Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Looking ahead.....

It has now been a week since the momentous events that took place in Madrid. I use the word momentous intentionally as winning team and individual medals was a major milestone on the road to getting Team GBR Jumping back on the Championship podium. With horses it is always a very fine line and a knock here or a twist there can change a team’s dynamics and potential overnight. I guess it hit me the other morning as I opened the yard gate in the dark to leave for the office: In 12 months London 2012 will be over, a memory, passed in to history; I couldn’t help thinking…….. ‘what will the medal table show’. I admit that it sent a shudder down my spine.
But then, to quote one of our most well recognised Groom Philosophers……. I gave my head a shake. There is no point in worrying….. remain focused…. Do not be distracted and keep the faith!! I believe we have the riders, the horses, the grooms, the staff, the owners and the plan.
I am already feeling the pressure increasingly from some of the ‘distractions’. There has been a noticeable increase in requests for riders’ time; whether this is from the press or from Team 2012 (a UK Sport, BOA, BPA and LOCOG fundraising partnership). Take your ear muffs off…… I am not going to have a pop at the press…..  I understand the responsibility the elite riders have in promoting their sport…… but there has to be a balance and that is where myself, the Performance Managers and the Federation Communications Managers will work with the riders.
I am reminded of a comment by a Canadian athlete and a coach post Vancouver 2010… “You can do all you like to meet requests for athletes time pre-Games but if you do not success at the Games you will be slated….. if you do nothing pre-Games and win a bucket full of medals….. all will still love you.”
We are now into the ‘admin and planning’ time of the year. It is a vital time of year as the foundations that we put down now will be the base on which we build next years plans. It is also now that all the training camps are organised – the prime training period is January-April and the staff at Stoneleigh, the Performance Managers and the Development Coordinators will be hard at work booking venues, accommodation and guest coaches. It is a fine balance between training delivered at centralised squad sessions and the training riders organise through their own support structures. For this reason, we place great value on what we call ‘home visits’, which are, as it says on the can, where the World Class Programme staff visit riders at their home training venues. This allows and promotes better communication between the trilogy of rider/rider’s own support teams/World Class staff.
Paralympic ticket sales have now reached the end of the first tranche. It will be interesting to see what sales have been like - I hope all have purchased equestrian tickets. If you didn’t then you may have missed the opportunity to see equestrian sport in Greenwich. The GBR Team want your support!
I think it is time that we brought back ‘transportation to the colonies’ for certain crimes….. Top of my list is lorry drivers that block dual carriageways by overtaking other lorries…… when they are only going 2mph faster. 10 miles, b****y 10 miles I followed 5 lorries chopping and changing on the M11. Grrrrrrr……

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