Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What has been happening in Cams-World and for Coach Cam Lam?

First of all remember to follow me on Instagram: coach_camlam

2016 was a really big year! Because so much has happened I will just list them for you:

  • I achieved my A Licence Long distance German Triathlon (DTU)
  • I achieved my B licence from Germany Cycling (BDR)
  • The Wildcats had a massive year including lots of performance increases, Personal bests, over 45 Wins, 40 more podium places and another 60 something top ten.
  • My Personal athletes performed fantastically and also produced top results, including Qualifying for 70.3 World championships, Personal bests, huge improvements and more lots of wins and podium places.
  • I achieved my A licence from Swiss Triathlon
  • I achieved my Level 3 coach from Triathlon New Zealand
  • And to cap it all off I finished my Bachelor in Sport and Exercise from Massey University in New Zealand.

Oh, and I also did a couple of races in there myself as well.

Looking back at such a year is crazy. I spent so much time working towards the goals I set for myself and this in conjunction with the athletes working towards their goals. Now looking back and viewing the year in a retrospective manner I am shocked (in a good way!) at how much was achieved and, of course, at the progress that has been made.

In moments like this when I look back I can really say…… I love my job! It is fantastic. I have worked really hard, and do my best to help my athletes achieve success and to see it happen is an honour.

Ok, so now what…? Let’s look to the future. To what 2017 (ok, this is late as it is already March) will hold. The training season is well underway here in Germany/Switzerland. Much of the ground work has been laid for the new race season that starts in April. Athletes who have trained all winter long are now really ready for sunshine and warm weather! They are also ready to race…

But also with Southern hemisphere athletes approaching the end of their season, it is time to have that last big kick to the end of the season! Then it will be timely to reflect and decide what is the plan for the off season and the goals for the new season.

So much always happening and it is awesome!

As for me, well…. I now have a wonderful son, so he will keep me on my toes! Also I have decided I want to do my Professional trainer qualification with Swiss Olympic and Swiss Triathlon, plus thought that a completing a Masters degree in Sport coaching sounds nice. So I once again have my work cut out for me ;)

Also in the works, is a re-vamp of my website to better reflect the work I do. I am trying be more active on Instagram and Facebook. But above all, I want my athletes to succeed and reach the goals with amazing ability and potential they have!

So, let’s get working!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

My Coaching Philosophy!

My philosophy has been broken down to six key points:
  • ·      I believe that every athlete is an individual and needs to be treated as such. I endeavour to help every athlete become the best they can be, not only to improve as an athlete, but also as a person.

  • ·      I will maintain my knowledge and full understanding of current best practice training theory and do my utmost to put this into practice for the benefit and safety of all athletes.

  • ·      I will be approachable and maintain open, honest and supportive communication between myself and my athletes at all times. 

  • ·      There are no shortcuts and there is no substitute for hard work.

  • ·      Mental preparation is as important as physical preparation. Every athlete has their unique mental state which allows them to perform at their best. This needs to be found, understood and enhanced to facilitate their best performance.

  • ·      I have a strong commitment to sound ethical practice and personal integrity.
Please understand this is my philosophy, if you like it great, if you want to take any part of it for yourself Please ask. Thank you and Regards, Cameron

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

No Minimum requirements but what about a duty of care!

I am a passionate and caring coach and I back this up with knowledge and understanding. I am now qualified in 3 countries by the national triathlon governing bodies (Triathlon New Zealand, DTU Triathlon Germany and Swiss Triathlon). I have a goal that next year I will have my Level 3 coaching or A licence in these 3 countries, plus a degree in sport and exercise. I am also a qualified personal trainer and am very close to having my B licence in Cycling in Germany. I have worked very hard to be able to call myself a coach and I am constantly reading to expand my ideas and test what I believe. All in the aid of trying to do my job better, and it has taken years of learning to get to this point. When I look back at the knowledge I had just 2 years ago I am amazed at how little I knew, and I hope when I look back in 2 more years I have the same feeling.

I am increasingly worried and concerned about the state and level of coaching in the sport of Triathlon. I believe currently there are more and more coaches that are under qualified, but for the athlete it is getting incredibly hard to tell who is qualified and how is not. And these already muddy waters are sadly getting worse.

