junior athletes benefit from hearing and learning from qualified coaches with different experiences and specialisations and the valuable voice of a professional athlete who is training and racing towards the top of the ladder.

Aside from those people however, TVDP is creating an invaluable community of junior athletes and friends who have similar interests and are going through similar challenges. Yes, they may be competitors at the next local or interstate race, but they are also supportive and willing to help one another, as you will undoubtedly see at any upcoming races.

As a contributing coach, my hope is that these junior athletes take the chance to learn from those further ahead, support those just behind and feel supported in taking the next step on the rung, wherever they are on the ladder.

You can learn more about the TVDP program here.

Chris White is a Triathlon Australia Accredited Coach at Momentum Endurance Coaching.

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