SOLIHULL cycling coach and Concorde CC member Denis Feasey has raised concerns over the lack of sporting provision in the Midlands in the wake of the Olympics.
Denis, from Castle Bromwich, is currently helping negotiations to get a stretch of cycle path re-tarmaced by Lanchester Way in an effort to get more youngsters on their bikes.
“It’s only 300-400 metres long, which isn’t much, but if we could extend it round the football pitch it would become really useful,” said the Bikeability instructor.
However it’s not just the future of cycling that he’s concerned about. These are his views:
“As a long time competitive cyclist and senior coach (for over 30 years) I think I am qualified to ask the above question, “Olympic Legacy or Myth ?”
Last year we all admired the excellent performance of our sportsmen and women at the Olympic Games and we are right to encourage our youngsters to get involved in active sports to improve their health and life development.
However to achieve this will entail three main requirements.
(1) A massive investment in sports facilities ie. each town to have an Olympic size swimming pool - there isn’t even one of those in the entire West Midlands; a 250m Velodrome - Salford Park was pulled down to create more football pitches when we already have 75,000 of them in the region; a 400m all weather running track plus many more sports centres. Let’s face it though, this explosion of sports facilities is never going to happen. Even if funding was available now it would be many years before our youngsters would have the benefit of such facilities.
(2) The second essential requirement is a change in ‘mind set’. For those who want to aspire to the top in their chosen sport, they must get off their backsides and start training.
Youngsters need to realise that you can’t be in the Olympics without a long period of training, requiring dedication, discipline and determination (the 3 Ds) - even to achieve a small measure of success.
They should be aware that the average age of an Olympic champion is 27.6 years and most will have been active in their particular sport for 10 years or more, some even starting at a very young age.
I can’t see either of these requirements, facilities or dedication happening.
So, what is a reasonable legacy from the 2012 Games?
My advice to anyone wanting to succeed at sport is that you must be prepared to give up some of your current activities to start on your chosen activity.
An example of this would be, if a youngster has an interest in athletics then he/she should start by regular ‘jogging’ (2/3 times each and every week), initially a short run (round the block) one mile perhaps, and after 2/3 weeks increase the distance by, say, five per cent and continue this for several weeks until they are running for 30/40 minutes.
At this stage he/she should be ready to join their local running club and the club coach will then advise them on how to prepare for early competition.
Should a youngster want to be the next Chris Hoy or Laura Trott then they should start by getting out on their bike regularly (2/3 times each week) for steady (10/12mph) riding over short distances, say 10 miles maximum. After a few weeks increase the distance by five per cent and after several weeks do a few short bursts of speed. If they are still keen they should join their local cycling club.
Youngsters should be aware that over 90 per cent of preparing for racing is spent in training, with the rest in actual competition, so start now for the 2020 Olympics.
However, many starters will soon find that the dedication and sacrifice required is too much for them.
However much good can come from just getting out, either bike riding, running or swimming - whatever your sport. Even activity at a low starting level will improve your health and well-being, leading to a better life.
Now that is a legacy that will benefit everyone, Good Luck.
l What do you think should be our Olympic Legacy: E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, send a message via our website at www.solihullnews.net or write to Solihull News, Floor 6, Fort Dunlop, Erdington, Birmingham, B24 9FF.