One of the worst candidate state of affairs for this is Ironman. They have now built a for profit triathlon coach training scheme. This is all built around their Ironman University, which sounds really impressive, and they even have national federation's support for their scheme. But if you look at the fine print stuff gets scary to me with Ironman U.

I am going to use the information compared to the DTU (Triathlon Germany) because I have been though this system and currently in the process of getting my A licence. Ironman say with their course you can have 15 credits towards a trainers licence in Germany. Wow that sounds great, till you realise that it takes 120 credits to get the basic C licence in Germany. I know what is required for a C licence in Germany and it is what I believe the very basic information.

What that means is the Ironman U coaching qualification gives you under 20% of what is required for a basic trainer's licence. And for this they charge you $699 USD for the Online course, plus a membership fee of $39.99 USD per month ($479.88 USD per year). To me that is a lot for not much, and in no way can this be seen as anything other then another way to make money!

I was told by the DTU that the online coaches' course from Ironman U takes about 15 hours at most to do. Which means that you can be qualified as a coach faster then a lot of people can complete an Ironman. Let that sink in for a moment.

Do you think that this course can do anything other then make money for Ironman? I personally do not. I hope that now that Ironman corporation is owned by the Chinese there will be some changes, but I am worried this will not happen. The Pro athletes need more prize money, this will attract more and better sports people. It is time that Ironman saw the athletes as more then cash machines ready to hand over their hard earned dollars to a industrial machine selling us what ever they can turn out.

Please to not be fooled by flash names, get a coach that is properly qualified!

My current qualifications and what I am working towards:

B Licence (DTU)
Level 2 accredited coach (Tri NZ)
C Licence (Radsport – Cycling Germany)
C Licence (Swiss Triathlon)
C Licence (DTU)
Level 1 accredited coach (Tri NZ)
Personal Trainer

Currently working on: These will be completed 2016.

BA Sport and Exercise (Massey University New Zealand)
A Licence (DTU)
Level 3 accredited coach (Tri Nz)
A licence (Swiss Triathlon)
B licence (Swiss Triathlon)

B Licence (Radsport – Cycling Germany)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The intrepid journalist

I still have a mental picture of journalists as they are portrayed in old movies. I am sure you know what I mean. Our movie journalist finds a lead for a story so grabs his notebook and hat, runs down the leads and brings the story to light just in time for the paper to be 'put to bed'. In the real world, the majority of journalists start their careers full of idealism and the desire to produce sound, newsworthy and accurate stories. Sadly this is not really what happens and in most cases huge pressure is put on journalists to produce column-filling content at high speed.

The speed of production demanded from journalists almost inevitably leads to short-cuts and this, in turn, impacts on the quality of the information presented for public consumption. As readers, we need to work out what is the real news, what is 'filling fluff, spin, commercial press releases, or advertorials posing as news.

Now, let me ask you a question. How do you consume your news? Do you by buy a newspaper, watch the news on TV, read it on a webpage? Now for the most important question: Do you pay for your news content? If your answer is 'yes', you are in the group of news consumers that is becoming smaller and smaller.

This brings me nicely to the question of how the news purveyors make money to pay staff and keep going? The first issue is that news is a business and we must never forget this. Let's follow an example because then it can be easier to follow. Imagine a newspaper called “The NEWS”. The NEWS produces a print paper and has a flash website. The NEWS print paper comes out 6 days a week and the website is updated regularly. Now, how does the NEWS make money? First of all it needs to control its overhead costs. These are often the killers in business. So the fewer paid staff the better for business. The NEWS needs to sell as many newspapers as possible because the newspaper makes money from the advertising. The bigger the circulation of the paper the more they can charge for the advertising space. So when I wander down to the local dairy to buy a paper the price I pay is not really the cost of the paper, it is how much the dairy owner gets to give that paper space on the dairy shelves.
Now to the website. The NEWS has to pay a lot to upkeep a good, attractive, safe and fast website. When you log into their website you arrive at the front page. It has a nice classical look, with news headlines and then different areas of news with headlines, all attractively presented. Now it is up to you to click on the news items that interest you. Each time you click you go to the story and an advertisement. The more popular story or type of story, the more The NEWS can sell the advertising for.

