RWA NEWSLETTER # 4 December

Newsletters are released as and when the writer believes there is relevant news or comment to be made.  There is no schedule for the issuing of newsletters..

 

The Australian 10000 metre Race-walk Championship – Why the ACT in January and not on the Australian Track and Field Championship Program?

Following release of the timetable of events for the 2018 Australian Track and Field Champion ships in late October 2017 and the exclusion of the 10000 metre championship from the program a number of posts appeared on face-book expressing amazement, alarm and indeed concern at what appeared to be a snub, or at best an oversight, by Athletics Australia at the Australian race walking community.   I, as President of Race Walking Australia, also received a number of phone calls.

 

I immediately contacted Darren Gocher, newly appointed CEO Athletics Australia expressing concern via emails.  I attempted to contact him by phone but he was unavailable.  He returned my call the following day.  He outlined what he thought to be the reasons for the non-inclusion of the event on the program stating that he had been told elite athletes had been contacted about the overall race walking program and although they may not have been in total agreement they had at least been consulted.  This proved not to be entirely the case.  Further reasons given were the involvement of GOLDOC and the presence of international athletes at a camp at the AIS in January.  He said he would seek further information and that a statement would be prepared that evening.

Later that day Alison Campbell, High Performance Department, forwarded an email to Dave Smith who had previously expressed his concerns to Darren.

Alison’s email stated that reasons were:

  • The Commonwealth Games year is unique;
  • It is GOLDOC’s test event and program flexibility is limited;
  • The 10000 metre event would be an ideal lead event for the 20 Km Games trial; and
  • Holding a 10000 metre event one week later than the 20 Km trial would not be conducive to good performance,

Alison stated that the 10000 metre event was not awarded to the ACT to benefit those attending the Supernova study (Only available to selected invitees, the Under 19 development squad members AND international athletes) and that AA is committed to including the 10000 metre walk in the national titles in future years.

Despite the above it does seem that the reason for choosing the ACT seemingly being to accommodate visiting international athletes and some Australian athletes specifically invited to attend the study camp conducted by the AIS in Canberra at that time. 

There are numerous ongoing issues that need to be resolved by the Athletics Australia leadership in order to best look after the interests of the wider Australian race walking community so that pathways to race walking excellence can be developed for not just a few but for all.


Judging Seminar:

Athletics Australia, in conjunction with RWA, conducted their annual Race Walking Judging Seminar on Saturday 2nd December 2017 in Melbourne. This was the day before the scheduled but cancelled AA 50km Championship meet at Fawkner Park. Presenters were Zoe Eastwood-Bryson (Level 5) and Bob Cruise (former Level 5 Judge) and organization was, once again, carried out by Di Lowden of the VRWC.  This seminar has become the premier race walking judging activity in Australia as evidenced by attendees from interstate.

 

Participants were: Ebony Whiley, Helen Scarborough, Robyn Wales, Josh Savage, Terry O’Neill, Kathleen Marsh, Shane Dickson, Terry Swan, Susanne Callaway, Christopher Kent, Maria Strong, Lou Mirachi, Brenda Felton, Ralf Hamann and Gordon Loughan,

There is still no national database of race walking judges but hopefully with the appointment of an Officials Co-ordinator by AA and ALA a resolution to this will not be too far away.


The Introduction of the Pit Lane:

A document titled ‘Summary of New IAAF Rules Passed in 2017’ issued by Athletics Australia notes that these rules, with the exception of those relating to the discus cage, will come into effect in Australia on October 1st 2017.  These involve the use of Pit Lane.  Some comments/observations follow:

  • South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania did not use Pit Lane during their All Schools Championships conducted in October. The ACT do not conduct walks as part of their All School championships.
  • Victoria did use Pit Lane, with the exception of Under 14 events, for their All Schools conducted on November 3rd, 4th and 5th;
  • I was advised (30 Oct.2017) by Michelle James, AA Competition Manager that there will not be a Pit Lane at the 2017 Australian 50 Km AA Championships to be held in December at Fawkner Park in Melbourne.  Whereas this may seem to contradict previous advice the non-inclusion of a Pit lane is certainly welcomed by many; and
  • The Chief Judge for the Australian All Schools, Zoe Eastwood-Bryson, advised that Pit lane would be used for Under 18 events only.

One would expect Pit Lane will be used for the Australian 10000 metre Championship in January and the 20 Km Commonwealth Games Trial to be held in Adelaide in February.


