Our Development Team continue to drive performance and grow as a team under Coach Scott Dixon. They have recently headed up to Scotland for their final camp before flying out to snow!
The purpose of the Aviemore camp was to introduce biathlon shooting with real weapons, climb far larger hills than they have ever climbed before and learn from speakers with impressive sporting accolades what kinds of obstacles they may one day face.
For the first time the development team were able to try biathlon with real biathlon weapons and targets at Glenmore Lodge with 6 time Winter Olympian Mike Dixon instructing. With little time to fit in a great deal of learning, many athletes far exceeded expectation and under ‘fun race’ conditions proved capable of hitting up to 70% of the targets in their first ever increased heart experience with biathlon weapons and targets.
The Cairngorm lift road leading to the Cairngorm car park was also used for some training that is a hefty ascent and the team ascended it multiple times throughout the camp, giving them their first real taste for how difficult training will become over the next few years. The improvement from their first ascent to their second was enormous with 100% of the team opting to do half the hill again despite the wind, and with others doing the hill climb 2.5 times.
It was an amazing all round camp and some of the athletes even beat Scott in a ‘who can stop in the shortest distance on rollerskis’ competition. Scott’s ego was, and remains, badly bruised.
Beyond roller skiing and shooting there were some great evening activities to pull the team together, and also some amazing talks. Mike Dixon talked to the development athletes for one of our evening activities. He spoke about his journey, setbacks and accomplishments, but drove home the point about the importance of persistence, consistency and being resourceful. Mike was never the best at acquiring new skills, but made up for it in stubbornness, sacrifice and relentless hard work.
Sionade – Current World Champion shooter and Olympian at the age of 25 also talked to the team about her struggles and successes. Against the odds, Sionade rose to the top of the world rankings and despite this exceptional achievement spoke of how she was unable to avoid negative thoughts when things did not go to plan at the Japan Olympics. Sionaide’s exceptional came back to resume world titles but has not always led to the kinds of perfect emotional outcomes people often imagine when picturing their life after standing atop the podium. She spoke of the new challenges that face her both with her physical and mental health and inspired the team to think deeply about their education along with their sport.
UK Anti Doping also ran an initial education session to get the Team thinking about the subject and the requirements to ensure clean sport at all levels.
The camp was a huge success both in terms of physical improvement, theoretical understanding of the sport and education about the challenges extremely successful sportsmen and women have to go through when chasing goals and creating new ones.