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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 07:53 GMT
Getting Bradford Bulls up to speed

Super League seems to get more competitive every season, with every team looking to gain an edge in whatever way they can.

Olympic silver medallist Jamie Baulch joined Bradford on the pre-season training camp in Lanzarote, with the retired athlete taking a series of speed sessions with the Bulls players.

He tells BBC Sport about his experiences with Bradford.

Former Olympic silver medallist Jamie Baulch
By Jamie Baulch
Former Olympic silver medallist

"In sports like rugby league, speed is of the essence - literally.

JAMIE BAULCH FACTFILE
Former Olympic silver medallist Jamie Baulch
Born: 3 May 1973
Career highlights: 1996 Olympics - silver; 1997 World Indoors - silver; 1997 Worlds - silver; 1998 Europeans - gold; 1998 Commonwealths - bronze; 1999 World Indoors - gold; 2002 Europeans - gold; 2002 Commonwealths - silver; 2003 World Indoors - bronze

"You can be the most skilful player, but if you can't reach the ball or get back to make a tackle quickly enough then you won't be able to use that skill and you're not half as effective.

"I've always been shocked that more clubs haven't picked up on it. They seem to think that people are either fast or they're not and there's not much that they can do about it.

"But they wouldn't say 'so and so's not very strong so there's no point sending him to the gym' - and the same goes for running.

"I was really impressed by the standard of Bradford's players. Obviously they are pretty fit guys but if nobody's ever taught you how to run properly then you'll have problems.

"I'm not saying I can turn an 18st prop into Linford Christie, but you can get someone to run as fast as he can. If he can be faster than his opposite number then that's an advantage for his team. It's all relative.

"If you can get someone to bring their 100m time down from, say, 13 seconds to 12.5 then it's worth doing. OK, it's not an Olympic record but it means he's a faster - and therefore more effective - player than he was before.

"Bradford's players were outstanding to work with. I really got on with them as characters, and found them very receptive and professional in their approach.

"Being from Wales, I'm more of a union person than league - I played with people like (former Wales lock) Chris Wyatt at college - but watching video analysis of how Bradford play really taught me a lot.

"In terms of what we did, most of it was teaching them technique. People think you just put one foot in front of the other as quickly as you can but there's much more to it - if you want to do it properly.

"I was trying to embed things that, to me, are simple - but if you've never been taught them, they aren't simple at all.

"Let's be honest - one week isn't going to change the world, but if they can work on the things I've taught them then it will make a long-term difference.

Bradford's Ian Henderson
Henderson made major improvements to his speed

"It's difficult to single out people, but Ian Henderson would probably admit that his technique wasn't the best but he ended up making big improvements.

"I was also very impressed with Paul Deacon. He's obviously coming back from injury but we did one very hard session, and he pushed himself to the absolute limit.

"I'd say 'concentrate' when I could see he was getting tired and as the session went on, he got faster and faster because he was paying attention to his technique. That was superb.

"When you get tired it's totally natural that your technique starts to go to pot - your arms feel heavy, you're struggling to breathe and so on. But in athletics, one of the most important things you get taught is how to keep your form together when you're ready to drop.

"It's not something I anticipated doing when I retired from athletics, but I would like to do more if I have the time.

"I run my own media company, One Vision Executive, now and that takes up most of my time.

"I've learned that the most important thing in coaching is to be able to effectively communicate what it is you want to say. You can be the fastest runner in the world but if you can't get what it is that makes you fast across to the next person then you're no good as a coach."

(Jamie Baulch was speaking to Phil Harlow)

SEE ALSO
Olympic medallist Baulch retires
22 Aug 05 |  Athletics
Jamie Baulch
30 Sep 03 |  Profiles


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