Toni Minichiello: Quality over quantity on camp as Jess sharpens up

Warm weather training: Jessica Ennis and Toni Minichello.
Warm weather training: Jessica Ennis and Toni Minichello.
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JESSICA Ennis’s training for the Olympic Games will step up to a new level over the next few days as she and coach Toni Minichiello fly out to Portugal for Team GB’s track and field preparation camp.

It is a familiar venue for the pair with the facility being used before Ennis’s successful World Championships in Berlin in 2009 and European Championships in Barcelona in 2010.

Minichiello explained how the emphasis in Ennis’s training now switches to a more quality over quantity mind set.

“The bulk of the work has been done. It’s more of a polishing job now. We call it our short corners and free kicks routine like a football team would go through set pieces on the day before a match.

“It’s a case of checking everything and making sure key messages are gone over.

“The volume of the work we do is about two thirds less than what we normally do.

“Everything is done with quality and at a high intensity. And there’s time for lots of rest in between so the body doesn’t get as tired.

“However, that can cause it’s own problems with an athlete because they’re used to being tired after training.

“If their body isn’t feeling the way it usually does then they can get agitated.

“We’ll still train twice a day but will cut right back on what we do to ensure the quality and intensity of every set is the best it can be.”

Minichiello said while the focus is entirely on training it can require a bit of creative thinking to cope with the down time.

“You’re totally away from real life so you don’t have to worry about when you pay your bills or whether you have enough food in. You don’t have the day-to-day hassles that would normally take up your time after training.

“For me it causes a bit of a problem because when I’m bored I eat!

“Jess is really good. She’s very disciplined and knows exactly what she needs to eat and how of much of it.

“Me? I’ll be asking for another ice cream.

“You get into a routine when you’ve been to several of these camps. I’ve roomed together with Christine Ohuruogu’s coach Lloyd Cowan and the athletes will share rooms as well so no one is on their own.

“To combat the boredom Jess often takes a box set of a TV series. I think Grey’s Anatomy is at the top of her list for Portugal.”

With it being the last stop before London, Minichiello says it is vital that all contingencies are catered for.

“We have a plan for everything in case something goes wrong. What do we need? What are we taking? What happens if some of Jess’s equipment breaks?

“Jess has a separate pair of trainers or spikes for each of the seven events. We’ve talked to adidas about how they can help if something happens. I often read about footballers having purpose-made boots, but Jess’s are what you can get off the shelf.

“In fact it is often the footwear that causes most problems at check in when you’re flying. They say athletes should keep their spikes with them in case a bag goes missing, but try getting seven pairs through under the weight limit.

“We’re picking up our Team GB kit in Loughborough today and then the next stage of the adventure begins.”