2018 Australian Road Walking Championships/Second Federation Walk:

With AA and School Sport agreeing that the 2018 Cross Country Championships will be held in Queensland it is highly likely that the Australian Road walking Championships will be held in conjunction with this event.  If anyone has any further information please advise.  Perhaps I missed the announcement

  


Some Thoughts on Coaching:

 

  1. Coaching Principles:

 

The Australian Track and Field Coaches Association Coaching Manual lists five principles of training  (p16 2008).  They are:

 

  • The Principle of Overload;
  • The Principle of Recovery;
  • The Principle of Reversibility;
  • The Principle of Specificity; and
  • The Principle of Individuality.

 

Each of these is discussed briefly below:

 

The Principle of Overload:

This is the most fundamental of the five principles. Without overload improvement is almost certainly not going to occur.  Overload can be achieved by increasing intensity of training effort, number of repetitions and reduced recovery periods between repetitions.  Coaches should attempt to stagger hard maximal training sessions with a less demanding session i.e. never too hard sessions consecutively.

The Principle of Recovery:

This is sometimes expressed using the ratio of Work to Rest however there is no golden rule about what this should be.  It is really dependent on the individual athlete.  The coach and athlete should experiment to see what duration works best and indeed the types of activity are that are most beneficial.  Recovery following a major competition should rarely be non-activity but rather reduced level complementary training effort e.g. swimming, bush walking etc.

The Principle of Reversibility:

Reversibility essentially relates to the ability of an athlete to return to peak fitness following a ‘layoff’ or a recovery period following a major competition effort. 

It is not uncommon for an athlete to lose strength and endurance capacity rapidly during layoffs and recovery.  When returning to training the race walker often seeks to return to the level they were previously at.  This, if not undertaken with care, can result in high levels of stress and sometimes injury. Consequently a coach needs to build in gradual returns to endurance, speed and strength levels in the training program.

The Principle of Specificity:

Essentially this principle requires all work done at maximal effort to be done with correct technique, applying race strategies and in consideration of the energy requirements of the event.

This however does not relieve the race walker of his/her necessity to concentrate on technique development at all stages of training.  The necessity for TECHNIQUE, TECHNIQUE, TECHNIQUE is paramount and should always prevail.

To this end the coach often develops a set of drills for the walker to undertake.  Usually introduced after an analysis of walker technique the selected drills seek to ‘correct’ faults that may inhibit the maximisation of performance.

The Principle of Individuality:

Most coaches are very much aware of the individuality of the athletes they coach.  Each is different intellectually, physically, medically, with time availability for training, their personal lifestyle, in their capacity to absorb work, in their capacity to compete, with the level of family/peer support levels, in the way in which they communicate, in the way they react to stressors and so on.  Thus it would seem rather ludicrous to give each the same program and demand the same outputs from each.  The coach, whilst outlining a training program that may be group based, must be prepared to amend and modify the program to suit individual walkers.  A failure to do so may result in poor or non-optimal performance and even ‘dropout’.

 

Bob Cruise June 2017.

  1. A Generic Training Framework for Race Walkers:

The generic training program below shows the general content of a suggested training program.  For example an athlete concentrating on 3000 metre events should, in the opinion of the writer, undertake a run, a speed session, two sessions of cross training, an endurance session, a speed endurance session and weekend competition. 

A 20 kilometre walker needs much more.  Four running sessions, two endurance sessions, two speed endurance sessions, a hills session, a weights session and weekly negotiated competition. 

Of course all programs should be flexible enough to accommodate the various needs of the successful and emerging race

walker.  A coach should discuss with the walker what his/goals are and at the same time develop a program that best suits the athlete. 

Competitive

 

 

Type of Session

 

 

 

 

Distance (Metres)

Weights

Runs

Hills

Speed

Cross training

Endurance

Speed Endurance

< 1500

 

x

 

x

xx

x

 

1500

 

x

 

x

xx

x

 

3000

 

x

 

x

xx

x

x

5000

x

x

x

x

x

xx

x

10,000

x

xx

x

x

x

xx

x

20000

x

xxxx

x

x

x

xx

xx

50000

x

xxxx

x

x

x

xx

xx

 

 


For a Judge or Aspiring Judge:

Comment on each of the following statements. When doing so it may be helpful to quote the IAAF Rule number where appropriate.

