Conditioning Going From Strength To Strength

As one of UEL’s head strength and conditioning coaches, Julie Gooderick has been a key link to success over the five-year evolution of the Sports Dock and Aqua East. Conail Gallagher meets her.

With a £21 million pound SportsDock complex built in 2012 for the Olympics, UEL’s sporting performance through the BUCS leagues has gone from strength to strength. The university has produced world-class athletes such as Olympians Lawrence Okolie and Adam Gemili in such a short period of time. So what is it that creates these athletes?

Julie Gooderick believes that the strength and conditioning aspect of training at elite level is imperative for performance.

“Competition in all sports has reached higher standards year on year and getting a few extra percentages of performance is becoming crucial to success. I always say to athletes, your physicality and physical preparation is something which is within your control and something you have the power to change.

‘Hugely important’

“You can’t alter someone else’s preparation or their skill level, but you can ensure there are no shortcomings in your own physical preparation. Whether sport is your career or simply your passion, keeping yourself strong and injury free is going to be important for you. Finding a strength and conditioning coach who understands you, your sport and your body is hugely important to an athlete’s performance.”

Gooderick had a strength and conditioning coach herself when she was trampolining as a teenager and as she got older, she found herself coaching younger members in the club for a bit of extra cash. She then took a Sports therapy degree then a masters in Strength and Conditioning before taking a PhD in fatigue and recovery methods, which explains her specialist knowledge on injury rehabilitation.

“My background is in sports injuries so I have a good understanding of the rehabilitation side of performance and the journey from injury to peak performance. I did my degree in sports therapy and my first job was doing injury rehab in professional football. After this I did my masters in strength and conditioning and worked in pro tennis for a number of years. I’ve worked with athletes from a wide variety of sports, but I would say football and tennis are sports I have extensive experience with. But generally if you have a good understanding of biomechanics, sports science and performance, you can adapt to working with athletes from most sports, really.”

Dedication

With vast experience working with top athletes through a range of different sports, Gooderick has seen it all. She assures that the keys to success for any athlete, regardless of what sport you are in or how talented you are, are in the mind;

“To be a top-level athlete, you need hard work, dedication and an open mind. Being open minded is probably one of the most important qualities; there is nothing worse than an athlete with a fixed mind-set who is resistant to try anything new. An athlete must always be open to trying something new as there is always something to improve. There are different levels of hard work and dedication and the best athletes are always the ones who bring this ethos into their everyday lives and have this focused mind-set for all aspects of life.”

Julie Gooderick will look to continue getting the most out of the athletes focusing on the next BUCS competition in the first weekend of February.