We are excited to announce the appointment of Olympian, Ricky Soos as Lead Middle and Long Distance Coach at Altis.
Soos – who represented Great Britain in the 800m at the 2004 Athens Games, and 2003 World Championships – is currently based in Loughborough, England, where he coaches a group of distance athletes; but the PE & Sports Science Graduate is ready to make the move Stateside: “I’m thrilled to be starting a distance group at Altis. The lack of winters (as we know them) and proximity to altitude make Altis an ideal setting for distance runners.”
The 31 year old is also husband to 1500m runner Lisa Dobriskey – who won silver at the 2009 World Championships, and Gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Dobriskey will also be making the move to Altis, having already been based here for significant periods of her winter preparation phase.
The hiring of Ricky Soos marks another step towards further bolstering the already world-class line up of coaches based at Altis, explained CEO and Founder – John Godina: “We are excited to bring Ricky Soos into the Altis coaching family. Having a coach of Ricky’s caliber is a great way for us to begin work with middle distance runners at the highest levels. We can’t wait to add a new event group to Altis and help – through Ricky’s great work – more athletes to achieve their dreams.”
We sat down with Ricky to find out more.
Ricky – thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Let’s start with your experiences to date. Can you outline your background in athletics – first as a competitor, then your route into coaching?
I began running aged 12, mostly over x-country and longer distances until about 16 when I moved to the steeplechase. Then as an U20 I settled into 800/1500m where I had had some success and won a few junior national titles and a bronze medal at the European juniors in Grossetto. I represented GB at the World Championships in Paris 2003, aged 20, and was Olympic semi-finalist the following year, running 1:45.70. Sadly that is where my running career more or less ended. Years of injuries followed which I never managed to fully overcome.
During my later years (still battling injury) I would offer lots of advice to the younger athletes in our group and take drills sessions etc. I enjoyed that side of things and having studied PE & sports science at Loughborough University it was a natural progression.
For the last few years I have been coaching a group of athletes in Loughborough including my wife, Lisa Dobriskey.
How did you first hear about Altis?
I started to hear about what was going on in 2013. I knew Dan, Stu and Steve Lewis from their time in the UK, and I started following Altis on Twitter. Watching it grow very quickly during that time definitely grabbed my interest, and it was an environment I wanted to find more about.
You’ve already spent a significant amount of time here – with your wife Lisa. What was your impression of Altis during that time?
I was struck by the positive environment that had been created. As there was no distance event group when we arrived we thought it may be difficult to settle in, and were nervous that we may not really ‘fit in’. That couldn’t have been further from the truth, from the very first day we were made to feel part of the family.
It really hit home for me that for many years I had been in and around a world class setup – in terms of facilities and back-up – yet being at Altis was the first time I had really felt part of a world-class mindset.
Further into the trip I was struck by how open the coaching staff were in discussing their methods but also how keen they were to learn.
Can you briefly tell us a little about your coaching philosophy?
I believe strongly in an individual approach to every athlete. In endurance events (particularly 800/1500) there are many roads that lead to Rome. Finding optimum volumes and intensities for each athlete is essential to keeping them healthy and performing.
How do you get the best out of an individual as a coach?
It’s important to figure out what makes them tick, what their motivations are and what makes them stressed or anxious. Many of the athletes I coach at the moment are finishing PhDs or beginning new careers. For them much of what I do is understanding their lifestyle so that I can program their training sensitively.
Aside from the physical demands, what are the key determinants for successful performers in distant events in terms of mindset, personality, etc?
I don’t think there are any real differences to any other event group: Commitment, discipline and patience are probably the three that stand out to me.
What are you looking forward to about moving out here?
Working among such an experienced and knowledgeable group of coaches and athletes. I feel very honored to be a part of Altis and excited to start coaching a group full time.
And the Weather!
Is this a permanent move for you? Who will you be moving with?
My wife and I have a 3 year visa so at least for that long, but I hope it will be longer – as the vision for Altis is something I’d love to be a part of for the long term!
Anything you’re nervous about?!
No, just excited and eager to get started!