As one of the most-respected names when it comes to para-athlete training in Australia, let alone Geelong, we thought we’d speak to para-Olympian Richard Colman on what his training offers.
Can you tell us a bit about how you came into offering the training that you do.
After more than 20 years as an athlete travelling and competing all around the world I saw the need to help mentor the next generation of athletes. With some support any athlete can achieve their goals in life whatever that maybe.
I have been mentoring for a few years now and have recently increased the sessions available for athletes to join in athletics around Victoria, I coach athletes of all ages and abilities and all disabilities who want to achieve their own goals.
What kind of things can attendees expect from your training?
I work on developing confident young people who believe in themselves but we do work crazy hard during weekly group sessions helping each other to achieve success. We work in 4-6 week training blocks with current hard winter training underway to build fitness throughout winter leading into school championships in spring before the summer athletics season begins.
Did you have a mentor/trainer like yourself when you embarked on your athletic journey?
I joined a local athletics training squad and local able-bodied swim club, which created life long friendships. This was a huge driver in why I enjoyed athletics with such a positive but harder-working squad.
How important is it to have someone like that in your life?
It is more important than ever to have senior people with a disability mentoring, supporting and helping people with the challenges in life and living life as a person with a disability. Everyone with a disability has challenges with growing up with a disability and need support through these challenges.
You’re seen as a huge mentor to those aspiring to become para-athetes, what’s the biggest message/lesson you try to instill in them?
I help anyone who is needing support with life and the challenges that come along with life. The message is that anything is possible if you truly believe in it yourself and you work crazy hard to achieve it while not relying on other people to help you. Do it for you, it is up to you whether you achieve success in life. Also to remain positive at all times no matter what life may throw at you. No matter how bad things may seem there will be great times in the future so just keep on fighting through life.
For Kids Plus Foundation attendees who are on the fence about pursuing sports, what would you say to them?
Just get involved, as sport can provide the best opportunities in life. You don’t have to be elite to take part, just want to have fun and experience life – achieve success. There’s no pressure on anyone, we’re just here to support everyone who wants to have a go.
What was the biggest thing you learnt from representing our country and everything that comes with it?
Sport provides the best life skills, which help in all areas of life. Remain positive under pressure, believe in yourself, resilience and so much more.
How has the industry changed since you first entered it to today?
Yes, the disability industry and disability sport has achieved so so much over the past few years with so many more opportunities for athletes to participate than ever. There are more for juniors, more support, far more opportunities to participate on all levels – Geelong is the home of disability in Australia and disability sport, with more opportunities here than anywhere else in Australia. So we have the opportunities if people want.
What’s the most rewarding thing you get out of training our country’s future paralympic athletes?
Helping athletes achieve their goal is the best feeling ever.
Training with Richard Colman takes place in Geelong though the Little Athletics squads. Contact him via his website above for more information.