BMX racer Alison Grecht has benefited from her training with PacificSport Vancouver Island’s Ignite program for high-performance athletes.

BMX racer Alison Grecht has benefited from her training with PacificSport Vancouver Island’s Ignite program for high-performance athletes.

Program can ignite sport performance

PacificSport Vancouver Island is looking for more high-performance athletes for the next intake of the Ignite development program.

The Ignite program could be the necessary spark athletes need to reach another level.

PacificSport Vancouver Island is looking for more high-performance athletes for the next intake of a development program.

Ignite is for boys and girls ages 12-17 who have aspirations of competing and excelling at the national and international level in any sport.

“We’re looking for high-performance athletes that really dream of representing Canada one day,” said Kevin Lindo, program coordinator. “It’s to complement their specific sport, as well, so we don’t take them away from their sport at all.”

There are three pillars to the program, he said – resistance training, sprinting and flexibility.

“We train athletes to improve their athleticism and fundamental movement skills…” Lindo said. “It all reflects [long-term athlete development], where they are on the pathway.”

So athletes of different ages, genders and sport backgrounds can benefit from some of the same exercise and instruction. The program is flexible, Lindo said, to complement rather than duplicate regular team practices.

Alison Grecht, a 16-year-old BMX racer who was part of Ignite for four years, said it involves good coaches taking a well-rounded approach.

“The programs that we did worked every muscle in our body and really made sure that no matter what sport you work on, that you are gaining muscle strength and mental strength,” she said.

Grecht believes that Ignite helped her achieve consistently strong results in her BMX racing. She recently finished second in her division at the Canadian BMX Championships in Calgary and before that, she made it to worlds in Medellin, Colombia, where she placed 14th.

“I really liked that the Ignite program helped me gain my strength and conditioning off the bike, so when I got on the bike, I felt so much stronger,” she said.

The sport psychology component of the program was also important, Grecht said.

“To be able to go onto the start gate and really have that focus to know exactly what I had to do, I loved that part of it, learning the mental focus.”

She said she can now pass on her knowledge to help other athletes, and will also draw on her training to help her prepare for next season, when she moves up to the junior elite division.

Lindo said the kind of Ignite training that goes into winning a BMX race can be applied to so many sports.

“I think the power and strength portion is huge, and also the mental aspect – the pre-performance and then self-evaluation – I think that really helps these athletes too,” he said. “And that’s why the program is unique. I don’t believe there’s a program out there that offers the holistic training that this does.”

PacificSport is a not-for-profit provincial sport organization.

There are bursaries available to offset the costs of the Ignite program.

For more information about Ignite, please visit www.pacificsportvi.com or contact Lindo by phone at 250-716-6849 or e-mail at klindo@pacificsport.com.

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