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Southampton Solent University provide Hampshire's talented athletes with the key to success

Location: Winchester

On Wednesday 15 May 18 members of the Hampshire Talented Athlete Scheme were put through their paces by Southampton Solent University's High Performance Sport team.

The evening workshop, held at the University, highlighted the benefits that strength and conditioning can offer when incorporated into an athlete's training programme.

Athletes were educated about the techniques used to assess the quality of their movement and introduced to the concept of plyometric training - a method that teaches athletes to develop efficient sporting movements by developing their explosive muscle technique and improves overall performance.

HTAS athlete and sailor, Vikki Payne, who plans to attend Southampton Solent University next year said: "I really enjoyed the evening session. The testing was very helpful, engaging and informative and I thoroughly enjoyed taking part."

The plyometric session was led by UK Athletics Coach, Erik Little, who put the young athletes through progressive high velocity drills to test their coordination and plyometric ability. Results from the workshop will be used to optimise athletic movement enabling athletes to make the right movement, in the right position at the right time.

The athletes performed 16 movements which help identify key movement skills and abilities. The movements were subjectively marked and any dysfunction or muscle imbalance was noted.

James Grant, High Performance Manager at Southampton Solent University, explained: "The assessment of movement ability is a major part of an athlete's development and is well used at the very highest level of sport. Hopefully the insight and experience gained will be invaluable to the HTAS athletes as they progress in their chosen sport."

The athletes, representing 13 different sports, had the opportunity to work with the University's strength and conditioning coaches and physiotherapists, while parents and coaches attended a nutrition workshop delivered by lecturer Emma Patel who said: "It was great to see so many parents and coaches supporting the athletes by attending the sports nutrition workshop which was an introduction to the world of nutritional support as a way to enhance training, speed recovery and reach peak performance."

The evening was part of a series of four workshops provided by Southampton Solent University for the athletes in partnership with Hampshire County Council and Sport Hampshire & IOW.

The athletes are part of the Hampshire Talented Athlete Scheme which supports athletes across Hampshire to reach world class podiums. The partnership provides the talented athletes with high quality sports science support to enable the athletes to progress and develop. The workshops also provide Southampton Solent University Sports Science and Sports Coaching students with practical experience of working with talented athletes.

Nicola Wright, Sport Development Officer (Performance) for Sport Hampshire & IOW said: "These workshops provide a fantastic opportunity for Hampshire athletes to access high quality sports science support, which is vital for their development as talented athletes. The feedback from parents about the nutrition session has been very positive and will help them provide a diet that will support their children's training needs."

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