Now think of all the content The NEWS is producing to fill its print paper and comprehensive website. It is truly massive and it is amazing how so much is written by so few people. The NEWS keeps staff to a minimum. For this reason cracks start to appear in the reporting as short-cuts are utilised. Journalists no longer have time to properly vet every story that crosses their desk. So businesses and companies take advantage of this and are producing press releases already written in the form of a story.  The journalist sees such a pre-written release and passes it on to be printed, often changing little or nothing. Yes, these may only be fillers or fluff around the main stories, but companies are sneaking advertisements in where we don’t expect it. This leads to casual readers accepting a surreptitious advertisement as genuine news.

To show you want I mean, there are a couple of simple things to look for to identify these spurious 'news' items. Firstly, within the first two paragraphs you will see the company or product name. Then there will be often be a list of reasons why the company or product provides such an advantage. This would be unlikely to be found in a genuine news story where a more balanced view should be presented. When you become aware of it, it is much easier to spot what is essentially an advertorial disguised as a news item. Look for the key clues below, and you will soon wise up to the tricks of the trade.

I have included a real example.

which purports to be a news story entitled Weight loss Maori-style makes gains.
Surely a story to interest many people in our weight-conscious society.
But is all as it seems?

The key points to look at:

1. A headline that makes you go 'wow'!

2. The second and third line gives the names of the founders followed by a simple positive statement  that sounds great.

3. In the fourth line the location of the business is given, followed by a list of irresistible benefits to be had at the gym.

This story is presented as a human interest story, when in fact it is advertising. Would you have been able to spot the giveaways in this story or would you have just gone 'Wow that is fantastic, maybe a gym would work for me'?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Wildcats training camp.

As some of you may know I am now the head trainer for the Wildcats Swiss triathlon team. The process to get this position was a long one and I have to say a huge thank you straight way to the Wildcats for getting me a work visa so this Kiwi boy who lives in Germany could have a job in Switzerland!

Nice view from Hotel!
So the main planning for this camp was already done before I started and I felt like I was playing catch up a little getting ready for the camp, mainly because I had so much other stuff happening as well. Still I was so looking forward to heading to Italy and helping athletes.

We had adults and the younger athletes with us for this camp. I like this as it gives the young athletes a chance to meet the adults and see how hard they train, and the adults get to meet and talk to the future of the sport.

Day 1 – Saturday 28.3.

Well just about day 2 as some of the athletes were at training on the Friday night. Where we ran and swam.

After an early start we set off from Basel and headed to Kaltern in Süd-Tirol, Italy. Once we got there the sun was shinning off the beautiful lake with a little castle on a hill. Yes I was already thinking about running to the castle!

After quickly finding our rooms, sorting out gear, we all headed out to run around the lake. It was a nice easy run and a chance to chat and see what the athletes wanted from the week!

Day Total – 1 hour running

Day 2 – Sunday 29.3.  

We headed out for a nice ride, in sun and 17 degrees, it just about felt like summer to me after 8 degrees in Germany.

After lunch it was time to head to the Castle. Once we got there we found no one had brought a camera with them…. No one…. 5 of us and no phone or camera…. I ask you what is the world coming too. After a little look around we headed out along a wonderful trail to some rock formations. We got great views down to the valley below.
Day total – 2.30 hours cycling and 2 hours running

Day 3 – Monday 30.3.

First think we all loaded up in vans and headed to the swimming pool. We had been told we would have 3 lanes all to ourselves for an hour and a half and the athletes were really looking forward to the first swim session. Once in the pool there was a problem. What we had be told would be reserved, wasn’t infact all the lanes had old people doing breath stroke or half drowning. After talking to the head life guard who didn’t know anything about us coming did more some of the slow old people out the fast lane so we could swim. It wasn’t a complete loss, but not perfect to say the least.

The days main training was originally planned as a long ride day. But because the weather wasn’t looking super I decided to have a shorter ride and run after. The plan was a nice 3 to 4 hours….. Joe and Em will understand this…. The map looked great! 6 hours later we got back to the hotel and the long ride was done! Well done to Sven Altermatt that still went and did the 2 km run off the bike!

We were joined by long time Wildcat, Cybèle. I know that makes her sound old, but she is a great Junior athlete who has the ability and drive to do very well in this demanding sport of triathlon. She headed out with us for about an hour before heading back to base to recover from a hard weekend at the national selections.

