The training that an athlete will do will be kind of broadly split into two categories. They’ll do training that’s very skill-based, specific to skills they need in their sport, and they’ll do training to make them fit enough to perform their sport. And the type of training they would do within the fitness training aspect will depend on the nature of the sport, so kind of components of fitness are things like endurance, muscular strength, power, flexibility are all different components of fitness, and different sports will require those elements in different quantities.
Rowing is a combination of power and endurance, and that’s where it differs from most other sports because you’re either very specifically endurance-based or you’re very specifically kind of power or kind of explosive muscle, kind of fast-twitch fibre based, whereas rowing is a combination on both of those, you know, you’re very explosive off the start, you have a very high sprint at the finish but then it’s over sort of, in the eights 5 minutes 20 seconds or sometimes, you know, and the longest sort of for a men’s event is about 6 minutes, so you do need to have the endurance to kind of produce that.
I think wheelchair rugby fitness-wise you need to cover the whole spectrum, so you need to have a good core stamina but you also need to have the power.
The sacrifice and commitment people need to make to do this training is down to the individual but they’ve got to really, really want to do it, and it’s got to be a real desire to sacrifice their social life, all sorts of other things. You know, weekends probably don’t exist for many of these people, they only probably have a few weekends a year where they can, you know, do normal things.
So they need a great deal of motivation and they’ve always got to be thinking of that end goal as they want to get onto that podium and they've got to keep pushing themselves to do that. Once they've lost that desire it’s very difficult to put the number of hours in, I think.
Well sometimes on Mondays I train six hours or four hours, and then we have a day off like once or twice a week maybe. But this week we had two days off a week, but all the other days we’ve trained like six hours, six hours and a half and that, but like it’s been quite easy for me at the moment so, because I’m getting used to the hours now.
A typical week would be I’d do two weights sessions, two sessions in my rugby chair, a swimming session, a push in my day chair and then a Dynaband session, so that’s like a prehab session.
In a week I’d train from about ten hours a week like from Monday to Friday, and normally I have a competition on Saturday and Sunday. If I don’t then obviously I go out with my friends and that, so.
Sports like gymnastics, to a certain extent swimming and to some extent table tennis, people specialise at a very young age because of the nature of that sport. So Venus is putting quite a few hours in for an 11-, 12-year-old girl, whereas Ashley, he’s just starting to knock on the door of a senior level, he’s been having to make the transition from a junior competition to senior competition and he’s doing slightly fewer hours at the moment.