06 DEC 2010 Series

For Hooker, extended break aimed at peak performance in Daegu – IAAF Online Diaries

Steven Hooker celebrates winning the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi (Getty Images)Steven Hooker celebrates winning the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi (Getty Images) © Copyright
Steve Hooker’s ‘injury break’ is more about putting himself in the best possible position for Daegu 2011 and London 2012 than an enforced rest, the reigning World and Olympic Pole Vault champion and Samsung Diamond League Ambassador writes in his latest IAAF Online Diary.

“I am not injured just suffering a bit of wear and tear from a long season.

“There is a very short time between the Commonwealth Games and the Australian domestic season, not enough for a good preparation.

“So I would have had to compete in the Australian season off a rushed preparation, which is probably a bit risky and not ideal for good results.

“My focus was to take time to get my body 100 percent right and to have a really long, measured preparation for the European summer and to be in fantastic shape for that.

“That’s not to say that I wouldn’t be competing before that. If everything goes really smoothly and I’m in good shape I could be competing in April. But I’m in a position where I’m not under pressure to do that.

“I’m going to do what’s absolutely right in my preparation so I’m ready to get a really good result in Daegu.

“It’s probably a bit of Athletics Australia realising the position I’m in and the fact that, as defending champion, I’m entitled to a wild card entry.

“After such a long season, it’s important to give myself a chance to have the best preparation for Daegu. I think that’s something that Athletics Australia understands. The fact that I’m the reigning champion made it easier for them to take that position.

“I haven’t had a long break. Rather than having a longer period off and then getting straight back into my full program I’ve taken the option of getting back into a reduced program off a short break.

“I had a week off after the Commonwealth Games and then was back into one session a day. It’s less than what I would normally do at that time in my preparation; it’s a controlled and measured approach to getting back into things and a gradual build-up to competition.

“Taking a long break is not ideal. I think just keeping moving and keeping active, even at a lower level, is important.

“Keeping focused on what I want to achieve and how I’m going to go about it is very important at this point.

“We’re looking at the next 20 months, and that’s another reason why it’s so important to have a long, high-quality preparation. It’s going to set me up for the next 20 months, so I’m looking at my preparation in Europe this year as a trial run for London 2012.

“We’re discussing and planning now our best set-up and competition schedule for Europe, so that we can put it in place for this year, and see what works and what we have to change for the Olympics.

“For 2011-12 I‘ll be going back to a competition schedule more similar to 2008 and 2009, starting a bit later and competing less, which would seem to be the way for me to have consistently high-level results and go into a major championship with a lot of confidence.

“I think everyone will have seen the inconsistency in my results this year. Next year, I want to go back to a schedule where I get consistent, high-level results.

“One of the consequences of this low-key approach at the moment is that I’ve been involved in some activities I wouldn’t normally have a chance to do.

“I was a judge at the Red Bull Flugtag, watching people trying to ‘fly’ off a 6m platform into Sydney Harbour.

“I also met Mark Webber and checked out a F1 racing car. I’ve followed Mark’s campaign pretty closely this year.

“Would I be a Formula One driver if I had the chance? Well, it’s definitely a glamorous lifestyle, but I don’t think I’m a good enough driver.

“I think I made the right choice going with Pole Vault.”

Steve