Olympic Champion Darren Campbell joins Wasps as Consultant Sprint Coach
Olympic Gold medallist Darren Campbell MBE has joined Wasps in a consultancy role as Sprint Coach for the 2015/16 season.
Watch Campbell putting Wasps through their paces, as the squad prepare to take on Samoa at the Ricoh Arena this Saturday in a pre-season and Rugby World Cup warm-up fixture:
A European record holder for the 4x100m relay, Campbell enjoyed an illustrious sprinting career, which included winning the 4x100m Gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics and Silver in the 200m at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Having retired in 2006, Darren is now a respected broadcaster for BBC Radio 5 Live and Sky Sports, alongside his consultancy work as a coach, in which he has advised at a number of professional football clubs, including Chelsea, Cardiff City and Everton, as well as working with individual players. Campbell works on players developing their understanding of sprint techniques, to enable them to increase their pace and acceleration.
Away from coaching, Campbell promotes sport to children, in his role with the Youth Sports Trust and is also an ambassador for Sky Sports Living for Sport, and host of Sky Sports’ Game Changers programme.
Campbell, who recently led his first sprint session with Wasps’ backs and back-rowers, said: “I worked with Trystan Bevan [Wasps Performance Co-ordinator] when he was at Cardiff Blues and he helped organise the first session with Wasps when he joined the club this season.
“I’m delighted things have progressed from there and that I can now help Wasps players on a more formal basis, through this consultancy role. Trystan and Dan Baugh have already done a lot of work with the guys, so I don’t need to work too hard on the basics, it’s more about tweaking and improving technique.
“I really enjoyed our first speed session and was impressed with the speed and technique of a number of the Wasps’ squad. Once you understand speed and once you understand the movements involved, it helps both agility and speed.
“Apart from Christian Wade, who has benefited from coaching in his younger years from Julian Golding, many players haven’t actually been taught how to run. When you’re back in school you just run, but when you get to higher levels there’s a lot more detail in how you run, so that’s what I try to pass on to these guys. Even the flyers in the squad who are quick, rely more on natural ability, intuition and strength training, rather than really honing in on their technique, so that’s where I hope I can help them improve a little.
“I’ve worked with Saracens and the likes of Jonah Lomu, Mark Cueto, Lewis Moody, Mathew Tait and Richard Wigglesworth and a lot of different rugby clubs and I really enjoy consulting. My job is to come in and make it second nature, because then it’s one less thing that they’ve got to think about.”
Wasps’ speedster Elliot Daly particularly enjoyed the session, even emulating top-class sprinters by jokingly dipping for the finishing line:
"That extra viewpoint, of having someone like Darren, who has been so successful in the sprinting world, come down is amazing. Everybody has the capacity to get faster. We don’t tend to do technique specific drills often, as there are so many other elements of the game to focus on. It’s great that the Wasps coaches and strength and conditioning guys like Trystan [Bevan] and Dan [Baugh] are always looking at different ways to help us improve performance and hopefully sessions like this will help gain us a couple of seconds.”
Christian Wade, the most experienced sprinter in the Wasps’ squad, believed he gained from the experience saying: “The last time I was focussing on out-and-out speed training was when I was 16 or 17 and I really enjoyed looking at it in more detail again today. The players have huge respect for what Darren has achieved in athletics and many grew up watching him, so he had everyone’s full attention as they tried to absorb his advice and we all saw improvements, even after a half an hour session.”
Wasps’ Performance Co-ordinator Trystan Bevan said: "Darren is a person who has immense credibility and gravitas in British sport and to have input and advice on speed development from him is of huge benefit to the Wasps squad. Speed is one of the biggest performance factors in elite sport and to have an association with Darren will be advantageous."