As we undergo the formalisation process of our high performance program, I have received a few questions seeking clarification on what the program entails and what are the services we offer our student athletes. Before going into some more detail, it is important to say that high performance is a set of behaviours as much as it is outcomes or selections. It is discipline, character, courage and resilience as much as it is about any outcome. While we may at times all focus a little bit too much on what happens on the court/field, is the work off the field which is just as important and underpinned with philosophy which in turn shapes the people we become. Our high performance program is a values driven, holistic approach to developing student athletes led by high performers to create an environment of excellence.
Many people need no introduction to Running Club as the sessions are becoming so popular on Monday and Friday mornings that we have over 100 people leaving their beds early to participate in improving their health and fitness along with their families. Started by Adam Thompson and Jon Dyer, the concept has grown into the high performance space where, by invite on Wednesday mornings year round, our high performance students are committed to improving both their cardiovascular fitness, and their speed and agility with targeted outcomes. These High Performance Conditioning Sessions are designed to meet the needs of the individuals and sports within the group.
The students who should be attending the Wednesday morning sessions are those who are selected into Senior First teams in Football, Netball, Cricket, Volleyball and Soccer. Students are also invited to attend if they are involved at State or National level in their chosen sport.
The students in our program undergo testing at the end of each term to track their progress and to notify First Team Coaches about the athletes in their respective programs. Coaches will also receive weekly reports about attendance at both the high performance conditioning sessions and strength sessions in the gym, which are conducted by our S&C Coach, Gerard Dutton.
Please note, any first team members who cannot attend these sessions due to outside sporting commitments are expected to consult with myself about their load management so we are able to track their sessions and to avoid over training.
Now let’s meet the men at the forefront of Running Club and our High Performance Conditioning sessions, Jon Dyer and Adam Thompson, who have taken the program from its humble beginnings with three or four students once a week, to what we see today with as many as 120 students participating.
What year did you start at Westminster School? 2000
What is your sporting background? I played soccer, tennis and basketball at school and moved into elite basketball playing interstate and overseas for a few years. My basketball highlight was being a part of the Athletes in Action US College tour teams in 1995, 1996 and playing in an exhibition game against the Adelaide 36ers. I moved into coaching in 1998 and have coached at Senior and Junior levels. I was named Girls' Coach of the Year in 2014 at the Sturt Sabres Basketball Club. I am now involved with the managing and running the High Performance preseason for the Sturt Sabres Premier League Mens' team.
In 2007 Mr Thompson and I started running together and I participated in a half marathon with him. Since then I have completed two full marathons and 30+ half marathons. My running highlight was finishing the Melbourne Marathon inside the MCG and getting my PB of 3:18:13.
What year did you start at Westminster School? 1995
What is your sporting background? I was always playing sport when I was younger. With cricket being my favourite sport as a teenager, I managed to break into the Glenelg District Cricket Club by 18. I was grateful to be able to play against several former first class and test players during my time at Glenelg. In my early 20s I became interested in multi-sports, such as triathlon and duathlon. This culminated with me realising a long term goal of racing in Europe. As I became older, cycling became more of a focus. I was fortunate enough to receive two medals at State Championships.
Jon Dyer and I have also used an interest in running and our desire to set a good example for children to raise money for others. Along with the involvement of many staff from the Prep School, we have run relays to and from Victor Harbor and also completed 80 km in a night on the Senior School Oval for several worthy causes.
Having a degree in Physical Education, I have always been keen to help students and colleagues in a physical sense. Not only for the purpose of being fitter and healthier, but also as a way of developing a person’s self-belief, pride, resilience and wellbeing. Such philosophies are integral to what Jon and I try to bring to Running Club and the High Performance sessions.
Congratulations to Jessica McManus who had a very successful weekend at the South Australian Athletics State Championships. Jessica competed in just two events but managed to medal in both, winning gold in her U15 800m race and silver in the U15 1500m race. Jessica has qualified to compete at the National Athletics Championships in Sydney in early April. There were a number of other Westminster athletes who also competed and did well, including Aiden Ross, Keira Ross, Faith Pearson-McKenzie, Lakara Stallan, Caitlin Stallan and Taylah Stallan.
Head of Sport Development and High Performance