Day total – 6 to 6:30 hours cycling
Day 4 – Tuesday 31.3.

Very early we had swimming today. We had to be on time and do a very fast transition from locker room to pool so we could get a couple of lanes for use to use. And it worked!

Today after swimming we had interval day. First of all running intervals and after lunch it was time for a little ride. Sven, Tobi, Michael and Dominik (He is one of my great cycling coaches) headed out for some tempo riding.

While Cybèle, Patrick and I headed for a more civilized steady ride.

I had been building a 1st of April joke, saying that tomorrow all the athletes would do a triathlon. It would be a swim in the lake a ride around the hill and a run to the Castle…. It is fair to say some people were very very worried. I did come clean telling people it was a joke. It would have been a great and fun thing to do, if the water wasn’t 12 degrees!

Days totals – 1:15 hours Running and 2:45 hours cycling

Day 5 – Wednesday 1.4.

The rest day… and man was it windy. The only day of wind, and I felt hammered. Legs of stone, we headed out for an easy leg spin and I stayed in the front just to keep everyone from attacking me. It was nice and easy…. Still the head wind home sucked big time, and that is saying something when you are from New Zealand and race in Belgium.

After lunch we all walked into a nice village and had the best Italian ice cream that I have ever had! I just about want to go back, just for the ice cream. Yes it was that good.

Day 6 – Thursday 2.4.

This is always were training camps get interesting! You body starts saying no, and your mind says only a couple of days to go…. I can do it.

First thing was swimming and once again it was the fast transition, once we were in the pool it was all good till an old Italian man started yelling at the ladies in his swimming lane, in fact he yelled at everyone and throw is pool buoy across the room and then his goggles…. After much hand waving and shouting he did carm  down and swim again….. But talk about firery Italian

We headed out on a nice ride, the group stayed together for just under 2 hours then we split into two groups. One group heading for a climb and the other heading home to recover before running.

Once everyone was back from riding we went for a little hill run. I had been told by the boss of the hotel that the run up was hard but down was good, and he runs it when he can and loves it. He also said it is only about 10km and about an hour.

I think he hasn’t run it. Up was hard and ok, but down was difficult if you were not used to offroad running and wearing hard core road running shoes. It also became clear that it was going to be longer then 1 hour! Cybèle and I slowed down a little on the descents to stay safe and to protect our legs on the slippery stone. I am sure after about 2 minutes she wanted to sprint past me as I told her stories about rocks, calling them Turtles and Rats. Turtles being the rock you stand on and they stay still and Rats being rocks that when you stand on them they move.

Now looking back I am surprised she didn’t get a rat and hit me with it. Thanks for that Cybèle.

Day totals – 3:30 hours cycling and 1:30 hours running.

Day 7 – Friday 3.4.

Another big ride day, infact it was pass day. The route I had planned included 2 passes, the first being the Gampen pass and the second being the Mendola pass. It was a really beautiful day, the sun was out, it was a little chilly but wow what views.

We did notice an interesting fact while we were riding. Everyone was out on race wheels. Really they were! Amazing, how much money was spinning out on the road, just for a training ride! I was truly impressed.

Once we were back at the hotel I headed out alone back upto the little Castle for some photos. I have to say my legs were feeling the volume of training. It was nice running at my tempo and on the way down I really opened up the legs and hammered down the hill! Man it was fun… full speed, limited control and killer views.

Day total – 5:30 hours cycling and 1:15 running.

Day 8 – Saturday 4.4.

As we were heading home today we had to do a short training, so we did transition training. Run, bike, run, bike, run, bike. It was only a shortish run and bike but the fast transitions the athletes were doing had me really impressed. Sven and Cybèle were amazing. They started out nice and slow and then hit real speed by the end. The effort that was put in was fantastic!

Then sadly it was time to head home. I would have loved another week to really get my legs working, but work was calling!

Go Sven!
I have to thank you to a few people, firstly to the athletes they all worked really hard to make the most out of the camp. The other trainers that were on the camp, Fabienne (Head of the young athletes), Andrea, Andi and Dominik, a huge thank you for all your help. Katja for all the fantastic support, help and organising so much behind the senses.

Thank you so much everyone and I am looking forward to next year.