Aussie champ's new coach

By Mike Hurst
November 01, 2007 12:00am

FOUR-TIME national 100m champion and two-time Stawell Gift winner Josh Ross yesterday ran out on the coach he rejoined only a fortnight ago.

From tomorrow, Ross will start training with Paul Nancarrow, the man who sponsored Ben Johnson’s coach Charlie Francis on a lecture tour of Australia last summer.

“It was the worst half-hour of my life,” Ross told The Daily Telegraph exclusively after splitting with Newcastle coach Tony Fairweather, who guided him to the first three of those national titles.

This is the second time in a year that Ross, 26, has left Fairweather. The first was in October 2006 after Ross became disillusioned with their training, which in March that year had failed to get him into the Melbourne Commonwealth Games 100m final.

Although he returned to Fairweather, Ross remained unsettled and finally yesterday admitted to the bewildered coach: “I don’t think the program is what I want to do any more.”

Ross said he wanted to try a different way of training, a so-called short-to-long method.

“I wish I hadn’t gone back to Tony and created problems for him,” Ross added.

“I should have stayed away and figured this out first. Then it wouldn’t have been so hard on anyone.”

Nancarrow, 38, the strength and conditioning coach with the Newcastle Jets - currently sharing the lead in soccer’s A-League - said he had been surprised to receive a call from Ross.

“But I’m excited at the opportunity to work with such a talent,” he said.

"And I’m confident in my own abilities and in those of the team I will build around Josh, including national sprint head coach Paul Hallam. The first call I made after receiving Josh’s call was to Hallam.

“I’ve invited him up to the Central Coast this weekend and hopefully this will evolve into a coaching partnership.”

Nancarrow said his decision to bring controversial Francis on a coaching tour of Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast last summer was “a business and education venture”.

"The three weeks Francis was in Australia was a very steep learning curve in my coaching career. The Seoul Olympics is 19 years behind him. He has moved on but as a sprint coach he remains second to no one," Nancarrow said.

How many athletes are coached in this way? I work with other coaches in a similar fashion for a few events and find it works really well IF you both communicate effectively.

Also what I find interesting is that an athlete has become educated about training and is now wanting to try different methods. My feeling is this would rarely happen before the days of the internet. I also have a few people saying “I want to do short to long, will you coach me?”. While generally a good idea, it does bring with it dangers for athletes who are used to slogging their guts out because they arn’t used to the intensity from day 1 - it takes a few months for them to adapt. I find the transition is easiest coming off a good outdoor season where high levels of speed have already been achieved and then it’s just a matter of keeping shin issues at bay in the first 3 months.

haha, he wants to change NOW, the Aussie season has only Just started now.
The way its worded, he wants to start a S-L as if he is currently on a L-S. Gpp would be done, Spp1 would be done and the 1st round of Comp phase 1 would be started. What would he do now? Unless he Starts off from beginning i guess?

When are the Olympics?

I think he should forget about the first half of the season, compete when he has too after January.

Hopefully, he comes out and runs the way he can and not have the issues he had at the end of last season.

Reading between the lines, it sounds he went back to his old coach as a comfort thing.

But you’d expect everything to now be based around the Olympics for Ross. First of all just ‘getting there,’ and then making sure he can get it together like we know he can, which wasn’t the case come Comm Games or World Champs. Lets hope he gets it together, as all we have in Aus Athletics is hope, and I think we need someone who can finally compete, and not just be a flash in the pan, no disrespect to Shirvo or Johnson, who have held their own on the world stage at times during their career.

I’m an unabashed admirier of Tony Fairweather and was hoping some agreement could be reached. However that’s not to be and it seems its best for both parties for Josh to seek out a more palatable program for him.

Good luck to Nanny, here’s a terrific opportunity for him to apply the training methodology he has learned over the years and build a successful partnership with a class athlete in Josh.

I concur with TopCat, athletes today are much better informed particularly through the internet, and are not prepared to follow a training program blindly like athletes of previous generations. They want to know will it work, how it works and can it be improved.

A coach has to continually be up to date with what successful coaches are doing internationally and be prepared to look at modes of training they can introduce into their programs to improve it.

I’m not suggesting Tony should change, if a coach has experienced success and is comfortable with what they are doing, then they shouldn’t compromise by introducing something they are unsure of just for the sake of keeping an athlete.

Moving immediately from a L2S to S2L may have problems depending how early in the program the athlete is; but if the athlete is in pre-comp mode then it shouldn’t be a major issue as the athlete has a reasonably advanced level of conditioning and wouldn’t take much to adapt. I believe this was much the case last year when Josh left Tony in Oct 06. Major difference this time round is he hasn’t had the massive winter build up that he had in 2006.

The proof in the pudding will be when Josh embarks on a GPP some time early in 2008 as he prepares for Beijing.

