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UK Athletics

blog spot: uka futures progamme - julien raffalli

Katie Byres
Julien Raffalli's pole vault group in Manchester - including Katie Byres - are now well into their winter training

27 October 2011

Julien Raffalli is coach to Katie Byres, the UK’s second-best-equal under-20 pole vaulter in the All-Time rankings behind her training partner Holly Bleasdale, also coached by Raffalli, who is the UK senior record holder and 2011 European Under-23 Champion.

Watch out for more blogs from UKA Futures Programme coaches on www.uka.org.uk


Blog Spot: UKA Futures Programme - Julien Raffalli

User AvatarPosted by Site Administrator at 13/12/2011 12:21:35 PM

Hi guys :-)

I hope everyone is keeping well.

I imagine most of you have started the countdown to Christmas by now. My squad and I have certainly started our own countdown, but not for Christmas, but for the athletes’ first competition of the season! The entire gang will be competing in Orleans (France) on the 10th of December. This meet is part of the French “Perche Elite Tour”, which is a serie of indoor, pole vault only, meetings where some of the best vaulters compete. 

Training has been going really well. We work closely with Nick Chadd at EIS Manchester, and I’m delighted to see the progress of my athletes in the gym. They are also getting fitter and faster, and I have witnessed some great progress on the technical side of things. 

Some of you might think competing mid-December is very early, but Katie Byres, Holly Bleasdale and Andrew Sutcliffe will only go there to get out of the training routine. They have been working extremely hard for the past 10 weeks, and this competition is more for the fun factor rather than for the pursuit of performance. They will be using a short approach run up.  

Travelling with poles abroad is always a bit tricky. Many of the vaulters have stories about their poles being left behind at airports, or poles that have arrived broken. A pole on average will cost £400 to £500, so we can’t afford to have any going missing, or even worse, broken. So to avoid any issue of that kind, I will be driving to Orleans from Manchester on the Friday, picking up the athletes on the way at Beauvais airport (on the outskirts of Paris), and driving back Sunday dropping the guys at the same airport. Google map has kindly informed me that the round trip will be just short of 1200 miles… not bad in three days.  

One of the great aspects of the UKA Futures Programme is to support coaches, just like me, in their travel to competitions. So without that support, I don’t think it would have been possible to go get compete in those fantastic conditions that provide the “Perche Elite Tour”. 

On a more personal note, D&P data systems, the company I work for, has offered me a part time job. I finish every day at 2.00pm, which means we can train earlier in the day, and spend more time on the technical work. I’m ever so grateful for the support my directors have given me. 

So, at the minute, all the lights seem green, but I’ve learned that things can change dramatically in no time, so let’s not count our chickens just yet. The road to London is very long, and I’m sure we, as a team, will face obstacles and adversity, but it’s nice to feel like we have made a great start.

Until next time.

PS: I didn’t have time to send my blog before the weekend, so I may as well put the result up here: Andrew Sutcliffe (World Junior bronze medallist 2010) cleared 5.21m on his first meet since his knee surgery (this is his PB on short approach); Katie Byres broke the Junior UK record with 4.16m, and showed some amazing height above 4.26m!!! Holly Bleasdale broke the UK record with 4.71m; she’s now ranked 11th equal in the world all time list. 

The UKA Futures Programme underpins the World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) and was borne out of the restructure of UKA’s WCPP and the drive towards more targeted support for athletes and their coaches.

The Programme targets young athletes with the potential to deliver global medals for Britain in the future.

Athletes and their coaches will be supported in their individual development plans allowing for more flexibility and individual discretion around distribution of resources. 28 coach-athlete pairs have been included in the 2010/11 Futures Programme.