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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Why did Myra take up mountain bike racing?

Wayne asks the following:
I was looking at Myra's CV, it was interesting to note that she was a high achiever in running, given the discussion that went on about the drop in numbers of runners, I wonder if a blog should be done about how Myra made a choice on to favour cycling over running., I"m sure that athletics is losing big numbers to other sports, obviously mountain biking was never a competing sport against running, there are so many other sports around now that never used to be around. what was it that Myra was looking for in a sport that mountain biking had that running didn't?

Gary Moller comments:
While I can't speak for Myra, I can offer a parent's viewpoint.
Yes, Myra was a talented runner and, like her brother and sister, were regular place-getters in junior athletics. This was with little in the way of hard training. I concentrated on giving the kids the skills to do a sport well and refrained from any hint of heavy duty training. The number one priority was to instil a love of physical activity - not to put them off for life as so often happens!

This development of skills included the use of professional coaches. However, the moment a coach started to get serious and begin asking the kids to start doing, say, early morning training sessions, I would ask them if they would like to do another sport. Their response was always highly approving. So, despite being proficient runners and swimmers at a young age, I switched them back and forth between various sports, including spring board diving, biking and soccer, to name some.

In addition to the development of a skills base at an early age and a love of sport, I also worked on the basis that a young person will gravitate to the activity that most suits them - so long as they are given a sufficiently rich sporting experience as youngsters. This is what happened.

In Myra's case, she showed a talent for riding bikes and, despite my competitive background as a cyclist, she was soon making me struggle to keep up when climbing steep Wellington hills. Myra is simply doing what she loves and what she is very good at.

I would add that this approach that I have taken with my children is in stark contrast to so called "talent identification" programmes that are getting much attention nowadays. Personally, I am sceptical about their suitability for the NZ temperament. Children will only stick at a sport if they love it. Otherwise, they will give it away first chance they get.

1 comment:

Wayne said...

Does this also mean that mountain biking was less off putting becuase of less pushy coaches? Hence her desire to stay in biking as opposed to running? I have seen swimmers for instance leave the sport in droves at early ages. its a sport renown for it's early
It begs the question how many leave one sport for another because of an attraction to the other sport or because of their dislike of the sport they are in?
In Auckland the cyclists seem to outnumber runners in droves.
Running over the waitakeres I seldom come across other runners, I loose count of the number of cyclists up there. Alas its as close as Auckland comes to having a real hill!