Australia’s champion hurdler Sally Pearson believes the scientific bent of her new coach Ashley Mahoney will enable her to run even faster.
Sally Pearson was gobsmacked when her new coach handed her a piece of paper with scientific data.
The sheet provided by new mentor Ashley Mahoney contained a host of statistics which confused Pearson.
“He gave me a piece of paper with all these numbers. And I just looked at it and said ‘I have no idea what this means’,” Pearson told AAP on Tuesday.
“He went through every single step I take in the 100m hurdles, he had timed every single step of my race before he was even my coach.”
Mahoney is Pearson’s third coach in a tick over a year – she left long-time coach Sharon Hannan in early October last year after a tremendously successful 14-year partnership.
The Olympic and Commonwealth champion then worked with former training partner Antony Drinkwater-Newman before their recent amicable parting.
“Antony got offered a great job and I couldn’t stand in his way,” Pearson said.
Pearson turned to Mahoney, a former Queensland state 110m hurdles champion who competed at several Olympic selection trials but never quite made the international grade.
Mahoney, a podiatrist, first met Pearson when treating her foot stress fractures as a 14-year-old.
Pearson said Mahoney had a bent for the science and biomechanics of hurdling – hence the confusing sheet of paper.
“Science is the biggest thing behind my event, most definitely,” she said.
“And he has that eye for technique and those little one percenters that may need to be fixed, or at least looked at, to be able to bring my times down.
“The thing is I don’t look at that paper, I don’t look at the scientific data. He analyses it and then comes back to me and says ‘just lift your knee’ or ‘run a bit faster here’.
“Athletes don’t want to think too much about the real technical things that we do. We just need it broken down so it’s easy for us to understand so that when we’re on the blocks all we need to do is just let our body do the talking.”
Pearson – who on Monday night was named the 2014 Women’s Health sportswoman of the year, a week after being given the Don Award from the Sport Australia Hall of Fame – believed Mahoney’s scientific approach will reap quicker times.
“I know there’s little things that I can fix up and that just takes time,” said Pearson, the fifth-fastest woman in history over 100m hurdles – her personal best of 12.28 seconds is 0.07 behind the world record of Bulgarian Yordanka Donkova.
“I can run faster.
“I’m still definitely time-focused. But I’m more focused on the medals because no-one can take medals away from you, but people can take records away from you.”