I was born in Prague, Czech Republic and started athletics through a selection to Top Sport Athletics School in Prague at the age of 10, and competed for a club called Slavia Praha. The first 4 years were a general overall introduction to all sports with emphasis on athletics and all of its events (track as well as field). However what I found the most rewarding and satisfying in those 4 early years , we tried and practiced all possible sports, team and individual summer sports (football, basketball, volleyball, handball, swimming, cycling, archery, gymnastics, field hockey, softball, lacrosse, badminton, water polo and many others) as well as winter sports (skiing, skating, cross country skiing, ice hockey, curling). It was the best overall preparation to become fully immersed in track and field by the age of 14, with a chosen specialization in sprints (50m, 60m and 150m as Benjamin, with 100, 200 and 300m as Miniemen and Kadetten/Scholieren). There were many competitions which I participated in individually as well as with a club. Few national championships won on 60m and 150m, with few top three finishes in the older categories, and favorite 4x60 and 4x100m relays with many titles won for our club Slavia Praha. As during the communist regime it was difficult to travel abroad, through athletics competitions and training camps we got the opportunity to visit countries abroad and meet athletes from other countries. So my favourite events – 100 and 200m, long jump and 4x100 relay.
Discipline and perseverance were the most important characteristics during those days as we had lessons and training combined every day at school, starting at 7am and finishing 4-5pm, with at least one sometimes 2 training sessions in one day, everyday, managing studies, exams and going 4x per year on training camps. Staying motivated and not getting discouraged even when injuries and not so fantastic results also played an important part of growing up and staying focused and continue training. Unfortunately at the age of 17 injuries started to pile up and forced me to stop competing, but that didn’t change my love for athletics and started to train young athletes (kangaroos).
Later in life the journey with my partner, later a husband brought us for almost 20 years to live in Asia (Malaysia, Thailand and China) where perseverance was important factor to survive in a foreign country, without a close family by, and finding new circle of friends over and over again. The schools had wonderful sports faculty and our kids got engaged in many various sports and competitions, the beauty of not specializing from a very young age, but being exposed to various team and individual sports. Upon our move to Belgium 4 years ago (our children needed to settle and continue their studies in Flemish after attending British international school their whole lives) I was happy to discover De Pinte athletics club very nearby (literally across the forest) and subscribed the kids. 2 years ago I myself decided to become a trainer for the oldest group (kadetten and scholieren) as we do trainings in English. In the meantime I have completed the Athletics Initiator training course in September and started with my General Instructor Athletics Training course.
In regards to preparing trainings I had a lot of help in the beginning from co-trainers Melanie and Hendrik, as I didn’t have any experience training older athletes before, where emphasis on technique and more targeted training goals are needed. Lots of materials and help can be also found online. However my youth introduction to all athletics events help me now in my trainers days as I have learned and tried them all.
I enjoy my training sessions with my athletes, which is a very versatile group of young individuals, and try to adjust my trainings so everyone can find their niche and their strength and becoming better and stronger. We try all track and field events, not specializing on one event in order to gain overall understanding of athletics. There is no discussion that Athletics is the Queen of Sports. I try to engage with my athletes and make the training fun, as socializing is one important aspect of why they attend trainings.
I miss though the competition and the element of prestart stress and butterflies in the stomach with my group as we are a recreational non-competition group. I hope that some of my athletes find more than just love for athletics, but will continue to be physically active throughout their lives, which is one of the key factors of staying healthy.
Until today I love all kind of sports and follow on television and in the news competitions not just in athletics, but in many summer and winter sports. The love for sports instilled from a very young age is still there and will never disappear.
Published by Danny
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