GAINcast Episode 226: Paralympic prep (with Adam Bleakney)

The Olympics were not only action in Tokyo this summer. Last month the Paralympics took place there several GAIN community members made the trip. On this week’s GAINcast we look back at the most recent Paralympics with coaches Adam Bleakney and Troy Engle to get their impressions on preparing for the most recent games, as well as general considerations when training wheelchair athletes.

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Notes and quotes

Adam Bleakney is the head coach of the wheelchair track team at the University of Illinois. A 3-time Paralympian himself, Adam won silver in the 800 meters at the 2004 Paralympics. Adam’s transitioned to coaching and his athletes have won numerous Paralympic medals as well as wins at some of the world’s most prestigious races, including the London Marathon, New York Marathon, and Chicago Marathon. Troy Engle is the Senior Director of Coaching and Athlete Development at Sport Singapore.

  • 0:00 – Introduction.
  • 5:30 – Troy Engle’s background.
  • 9:00 – Reflecting on the Tokyo experience the explosion of Paralympic performances.
  • 12:00 – Adam Bleakney’s background
  • 17:30 – Strategies for Tokyo and preparing for wet conditions.
  • 22:00 – The influence of no spectators on Tokyo performances.
  • 25:30 – Training considerations for wheelchair track and field compared to ambulatory events: “Sprint coaches talk about length and stride frequency. In wheelchair racing it’s about stroke length and stroke frequency.” “For both Olympic and Paralympic athlete the centerpiece is quality of effort and skill acquisition. The skill is different, training is different, but the focus is the same.” “Wheelchair athletes can generally tolerate more volume because we don’t have impact forces with the ground.”
  • 31:30 – Creativity and designing training about the functional capacities of each athletes: “Paralympic athletes are still trying to move. We want transfer of energy from proximal to distal. We may have be creative due to limitations, but that’s what we’re trying to achieve.”
  • 34:15 – The role of technology in wheelchair racing.

To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.

Further reading

The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:

  • Our monthly GAIN Master Class Series features speakers from all aspects of performance. This month we are looking at using games for developing skills, performance, and fun in training. Sign up and learn more here.
  • The GAINcast is also sponsored by HMMR Media. Join HMMR Media to get access to a vast library of online training resources, video, articles, podcasts, and more.
  • To learn more from Troy Engle, listen to our interview with him on GAINcast 143.