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APPROACH THE COACH WITH SQUAD CHATS: FLYING EAGLES COACH TONY BAKER

SQUAD NAME: Flying Eagles Running Team.COACHING DIRECTOR – Tony C Baker plus 3 assistant coaches.

 Running Coach

Flying Eagles coach Tony Baker brings a real sense of care and empathy for the kids he coaches. Care before coaching is his mantra. His genuine interest and care for each and every child he coaches was evident when we visited the Flying Eagles at one of their training sessions.

Read more about the incredible work Tony is doing with kids based in Logan, Brisbane                                                                             

How and why did you start coaching? 

I have always worked with young people in several areas of life, so when some of the rugby players I coached asked me to help improve their running, it grew from there. I have been coaching for around 20 years. I am an Athletics Australia Level 4 Coach & I am recognised as an Elite Performance Coach by the Australian Track & Field Coaches Association.

What is your coaching philosophy?

Care deeply about the athletes you coach. Focus on fostering a positive self-esteem & self-belief. Be there for them.  Encourage hard work but have fun with them as well. Always be prepared for training sessions with clear directions. I use a whiteboard that has all the details for the training session. This frees me to focus on improving the athletes rather than answering “What’s next”. All my athletes have incredible value to God & to me, so I put in the work to support them in every way I can.

Do you have a squad mantra?

We have a set of squad values –

Be there – Eagles make a commitment to training & races because their squad is counting on them.

Be your best – Eagles give their best effort in training & races. No more, no less.

Be supportive – Be a friend; Eagles support & look after each other & their coaches

Be respectful – Eagles respect themselves, their teammates & their coaches.

Be happy – Eagles work hard but know how to have fun together.

Did you run and if so, what was your favourite distance?

I enjoyed cross country & 1500m in my younger days. Nowadays I love to run with a group of friends over longer distances, up to 10k.

What is your favourite training session?

One of our foundation sessions is 5 x 300m followed by 3 x 500m at better than PB pace.

What has been your career highlight so far? 

The joy of seeing the athletes that I coach achieving their goals including national medals & competing in the World Triathlon Championships.

What has been the most challenging experience as a coach?

The frustration of seeing the athletes I coach denied opportunities by incompetent adults.

What are your goals for the 2020/2021 season?

We have a number of athletes working towards qualification for National track & field as well as athletes working at having a great athletics season. Our athletes love to keep improving their PBs.

What do you recommend pre and post race nutrition?

Light snacks up to an hour before racing, bananas are good. After racing a chocolate milk is always good for them 

What is your top recovery tip?

 Ice bath/hot shower combo & lots of stretching.

How do you think we could get more teens involved in running?

By having more coaches committed to what is best for the youngster not themselves or the parents.

What is your biggest concern about teens for the future?

The overwhelming push for selfishness by the media. We need to teach & show youngsters that they need to go out of their way to look after others.

Track or XC?

We coach track, XC, road racing & trail running.

Toughest distance: 400m, 800m, 1500m, 3km or 10km?

400m is very tough on the body but the 1500m is a tough race to learn to run well!

Anything else you would like to add:

I absolutely love coaching the young people in my coaching squads. Love & care come first, then coaching & improving their running performance

For more info go to https://www.facebook.com/eaglesaths/

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