North Shore Times
Feb 4, 2016
Sports-mad Sionann Murphy has to work harder than most 10 year olds just to get to the start line.
But when she is racing she isn't too far behind her peers.
Sionann has cerebral palsy with mild paralysis to her right side effecting her leg and arm. However the energetic youngster has a determination that sees her give everything a go.
"I know in myself that I can do it. I treat myself as a normal child, I forget about the disability," Sionann says.
The Unsworth Heights resident entered the Colgate Games, one of the biggest athletics meets in New Zealand, for the second time this year.
At the event for athletes aged between 7 and 14, Sionann set personal bests in the 100 metres and long jump.
It was the first time she had beaten an able-bodied athlete.
She finished ahead of one person on the track and jumped further than four people.
Coach Steve Erkkila says worldwide a very small percentage of athletes with cerebral palsy have beaten able-bodied athletes in competition.
Erkkila has helped modify Sionann's running style and her starting block, moves that have transformed her athletics results. He says she is a good student who has quickly picked up the adapted techniques.
Sionann, the daughter of two marathon runners, is now turning heads in the athletics community. "She is such an inspiration to everybody, I love training her," Erkkila says.
Erkkila believes Sionann has a bright sporting future.
New orthotics could further assist Sionann in her sporting endeavours and other areas of her life.
Sionann wears a leg splint day and night. However her current splints, that she has outgrown, are not suitable for running.
The Murphy's have had issues with ill-fitting splints imported from America. Now they are looking at DM Orthodics from England which are worn by members of the Team GB paralympic team and are recommended by Cerebral Palsy Sport in the United Kingdom, but they are not funded by the Ministry of Health and the cost can be prohibitive.
The orthodics would give Sionann more power and elevation in her movements. Mum Loraine says Sionann's success doesn't come without a struggle. "Other children see a normal child, but they don't see her hard work, frustration and the tears." This year will be a busy one for the new Carmel College student.
She is starting a twice daily, six-week rehabilitation programme following wrist surgery in late January to lengthen a tendon. But that won't slow her down.
Sionann will participate in the Weet-Bix Tryathlon again on April 3 in Whangaparaoa and later in the month will return to the Halberg Junior Disability Games, where she had great success last year and was named as best female athlete.
Support from fellow North Harbour Bays Athletics Club members means a lot to Sionann and the Murphy family.
Other girls from the club, who are becoming accomplished athletes themselves, have helped provide running spikes and throwing shoes. "They want to be part of the journey too," Loraine says.
Sionann mentors children in a similar situation to her own through a group set up by her physio. She encourages them to try different sports and have the confidence to compete.
February 4 2016
Two daughters weddings (Samantha and Jenna) within 11 months of each other required Steve to change his usual attire
Great interview by Glenn Mills, Usain Bolt's coach who was greatly influenced by the great American sprint coach Bud Winter who had a resounding influence on myself as an athlete and coach. My whole speed and mechanics business grew from Bud Winter as also stated by Glenn Mills that the sprint explosion in Jamaica happened after he was so influenced also by the great American coach
Usain Bolt has added another medal to his list. Deemed the fastest man alive, Bolt dashed his way to first place during the 200m race at the 2015 World Athletics Championships in Beijing, China.
Usain Bolt reached the finish line in 19.55 seconds, defeating America’s Justin Gatlin who crossed the end in 19.74 seconds.
In an interview with BBC Sport, the 29-year-old decorated athlete said, “It’s great, a fourth [world title] win over 200m and it means a lot to me. I’m happy to be a 10-time World Championships gold medalist, especially when people have been saying I would lose.”
Usain Bolt: I want to be the best, that's my motivation.
Speed is a skill
Sprinting is a science
Relax and win!
Quotes from Bud Winter in 1981 ( Bud Winter trained athletes who set 37 World Records and produced 27 Olympians, as well as influencing many coaches around the globe including Glen Mills, Usain Bolt’s coach.)
