Kingsley Ijomah may not play a team sport; he rows and completes in a single scull. However, Kingsley is acutely aware that to achieve his sporting goals he must work as part of a team. And Kingsley isn’t alone; behind every athlete is a whole crew who make achieving the strength,fitness, health and speed levels needed to complete at world-class level possible.
Kingsley has now switched his training program to a more sustainable long-term plan which he will continue to follow for the next seven months. Prior to lockdown and the cancellation of Tokyo 2020 Kingsley was undertaking a highly intensive training program, designed to achieve greater speeds and ensure his fitness was at its peak, for the Paralympic Games. Much like working in a sprint, the five months prior to the Games are when the hard work is ramped up tenfold. These intensive training programs are not sustainable long term, but are a vital part of getting competition ready.
Kingsley’s current training program is designed and adapted by the team, working alongside him every step of the way. Not only does Kingsley have his water session coach who is out with him, working on technique and positioning, but also a dietitian to ensure he is fuelling his body correctly, a trainer to plan his program and a strength and conditioning coach to work on his physical ability and stamina.
“No athlete trains in isolation,without the team I have around me I wouldn’t be rowing at the level I am today.”
However, this week for the first time Kinsley’s team are working together. Where as previously they had worked with him on an individual basis, each focused on their separate area of the training program and goals, they have now come together to ensure each element of the training is working in unison, to achieve the best possible outcome. The training data is shared amongst the whole team so every member has full visibility of Kinsley’s performance and can map that against his physical training, strength, technique and diet, adjusting and flexing as required.
“Not only will this new way of working together and sharing data enable me to become a better athlete but it strengthens our team bond. I want to work harder and get better but I also know that my team know the best way for me to achieve this, which often isn’t to just keep pushing myself. They know the long-term goal and have the expertise to ensure I’mat my peak when I get there. As we get closer to the Games next year they will ramp up the program. I know it will get hard but I have them supporting me. If I win a medal in 2021 they should all get one too!”
"They know the long-term goal and have the expertise to ensure I’mat my peak when I get there. I know it will get hard but I have them supporting me. If I win a medal in 2021 they should all get one too!”
So many of us take teamwork and the benefits I delivers for granted. However open communication channels collaboration and the sharing of skills and expertise can open up opportunities and enable possibilities that would be impossible working alone.
Follow Kingsley’s journey to Tokyo 2021 on the Gravity 9 blog or connect with Gravity 9 on LinkedIn for twice monthly updates.