21 Oct 2020

Dame Val changes coaches in an effort to impress at Olympics

11:33 am on 21 October 2020

Shot put champion Dame Valerie Adams has changed coaches in an attempt to shake things up ahead of next year's Tokyo Olympics.

Dame Valerie Adams

Dame Valerie Adams Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Dame Valerie is now under the guidance of Dale Stevenson, who also coaches men's champion Tom Walsh.

Adams had been coached by Athletics New Zealand's High Performance Director Scott Goodman since the 2016 Olympics.

Goodman said with the difficulties of training during Covid-19 there have been discussion for months about joining up with Stevenson in Christchurch.

The new programme will mean that Dame Valerie will travel to Christchurch for up to four days a week.

Goodman said that showed the commitment she has had to her career and to next year's Olympics.

"She's a little but uncertain with having a young family, but it reflects that she wants to be as competitive as possible in Tokyo."

"In any other year all our top athletes would be training and competing overseas, so this gives them all a competitive environment."

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Mālō e lelei What a year 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣0️⃣ has been with so much uncertainty. It’s been tough on us all and hasn't been easy as an athlete trying to train for ultimately nothing has been frustrating..... So I need to step out of my comfort zone and shake things up a bit to enable me to be the best version of myself in Tokyo. Soooo I’m very excited to have Dale Stevenson lead my programme and to have the opportunity to train in his squad. I want to thank Scott Goodman for his continued help and support the last few years especially through my pregnancies and comeback at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games I am grateful that he will still be on the journey with me in his role as HP Director and in particular providing support when I am in Auckland. A massive thanks goes out to my hubby Gabe♥️ my babies Kimoana and Kepaleli ‍‍‍and my mum in-law for the unconditional love and support. I couldn't do it without you all. Tokyo is 9 months away...... lets chalk up and do this ☄️ #TeamAdams #RoadtoTokyo #mumathlete #SwitchingItUp #thankyoutoallforthesupport #LetsGo @alishalovrich

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Goodman said it should also work well for Stevenson's group of athletes.

"Tom and Val, they play off each other, they stir each other along and so it just creates a different environment for a group of athletes all working with the same objective of trying to get the best out of themselves."

Stevenson is also the coach of shot-putter Ryan Ballantyne and hammer thrower Lauren Bruce.

It was a big decision for Dame Valerie who will be leaving behind two young children, including a one year old with Type 1 diabetes, for extended periods over the summer.

"It's phenomenal, there is a lot of stress for Val and her family around that and so it's a big commitment, but the way she's looking at it she won't get another chance in her life to do this and so her family and everyone are supporting her," Goodman said.

Dame Valerie, 36, competed in her first Olympics in 2004 and has since won two gold medals and a silver and Tokyo 2021 is likely to be her last games.