Smith keen to learn from one of America's best athletics coaches


Invercargill athletics coach Lance Smith has won a trip to Auckland to attend a workshop run by top United States athletics coach Dan Pfaff.

Invercargill athletics coach Lance Smith is looking forward to tapping into the knowledge of United States expert Dan Pfaff. The American has coached 49 Olympians, 51 world champions, five world record holders, five Olympic Games teams and six world championship teams. A former world champion sprinter Donovan Bailey trained under Pfaff.

"I'll be picking up some helpful information to bring back to Southland athletes and coaches," Smith said.

He is one of four coaches throughout the country to win trips to one of Pfaff's three workshops in New Zealand in the first week of October.   Athletics New Zealand, with financial support from the Prime Minister's Scholarship fund, ran a competition for coaches, with prizes being trips to the workshops in either Auckland, Cambridge or Christchurch. The other winners were Emma Akeripa (Hawke's Bay), Mark Harris (Wellington) and Anne Thomson (Palmerston North). 

To enter the competition, coaches had to submit a question they would like to ask Pfaff. The best four won the trips. 

Smith's question was: "What is the correlation, if any, between mental and CNS (central nervous system) fatigue and does mental fatigue from negative brain activity (e.g. fear, regret, doubt, over thinking technique etc.) contribute to long term CNS fatigue?"

Smith will be attending the sprints and jumps workshop in Auckland on October 2.

In the past decade Smith has coached athletes to win at national and international levels.  Some top secondary school or senior athletes formerly coached by him and now competing for universities in the United States are Jack Beaumont (long distance runner), Jordan Rackham (middle distance runner), Atipa Mabonga (triple jumper), Greer Alsop (triple and long jumper), Hannah Miller (cross country runner in NZ) and Charlotte Muschamp (triple and high jumper).