Olongopo Speed Clinic
Olongopo Speed Clinic
Accompanied by PATAFA National Sprint Coach Ernie Candelario. We took what ended up as more than a scenic tour on the way to Olongopo to conduct The Olongopo Speed Clinic.
An early morning bus ride became a 4-5 hour trip. Every topic under the sun regarding the state of Philippine Athletics and Philippine Athletics in general was discussed on the way up. The trip also included passing two ‘MARLON’ Videoke Bars (*The mind boggles) a mere 10 minutes apart.
At The Track
We eventually arrived at Olongopo and were greeted by our hosts. Local Coach Cmikeako Cakomike (who i used to run against at the National Games). And Miss Olongopo turned sprinter Karissa ‘Anne Aliarte’ Lopez aka. El Negra.
It was a scorching hot day, and we ended up at a track which i later realized i had been to before on a summer outing with Obiena family which was on the way to Subic. (I told you Karissa I have been there before :P).
The six lane track looked in much better condition than the decrepit Rizal memorial coliseum oval.
We were introduced to Coach Mike’s athletes which were around 20-30 kids mainly high school. But also featured Karissa and her bestie Angel Redira who were constantly running around and laughing at photos of each other taken on the camera.
Coach Ernie got to work teaching them drills as the kids had already done an earlier workout. He went through the sprint drills with them some of them picked up on them really quickly although it took a few attempts, while other clearly needed more training.
We then gave them several tips on diet, core activation etc. I was armed with the stop watch as coach Ernie instructed the 800m runners up to do 2 x 2 200m with 30 second rest in between, around 6 mins between the set. One boy who is at San Sebastian who happens to live up there finished first on all the reps.
At the Gym
After workout and some picture taking with the athletes it was time to head to the gym. At last i saw it the world famous ‘TETANUS Leg Press’. Anyway we have to improvise as the gym was lacking a lot of crucial equipment and was under renovation.
It was surprising how quickly Karissa, Angel and one thrower took to learning the Power Clean and the Deadlift. On first attempt they were leaning to forward and using there back to lift. But once i had advised them to put there feet under the bar and look straight under the mirror they had near perfect technique. The thrower boy just needed to learn how to shrug and pull at the same time rather than shrug pause and pull. I think these kids were able to learn faster as they never really did the lifts and did not pick up any bad habits to unlearn.
Coach Ernie also taught them step ups and other mobility exercises in the gym.
After that Coach Mike, Coach Ernie, Myself, Karissa and Angel went to have lunch we brought Pizza ‘Garden Special’ as coach Ernie cant really eat meat cause of his gout then it was time for the long trip back home. I also got quite badly sun burnt being up there the whole day.
So in hindsight what can we sum up from this trip me and Coach Ernie had made at our own expense to assist the athletes of Olongopo and there coach Mike. Well here are some collected thoughts.
- Region 3 has not produced a national athlete since Eugene Caluag in the early 90s, and more notably Lydia De Vega of Malabon, Bulucan. However it has had Olongopo born, US Based Eric Cray.
- Coach Mike stated they only have four meets in one year.
- City qualifier
- Regional PRISAA
- PRISAA Nationals
- Philippine National Games
Hence the need to hold maybe perhaps a dual meet with Bulucan State. Or another school or to bring in a rotational series of Regional Weekly Weekly Relays they can share with Nueva Ecija, Bulucan and other tracks in the area.
We also plan to visit more regions when we have time. And return at some stage to Olongopo to see how the athletes are going. We left them with some knowledge and a program and will check up on them from time to time. But the trip was more about a technology transfer to Coach Mike to help him be able to better train his athletes not a trip in which we are trying to take over the athletes.
We also agreed to allow Karissa Lopez who we felt was the more promising athlete of the group PNG 200m Silver medalist joint the Philippine Airforce Squad for the National Champs.