© Copyright – 2017 – Victoria Sports News

…the spirit; it’s an act of nature. You must respect the high principles of life that you are learning here…

The 2017 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) will be taking place July 16 to 23 in Toronto and Greater Victoria is sending several athletes that will be competing for BC’s U16 soccer team.

The Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) was the site of five of their off-pitch training sessions to help the athletes prepare for the games as well as learn high-performance training methods to guide them as they continue to move through the competitive ranks.

The Greater Victoria soccer players took in workouts under the direction of Kinesiologist Chris Hinton, who is PISE’s high performance coordinator as well as former Victoria Shamrock Chris McElroy, who is the U16 lacrosse coach (there were a few lacrosse players benefitting from the training as well) and Mark Taylor, PISE’s Youth and Adult Program Coordinator.

Team BC is taking the 2017 NAIG seriously; it’s a celebration of sport and culture, but BC sends a competitive group of approximately 500 athletes. “We try to keep it down to 500,” shared an Elder who introduced himself as *Alex. Hinton raised his eyebrows at the number, then Alex added, “Well I think we have about 522 this time,” clearly proud of the enthusiasm.

That level of fervor cannot be contained; it should be harnessed and it was under the three leader’s direction.

“We did five sessions with the young athletes (who range in age from 13 to 16), working on different elements to prepare them for their high-performance competitions in Toronto,” said Hinton. He proceeded to write down an approximation of the program, which is indicated below.

Left to right: Back Row: Alex, Chris McElroy, Caleb Sam, Rayn Cook, Darius Jones, Chris Hinton, Mark Taylor Front Row: Josh Bryce, Austin Rutherford, Lukas Dick, Braden Nelson, Michael Maresca. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Asked what he notices, anecdotally speaking, that separates the average from those who succeed, Hinton said, “Well you can’t discount genetics, but putting that aside, you don’t have to ask the high-performance athletes if they have finished their exercises. They just do it.”

“If anything you might have to hold them back,” added Hinton, an athlete who grew up playing everything that was available in Edmonton, especially hockey. “The high-performance athletes enjoy coming in and getting beat up (sort of speak). They come in, do the work, no question.”

Hinton, McElroy and Taylor didn’t have to push the athletes, who immediately got to work, doing box jumps, bench press, and a lying-on-the-stomach-with-arms hanging type of upright rowing and all sorts of work with heavy balls, kettle bells and more traditional bodyweight resistance work.

Much of the workout was run with direction on proper and optimum form, to benefit the most from the drills, safely.

When asked of his thoughts on competing in Toronto, Vic High student Rayn Cook who plays for the Saanich Fusion said, “Excited….scared…nervous…about the flight,” to chuckles.

“I am excited about the competition and nervous, but I know we have a good team.”

Fifteen-year-old Juan de Fuca centre-mid player Darius Jones is also enthusiastic about Team BC’s chances in U16 soccer. “I am confident. I think we have a good team. I am pretty excited to play in this tournament.”

Braden Nelson Focussed. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Also on the team is 14-year-old Lukas Dick who plays outside-back for Gorge, Austin Rutherford, who is left-foot dominant and plays left-back/left-mid, Caleb Sam at centre-back and Brayden Nelson, who also plays for the Fusion. He is moving up to U17 gold next season.

“I hope to have a good time, but I want to win gold in Toronto too,” shared Nelson, who is happy to play any forward position.

As the workout was winding down, Elder Alex wandered in, called the athletes attention and provided a simply-stated, but motivational speech about the work that the athletes have put in, including, “…the spirit; it’s an act of nature. You must respect the high principles of life that you are learning here….”

He then thanked Taylor, McElroy and Hinton for their help and asked if they would like to speak, each commending the youth for their good efforts and wishing them luck in Toronto.

Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Before the group got together for a final cheer of “Go Team BC,” Alex finished with:

“What you will take from this is up to you. How you perform at NAIG is linked to how you performed here.”

Lacrosse players:

Josh Bryce, age 13, will play for BC U16 at NAIG. “Excited to go, seeking a gold medal.”

Michael Maresca, profiled, here>>


Session 1: Fatigue Index – typically a measure of anaerobic capacity.

Session 2: Lifting technique:

Bench Press
Overhead Press

Session 3: Sprint technique and timing gates

Session 4: Metabolic conditioning: circuit training

Session 5: Energy systems:

Caleb Sam. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

400m repetitions (aerobic and anaerobic stress)
Strength training
T-compound lifts
*Alex Nelson is an Edler and Senior Advisor with ISPARC: Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council.



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