If he starts to prepare now for the 2008 Olympics he should be fine given all the northern hemisphere athletes are starting training just about now after a few weeks off after the end of the last season. I guess the issue is getting the comps when you need them. But if Asafa takes CFs advice he’ll have someone good to contend with very shortly!:smiley:

Didn’t Ross PB this year?
Re: the “internet education” about different training methods… I hope Ross fully submits to his new coach(es). I’ve found that an athlete’s continual “internet education” can sometimes be quite a problem for coaches.
Anyway, best of luck to nanny.

Yep its an issue - that’s why my first call with someone asking for help is “talk to your coach” or “can’t you find a coach?”

If Tony Fairweather was his previous coach, what was the role of Emil Rizk last season?,20867,21276515-2722,00.html,21985,21036229-14822,00.html

"Ross also paid a small post-win tribute to his coach Emil Rizk, who took charge of the 26 year-old in August.

“I knew the first second I met Emil it was the right decision,” he said."

This is the second time in a year that Ross, 26, has left Fairweather. The first was in October 2006 after Ross became disillusioned with their training, which in March that year had failed to get him into the Melbourne Commonwealth Games 100m final.

Rizk had him for the period during the Aus summer and world champs I believe.

Yes, I’m told he only rejoined Fairweather two weeks earlier, having left his immediate past coach in October.

I see! I hope he settles now for good…

Sounds like Ross sensed he needed to change but needed direction and help with his choices. You need to plan, set goals and evaluate yourself and then decide what is best for your future. To put things together into something that works is hard to do and I hope he has got it right this time and is confident with this decisions.

Does sound like that. Sounds like he is growing up too.

Josh good luck. I love watching him race, although his dance needs improving.

I thought 100/200 pbs where step’s in the right direction, (10.08 20.5). Who would want to be coach, in this day and age? Get a athlete too run two pbs and they still end up leaving you, albeit by email.

Whatever went on between the time Ross ran those PBs (in March 07, I think) and the world championships in Osaka must be the story behind the story. Only the two of them would know for sure and, from the few reports and gossip which some members of this board have picked up, the “facts” as stated are largely in opposition.

It seems to have been a personal as well as a (lack of) performance issue from both ends of the dispute.

But, at the end of the day, no, the season every athlete looks back on what they’ve achieved and try as best they can to analyse whether the root cause of any problems was of their own making or created by others.

Whatever conclusions Ross arrived at, bottom line is he apparently was in such poor condition after three months in Europe that he had lost strength, lost endurance, lost speed and lost confidence - and lost in the second round of a race Rizk was telling newspapers he was going to fight out the medals in.

Even if Ross did go out chasing girls or whatever the rumours are, it doesn’t explain how his track performance came so completely unravelled on the road to Osaka.

And if Ross really didn’t care about his performance, why would he still be in the sport today, searching for a different type of training system?

Looks like they both got it wrong and perhaps with that sort of history Ross felt he needed to move on after Osaka.

What the episode does say, among other things, is that good coaching at the elite level is about much more than just writing up reps/sets/recoveries on a piece of paper (4x200 off 90sec rec/starting in 25sec and going fast as you can, will not get you fit to finish a 10-flat 100m and, what’s more, performed often enough as I’m told it was, will alter your race rhythm to a mediocre 400m tempo).

Good coaching is about taking care of the whole package: take care of the person and the athlete within will probably thrive; training on the road can be more complicated than training at home; understanding and implementing periodisation to a timeline is an art as much as a science; managing the various performance threads so that all are maxxing during the taper is the name of the game at the elite level - Getting none of them maxxing in Osaka is more than a bit of a worry for the coach as well as the athlete and reflects poorly on them both.

Well Said KK.

Rizk refused to acknowledge he erred in the program for Osaka and instead was very critical of the athlete’s mental capacity and ‘distractions’.

Rizk demonstrated he has the basic ingredients in his program to get an athlete to run fast with Josh’s outstanding efforts at the nationals in March, but as you said there’s a lot more to coaching than writing out a program.

It seems Josh has grown up a lot in the last couple of years and is taking ownership of his career making coaches accountable as well as looking for the best & most palatable preparation he can can find. All power to him and let’s hope his prep for Beijing is on target for him to run the best he ever has.

Great posts, I don’t know the details regarding what went on behind the scenes, so i wont comment. I would have thought Emil would fit right into the coaches lounge at AA based on performance of athletes at major comps. DeBella, Shirvington, Johnson, Ezinwa in large have flopped at major comp’s, in the sense ran below their relative pbs. Mabye Ross is smarter and immediately sacks his coach unlike the above runners. Obviously there is more to the story, which we don’t know, its all history now.

I’m not clear on the situation including when he left Tony Fairweather. If it was, in fact, October 2006, it might explain much.
He was doing a huge amount of lifting, prob too much, and that was dropped under the new coach. He then was looser and ran faster in short order BUT the strength that had been built up could only last so long without further work in that area and ran out long before Osaka, leaving him short there.
Now the problem was doubled because he was then left with little time to regain strength and acceleration abilities and I assume he figured that the only way to regain strength in time for the trials was via a Short-to-Long program.