jessica smiling

As the competition season ramps up so training sessions get shorter and shorter. Shorter training sessions leave more room for banter, the perfect antidote for the tangible increase in external scrutiny and expectation that can lead to anxiety. But not when you’re playing ‘guess Toni’s weight’. Jess’s attempts cause consternation for one of the team and hilarity for the others.

Watch the video to find out:

Jabba the Coach

Toni, possibly motivated by the slurs on his bodyweight is drinking diet coke and planning the next two weeks when I speak to him.

tonis planning

Plan heavy. Drink light.

“How is the preparation going for Rattigan?”

“It’s going well. Jess is experienced at this stuff now. It’s her sixteenth year doing Heptathlon. We did long jump yesterday and a short Javelin session today”.

jess medicine ball

Jessica warming up for javelin with the medicine ball

“And what about Ratingen itself? How important is it?”

“I suppose the big question you have to ask yourself is ‘why are we doing it?’ before anything else”.

“And?”

“And the answer is there are so few opportunities to test yourself in a shortened season, specifically in relation to a full Heptathlon it’s important to put down a marker”.

“there are so few opportunities to test yourself in a shortened season, …it’s important to put down a marker”

“For you or the rest of the world?”

“For ourselves. The rest of the world might look on and come to their own conclusions but that’s up to them. Some do that every time Jess competes. We just look after our own game. Ratingen is our dress rehearsal”.

“More so than other competitions?”

“Yes. It’s a big event with a similar size field to Rio which helps. Also multi –eventing is pretty popular in Germany so there should be reasonable crowd. We need to be in the thick of it. The main thing is the events themselves”.

 

“Take long jump. It’s a lot different jumping on day two of a Heptathlon when you’re waking up tired and aching from the previous days efforts compared to competing in just one or two events at a meeting”.

“Are there many of the Rio rivals competing?”

“The list isn’t finalised but it looks like there are a few that will make an impression at the Siebnkampf”.

“Sorry?”

“It’s German for Heptathlon”.

“You’re so Cosmopolitan”.

“I am. Anyway there’s the likes of Ivona Dadic, Yorgelis Rodríguez, Jessica Samuelsson, Marieke Arndt and Jennifer Oeser -the leading germans…”

“This is Jessica’s third Heptahlon since coming back from pregnancy so we’d be looking to improve on Gotzis which was her tenth best ever.”

“Who is flying over?”

“A big gang. We’ve got Alison, Bricey and Derry”.

“The A team. What are you looking to achieve?”

Toni refuses to be drawn on a points prediction but is happy to discuss the topic in general,

“This is Jessica’s third Heptahlon since coming back from pregnancy so we’d be looking to improve on Gotzis which was her tenth best ever. The last World Championships was her eighth best. We’re just looking for progress bit, as I said, it’s more about getting back in the thick of things, which will happen in a couple of days time when Jess picks me up at seven in the morning to go to the airport”.

“Back in the game?”

“Always in the game”.

I leave Toni to go back to his planning and try to imagine what the next few weeks will be like. Probably like something I could never imagine.