  1. The 10 km track record is 42:23:02.6
  2. We have two DQ Boards on the course but only one is official.
  3. I gave a caution to competitor 351.
  4. The Chief Judge can disqualify outright in the last 100 metres of a race and can remove the athlete from the track.
  5. An athlete once disqualified under the 100 metre rule can only appeal to the Chief walking Judge.
  6. Judges can view the posting Board during the conduct of a race.
  7. Two walking judges cannot give a red card for the same offence at the same time.
  8. If an athlete does not want his/her name on the competition bib for fear of prejudging the athlete may request another front bib.
  9. An athlete does not have to apply for a record if the event is an Athletics Australia or international event
  10. All judging panels must have six individual judges for track events and nine individual judges for road events.
  11. The Chief Judge can only judge in the last 100 metres of an event.
  12. An individual walking judge must give a yellow card prior to giving a red card.
  13. I always use my mobile for checking the time when I give a yellow or red card.
  14. The record for the Australian 50,000 metres held at Fawkner Park is 3:52:06:4.
  15. The 5000 metres on the track starts at the 1500 metre mark.
  16. The Assistant Chief Judge can issue both yellow and red cards provided that he/she is given authority to do so by the event Referee.
  17. The Chief Judge is always appointed by the Organising Committee (LOC).
  18. When I give a red card I always tell the competitor.
  19. If I am approached by a competitor after a race and asked did I give him/her a ‘red’ I always refer that athlete to the Chief Judge.
  20. The Chief Judges Recorder keeps the Chief Judge informed of how many ‘reds’ have been given to each competing athlete.

Did You Know?

The time taken for a single stride[1] of a 15 minute 3000 metre race walker with a stride length of say 90 centimetres is approximately 0.27 seconds (3.7 steps per second).  Given, as research suggests, that 40% of the stride is in front of the body i.e. from the moment of contact with the ground until the vertical upright position then a judge has 0.40 x 0.27 = 0.11seconds to determine whether a walker is in breach of the ‘straight’ leg component of the race walking rule.

 

If the walker is a 12 minute 3000 metre walker with the same stride length then the time to detect a knee infringement is 0.09 seconds (4,63 steps per second).


An Analysis of Walk Judging at the Australian All Schools 2017:

The panel consisted of two IAAF International judges, two Oceania regional judges and two Level 3 Athletics Australia judges – one of the best qualified panels assembled for this level of event in recent times.

An analysis of judging follows:

 

Judge A

Judge B

Judge C

Judge D

Judge E

Judge F

Overall/Average

No of Races Judged

4

1

4

4

4

4

21

No of Reds for Knees

3

3

2

2

4

2

16

No of Reds for Loss of Contact

1

0

3

3

1

1

9

TOTAL REDS

4

3

5

5

5

3

25

Ave. Reds per Race

1.0

1.0

1.25

1.25

1.25

0.75

1.19

Ratio of Knees to Contact

3.0

NA

0.67

0.67

4.0

2.0

1.78

No Agreement with other judges

0

2

0

0

1

1

4/25 = 16%

*Agreement with One other Judge

2

1

1

1

1

0

6/25 = 24%

*Agreement with one or more Judges

2

0

4

4

3

2

15/25 = 60%

Compliance (Sum of * above/ No of Reds)

4/4 = 100%=

1/3 = 33.3%

5/5 = 100%

5/5 = 100%

4/5 = 80%

2/3 = 66.7%

21/25 = 84%

 

Of the 25 reds given only 3 were given without a ‘yellow’ being first issued – unlike Wollongong earlier this year when the figure was close to 40%.

Compliance (84%) indicates a high level of agreement between judges i.e. consistent judging.

An interesting aspect of this event was the use or rather non-use of pit lane.  One athlete received three reds however the third red was not received until after he had finished the event hence he could not enter pit lane during the conduct of the race.  He was ‘awarded’ a 30 second penalty which caused his finishing position to be relegated to 4th from third.

This was yet another example of the allocation of many resources only to be not used. It appears to the writer, given past experiences of its effectiveness in track events Pit lane, should only be used on road events or preferably not at all.


How Good Is This?

Sunday morning at 10 am 10 walkers from four different states who had competed at the All Schools the Friday previously went for a ten kilometre walk around the parklands of Adelaide.  Those participating were Caitlin Hannigan and Amelia Schofield (Queensland), Alana Peart, Jemma Peart, Nikola Mandic and Will Thompson (Victoria), Mitch Baker and Callum Burns (ACT) and Tristan Camilleri and Alix Harlington (SA). Delightful young ambassadors for the sport of race walking.


Contributions:

And of course, your contribution to this newsletter, particularly club reports and reports on the success or otherwise of locally based initiatives would be welcomed as well as any other matter you may think is relevant and beneficial to the further development of race walking in Australia. 

Please forward them to me at bob.cruise@bigpond.com

 

Bob Cruise

President

[1] Assumes no flight phase.