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UCOL makes a racquet with four sporting codes

UCOL makes a racquet with four sporting codes

In a sporting first, UCOL has brought four codes together for intensive training under its new racquet sports conditioning programme.

A squad of 23 top badminton, tennis, squash and table tennis players from the Manawatu are training for up to five sessions per week, under the watchful eyes of UCOL Senior Lecturer Tim Seaholme and six Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science student interns.

Tim, himself an NSCA certified strength and conditioning coach and an accomplished New Zealand Table Tennis coach, recognised an opportunity for elite athletes in related codes to train together, while giving his UCOL students valuable sports conditioning experience.

The participants were nominated by their local Associations and started the programme in March. Aged from 13 to 24 years old, they are all Manawatu or Central Region representatives and most are part of their sport’s national squad, ranking inside the top 10 in their age group.

“We concentrate on conditioning and movement competency,” says Tim. “The sessions are gym based but are designed to ensure the sportsperson uses the correct muscle groups efficiently to get maximum power,” says Tim.

“Of course there are both similarities and differences among the codes,” he says. “Once good movement patterns are defined, programmes can be customised to the respective sport.”

Manawatu Badminton Development Officer Sandra Lynch says all the badminton players involved in the programme have noticed a significant increase in leg strength, endurance and power. “I was keen for them to have a more balanced and holistic athletic experience,” she says. “The conditioning programme makes demands on them that are quite different to on-court drills and playing.”

”They have learnt loads of little things that they can now put into practice and improve their long term development.”

Kirsten Amey from Tennis Manawatu agrees and has noticed a big difference in her boys’ overall strength and posture which has carried on to the court. She has two sons undergoing the training. “The programme has been excellent,” she says. “We hope it can continue.”

In addition to their existing personal training schedule, each participant is expected to do at least two, 1 ¼ hour conditioning workouts per week.

“They are thriving in the competitive environment,” says Tim. “Often these sportspeople are training in isolation within their sporting code. The group nature of this programme fosters a bit of healthy rivalry.”

The student internships are a natural progression from similar training programmes UCOL’s Sport Performance has established with Young Heart Manawatu’s Football squad and the Jets basketball team.

Tim says the new initiative benefits all involved, “The interns get a realistic, hands-on experience from working with sportspeople who are striving to be at the top of their game.”


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