“Training is testing and testing is training. One cannot go without the other. Without accurate and reliable equipment for performance measurement and monitoring you cannot discern what is working and what is not. I’ve been using Swift for years on many continents for good reason. It works.”
From an interview with Dean Benton, National High Performance Manager for Rugby Australia…………
Dean , how long have you worked as a coach ?
Its hard to imagine a time when I wasn’t! I first starting coaching in athletics (sprints) in 1996, but also worked in the football and rugby codes while developing my skills as an athletic performance coach. Following that, I took a role at the Australian Institute of Sport, post olympics in 2001. During this time I worked both as a sprint coach and within the AIS Strength and Conditioning Department. Subsequent to this I have worked in both the institute-academy system and with professional sports for many years.
Your mantra is testing is training , and training is testing. Can you elaborate on that?
I originally stole that from Vern Gambetta. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying so. Essentially, you often cannot separate the two, and in fact you shouldn’t try. It should be a blend – not either or. Strategic use of testing equipment allows a mixture of training stimulus and feedback for both athlete and coach. I see many coaches who only get their timing gates out two or three times a year. That makes no sense to me. If we are to monitor our athletes performance its imperative to test at least weekly.
Do you travel with your testing equipment and what sort of technologies do you use?
Travelling with a team does not mean we have a holiday from our stringent program of testing and measurement. Rugby in particular is a sport where we spend a lot of time on the road. We carry a lot of equipment but selection of what we do carry on tour is very carefully made. We want equipment that is not too bulky, travels well, and above all is reliable when we arrive at our destination. We religously take our Swift DUO timing gates, and EZEJUMP. The athletes engage better when we use the best technology we can get. Funnily, its the simple things that make life easy with technology. We do like the hybrid system you created for us with DUO/NEO packaging you built for us. I love those new tripods. Seriously. Not having anything but gates to turn on is a bonus. Dropping the old Speedlink hub was a great move on Swifts behalf. Simple is good, especially when it delivers great data.
Your methods are your own. How are yours different from others?
Having moved across sports and working around the world I have developed an eclectic and adaptable skill set. My mindset is that principles are few, but methods are many. I have been very fortunate to have worked with some of the world’s best sport scientists and coaches. There is always something to learn, and a lot of coaches forget how important that is. Given I come from running background, how I prepare athletes for running is heavily influenced by the unique demands placed on the athlete in the sport they are playing.