Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Agility Team GB First Team Day

The first impressions of the Brackenhurst Campus at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) struck the team as they arrived. It’s an impressive venue with a fantastic equestrian arena, facilities for training vet nurses, lecture rooms and an out side arena too – it made the impact I was looking for. Suitable, smart, professional and appropriate for the day I had planned.

The team had a busy day, which involved: classroom time working in their individual groups. All the dogs visited the Team Vet and Chiropractor (Rachel & Emma). The team spent time with Ruth, (Team Handler Fitness Coach), where they worked through some agility specific fitness drills. And we had the Team GB fitting rooms set up (run by Karen) where the team tried out team kit for size. Of course we spent the majority of the day in the arena working on the agility courses.

Marc Saunders (Team GB Assistant) set up four testing international courses designed by this years EO judges. Throughout the day the team worked through these courses getting further experience on the kind of course they could expect to be faced with in Belgium at the end of July.

A significant difference with the international course design is the increased ring size and the minimum and maximum distance between obstacles. This lends itself for a need for handlers to be fit to run the bigger distances, and to be sharp; there is less time to deviate away from incorrect obstacles. These two elements showed themselves as improvement areas for the team.

The classroom work focused on building one team out of 16 top agility handers. A number of team exercises were set up which everyone embraced. The team developed their own set of common behaviours and a goal they want to aim for (in addition to winning medals!).
They also had an exercise that demonstrated team dynamics and how different people react in team situations.

Another important objective of the day was to generate performance data for Emma (Team GB Performance Analyst) and NTU to use for developing our performance analysis and profiling tools. It is planned that this research will enable competitors to have a clearer perception of their strengths and skills and the areas they need to work on based on scientific research and facts. This is an exciting project, which kicked off on this team day.

Thanks must go to everyone mentioned above who worked very hard in advance and on the day. Also to First Contact who provided all the agility & timing equipment. To NTU staff and students who spent the entire day helping set up courses and carrying out the detailed data collection we wanted. Finally acknowledgement and a big thank you to the Kennel Club and CSJ for their sponsorship and support making it possible to run days like this.
Explaining how the Team Indicator Tool works

Team Indictor Tool in action

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