Training Opportunities for CT Athletes

This weekend was the start of the outdoor track and field season in Connecticut and there were also several opportunities for coaches and athletes to receive some specific instruction in a variety of events to help their teams reach their potential. 

The most popular destination was the 43rd Annual Massachusetts Track Coaches Association Clinic in Marlborough.  Hundreds of coaches make the annual trip to this two-day clinic to learn from some of the best coaches in the nation in a variety of disciplines and meet coaches from all over the northeast. 

Closer to home, Rich DeStefano held his 25th Annual Javelin Clinic at Cheshire Academy.  Coach Destefano competed in 2000 US Olympic Trials and has been a professional coach at both the high school and professional level.  This year's clinic featured former American record holder, two time Olympian and 2012 Olympic Games coach, Tom Pukstys.

Approximately 50 athletes of all ages from middle school to masters and several coaches participated in the clinic which is a labor of love for Destefano.  "I feel if I can teach athletes the proper fundamentals, they will have greater enjoyment of the sport and see more improvement."  Coach Rich offers private and semi-private javelin training and has been working with beginners to All American since the mid 90s.

In the quiet corner of the state in the town of North Franklin, Russ Versteeg, offered a coaches' pole vault clinic on Sunday morning.  The coach of Norwich Free Academy and Skyjumpers, a private pole vaulting club based out of Thames Valley Academy of Gymnastics has been coaching vaulters from all over the state since 2006.  

At the beginning of the clinic, Versteeg explained his goal was "to help you folks out to help your kids do better."  The three-hour class explained the physics of pole vaulting, teaching beginners from the ground up to advanced vaulting. 

There are other opportunities for coaches and athletes to receive individualized instruction in a variety of events.  Bloomfield coaches Garfield White and Damian Larkins offer private coaching to athletes from any school by appointment at Bloomfield High.  Both coaches have been involved with too many class championships to count have also led several State Open championship teams. 

In western Connecticut, The New Balance Running Academy offers an overnight cross country camp August 14-19th at Camp Wah Nee in Torrington and group pole vault practice and private coaching in a variety of events at The Danbury Sports Dome.  The sessions offer specific drills, training guidelines and motivation to help athletes reach their goals.

The Dome also has a 360m indoor track that is available for workouts for individuals or teams during inclement weather.  As their motto states, "its always perfect in the Dome!"

Another great resource to lean learn from the comfort of your home, check out Milesplit's series of articles "TECHNIQUE: Track & Field Tips From The Pros." These videos are the best place to learn new track and field tips from the world's most elite athletes. Scroll through the slideshow to watch videos from top sprinters, distance runners and field performers.

For an athlete to reach their potential, they must be students of their event.  These are just a few of the many opportunities area athletes have to gain an edge on their competition.   Look for to highlight various opportunities for athletes and coaches to up the level of the sport in Connecticut.