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June 06, 2020

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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

T&T OLYMPIC TEAM TTO PARTNERS

TWENTY-NINE coaches and other individuals involved in sport and the development of local athletes will today conclude their participation in a two-day workshop on concepts and approaches to improving athletic performance. The exercise, a collaboration between the TT Olympic Committee (TTOC) and BPTT, is being run by the US-based Michael Johnson Performance (MJP) organisation, and is taking place at Olympic House in Port of Spain.

Tied to the TTOC’s drive to achieve ten Olympic gold medals by 2024, the workshop, the third of its kind, has as its theme “Perfecting Performance-Striving for Excellence-Faster, Stronger, Higher.”

Drew Coffee, one of two MJP facilitators, is on his third such mission to TT; he explained MJP’s role as one of exposing the participants to new approaches and ideas.

“It’s just about revamping the coaches, enhancing it, not necessarily changing it,” the former Abilene Christian University football player told Newsday. He added that he expects the workshop will serve to “expose a systematic approach to training, and overall, improve athleticism.”

Having done two previous stints in TT in 2014, Coffee observed the approach to preparation and training is not nearly as intense as what is the norm in the US. “Ideally, if you’re talking TT and the Carnival season is approaching, you can see that there’s a high-performance mentality toward getting ready for Carnival,” he argued. “So if we could just use some of that same mentality to, not necessarily train, but drag that into sport, I think that would help reach our goal of ten gold medals by 2024.”

Coffee’s co-facilitator, MJP’s Global Performance Director Lance Walker could not make the trip; yesterday, Walker delivered an online presentation on the qualities a coach ought to possess.

Coffee, a Regeneration and Recovery Specialist, said it was not that MJP had it all figured out. “There are certain things that people are not gonna agree with,” he admitted. “But exposing them to what we deal with is a big thing, because then you can now take that back with you to whatever athletes you’re working with, you can share that with them, with other coaches in the field on the island.”

The participating group includes Gerard Franklin and Kelton Thomas of Tobago, as well as representatives from Volleyball, Swimming, Gymnastics, Hockey, Cycling and Tack and Field, as well as Shayne Cooper, a strength and conditioning coach who underwent three months of training at the MJP Centre. While the workshop ends today, Coffee will remain in TT until June 6, conducting associated work, including practical sessions and spreading the gospel of high-performance culture and training.

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