You must learn to relax under pressure, which demands repetition day in day out. Eat, drink and sleep it my friends. You must maintain maximum speed in a relaxed mode. What makes the difference to your speed is good technique, especially under pressure. Running relaxed under pressure is difficult and requires you to learn your running mechanics slowly at first with lots of repetitions. Running mechanics should be a big part of your warm ups to put you in the right frame of mind to perform your sporting task.
If you run poorly then be content not to reach your full potential – the choice is yours. A good analogy – run with poor form and your car runs rough, run with good technique your car runs smooth.
Great buzz to race the cream of "World Sprinting" back in 1977 at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland.
From left to right
Hasley Crawford (Trinidad-Tobago) 1976 Olympic 100m Champion
Don Quarrie (Jamaica) 1976 Olympic 200m Champion
Alan Wells (Scotland) became Olympic 100m Champion 1980
Steve Erkkila (New Zealand) - NZ 100m Champion and Record Holder (10.4s)
The four-time Olympic sprint champion Michael Johnson begins our lesson in how to run faster with an unexpected discussion about cars and cowboys. “If you want your car to go faster, you push the accelerator,” says Johnson. At 47, he is still lean and athletic in a tracksuit. “When you sprint, think of your arms as your accelerators. Your arms drive your legs, not the other way round.”
As i have preached to my athletes time and time again, the speed of your arms dictate the speed of your legs. People who say the legs are the main attribute for speed are way off the finish line.
Fantastic results for my surf athletes Maddi Kidd ( Papamoa ) and Ryan Gilmour ( Piha ) at the regional yearly awards nights. Maddie won female athlete for the year under 19 for the Eastern region, while Ryan won male athlete of the year under 16 for the Northern region. Also of high praise goes to Stefan Powney (Orewa ) who was a finalist in the under 16 male class along with Ryan.
Great to see Steven Ferguson taking out coach of the year for the Northern region to whom I have great pleasure working along side in our speed and mechanics training for the Piha surf club
Well done to you all a truely brilliant effort by everyone
Your self esteem – your attitude towards yourself – factors strongly on your success and happiness in every area of your life. That definitely is including your sporting endeavours!
The better your self esteem the bigger the goals you can set for yourself.
Good self esteem makes you feel happier, increases your energy levels and raises your optimism to attack your personal goals.
If you TRUELY believe it in your heart, then and only then you can TRUELY move confidently towards your goals
Fading before the final hooter of your competition? Can’t pick yourself up with 15 to 20 minutes of the game to go? Are you making poor calls at the back end of the game? Do yourself a favour and improve your running form/technique – that could increase your performance by up to 20%.
Poor running form or technique – for example your arms not swinging correctly – is a total WASTE of PRECIOUS ENERGY! The energy you need to run faster, the energy you need to stop fatigue setting in with 15 minutes to play or the energy you need to still be making competent decisions near the end of a game.
Getting the picture? Good technique isn’t only there to help improve your speed as it has many other benefits. Running correctly also puts you in an active and alert mindset so you are tuned in to the task ahead of you.
For contact sports, think of a car crash and the damage that increases as the speed increases – the same applies on the footy field. Now i am not implying that we want to cause injury to the opposition but i am implying that we want to tackle the opposition in the hardest but fairest tackle we can make – that’s part of the game, isn’t it? Speed will make that happen and the same applies when you are attacking. I have always maintained if you can’t run on to the ball at pace then get out of the way and let someone else do the job as you only create gaps by pace.The All Black backline are showing this perfectly and the forwards can carve up the middle because they are pumping the speed.
Now this is the last five inches so to speak; first you’ve got to do the hard yards to build a solid platform to launch the speed from. Don’t build your house on sand or failure will strike. Put in the hours of preparation, get fit, run on the grass rather than pound the roads which knock your legs around. The great Joe Fraser once stated you must do your home work – he hated running but never missed a workout. If you cut corners it will catch up to you sooner or later – no doubt about it my friends, be warned!
In conclusion: learn the correct form and technique, stop wasting your precious energy for the many benefits it brings, do the hard yards so you have a solid platform to launch from.
BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE FOR YOURSELF AND FOR YOUR FELLOW TEAM MEMBERS, MANAGEMENT AND VERY IMPORTANTLY YOUR LOYAL SUPPORTERS.