Training for sports teams and individuals across the world has taken a different approach over the last couple of months. This has been no exception for NIAS, who have been engaging strength and conditioning and skill acquisition programs for our athletes, using online means.
The NIAS Cycling program are fortunate to still get out on their bikes to practice and maintain their skills as part of their social isolation individual exercise. The athletes have been motivated during this time to go for rides in their local areas and have been participating in squad challenges with the help of their head coach Michael Crummy.
Lachlan Butters from Tamworth is now in his second year of the NIAS Cycling program and has been going to the local mountain biking park on a daily basis. During Lachlan's visits to the park he has been making the most out of the park's natural and manmade features and trails, practicing on-bike skills and familiarising himself with sections of trails.
Leon Hystek has commenced his first year at NIAS with the 2020 Cycling program and has also been getting out on his bike and doing some endurance riding. These mammoth rides include a 67km ride where he completed 1547 metres of elevation out at Moonbi.
Brothers Campbell and Lawson Walsh from Inverell can ride together and have been visiting Inverell MTB Club's Mountain Bike Track and going on 40km+ rides around Inverell.
Lachlan Marsh has been utilising Tamworth's Mountain Bike Park with his dad. Having the opportunity to regularly ride these trails is proving to be rather beneficial for Lachlan as he has been consistently improving on his personal best times.
Some of the program specific challenges our NIAS Cycling Program athletes have been engaging with include a Strava Art Challenge (using their ride path and GPS data to create visual art) and Virtual Racing Challenges. Other challenges set by their Head Coach include climbing and distance challenges on a daily and weekly basis.
The Virtual Racing Challenge hosted by NIAS sports partner Tamworth Mountain Bikers during the school holidays has allowed the athletes to go to the publicly open Mountain Bike Park and use the Strava App to track their rides. They can then compare their ride with other athletes and against their previous attempts. While the mountain bike trails have been open to individuals obeying social distancing laws, racing virtually has been a challenge in itself for riders, as it has not included the usual track bunting to guide athletes around the race loop. Instead, they have had to familiarise themselves with the course through study or intuition, and then apply it all whilst sharpening their riding skills.
Athlete Profile: Mitchell Stewart
What NIAS program are you in?
I am in the 2020 "Wests Entertainment Group" Hockey Program
What position do you play in field hockey?
I play in either Halfback or Inner
Who is your favourite athlete?
My favourite athlete is Australian hockey player and Olympian Jamie Dwyer.
Who has been your greatest influence on your sports career?
My greatest influence would be Chris Ciriello - he has also played in the Australian hockey team at the Olympics
What goals do you want to achieve in playing hockey?
I would like to compete to the best of my ability.