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Media centre home > News> Olympics> Toni Minichello addresses students at Sports Conference

Issued:19/01/16

The coach behind Olympic champion, Jessica Ennis-Hill has spoken to Sheffield Hallam University students about how he's coaching the athlete back to Olympic form following the birth of her son.

Toni Minichello spoke to Sports Development and Coaching students about how he is addressing the common after-effects of pregnancy to help the 2015 World Champion heptathlete achieve a podium position at this year's Olympic Games in Rio.

"When Reggie was born, we had 108 weeks until the next Olympic Games," he told students during the University's 10th annual Academy of Sport and Physical Activity Student Conference.

"My plan is not necessarily aimed at winning. While winning is important, what I am aiming for is another medal, no matter what colour it is."

Toni told students how his two-year training plan had to allow time for Jessica's abdominal muscles to return to normal, address the athlete's damage to her Achilles tendon as well as taking into consideration the sleep deprivation that comes with a new born.

Toni, who is currently studying an MSc in Advanced Sport Coaching Practice said: "Sleep deprivation affects tendon health and the body's ability to repair muscle damage so I had to factor that into my plan.

Toni Minichello with Sports Development and Coaching students

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"I then had to consider the change in our training environment and how the surfaces would have an impact on her recovery.

"There is no handbook on how to do this right. A lot of people tend to follow one model when what you actually need is a number of different tools in the box. You need to establish the critical issues and look at how to solve each one of them. Don't focus on the aesthetics, you've really got to pinpoint the nub of the problem and work from there."

For press information: Sarah Duce in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 4025 or email pressoffice@shu.ac.uk