Jessi Kahn Blooding New Athletics Stars

by | Oct 26, 2021

Gqeberha born Biokineticist and High Performance Coach, Jessi Kahn, is using her scientific knowledge and skill to get out best from her athletes.

Kahn, who also runs Jessi Heatley Sprints and Hurdles Academy, says being a good analyst and having a background of how the body really works has definitely given her an advantage with it comes coaching.

At the academy, athletes are grouped into training groups respective to their individual events, age and skill level. Each athlete will have their own splits and times to hit throughout each training session.

This makes it easy for aspiring athletes to perform at their level best without straining their body.

Her hard work really paid off when three athletes from Jessi Heatley Sprints and Hurdles Academy qualified and represented South Africa at the World Junior Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, in August.

Speaking to gsport, Kahn reveals the ins and outs of being a Biokineticist and future plans for her academy.

 

Jessi, thank you for taking time to speak to us. Please tell us about yourself and where you are from.

My name is Jessi Kahn, I am a Biokineticist and high performance coach from Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha).

How did the idea of Jessi Heatley Sprints and Hurdles Academy come about and when did you start? Are you a former athlete yourself?

I have always had a passion for coaching. I coached many hockey and soccer teams since 2008. I then started coaching athletics in 2012 with a previous academy that I was in partnership with. We decided to part and I opened my own academy in 2017. The interesting fact about me is that I literally played every other sport in the book except athletics! I was never a sprinter myself, however I was a National Judoka and Provincial hockey and soccer player.

What kind of challenges did you encounter if any, at the beginning and how did you overcome them?

There weren’t many challenges to overcome to be honest. I see any obstacle in life as a challenge, and will always find a way to get through it positively.

How did Covid-19 affect you and the academy?

I smile here, because Covid actually played into my hands a little bit. One of the biggest difficulties when coaching school athletes is that you are competing against other sports. Athletics is a sport in which you need to put a solid pre-season training in, and with Covid in full swing, I had the athletes to myself (because the schools didn’t have any school sports). We initially started off with Zoom sessions in the full lockdown and then the most difficult thing about Covid was to find a field to train on because all the tracks were closed. We were visited by the police once or twice. Lastly, the lack of competition was something we had to overcome by being clever in training by recreating competition through time trials, etc.

How many athletes do you have in the academy and what do their ages range from?

The academy comprises of 30 athletes. Our youngest athlete is 8 and our oldest athlete is a masters athlete of 59 years of age. The average age would be about 16. The goal is to keep the academy small to maintain individual focus!

How does your weekly schedule look, since you also a Biokineticist and have your own practice ?

Yes, I have a private practice (Jessi Heatley Biokinetics) whereby I see clients from 8:00-15:00. I then coach at the Westbourne Oval from 15:00 – 16:30 and then go back to practice to see my final client at 17:00. So it’s an 8:00-18:00 day for me. Saturdays I coach from 8:30-10:00.

Could you please  brief us, of what does being a Biokineticist entails ?

A Biokineticist improves a person’s physical well-being and quality of life through individualised scientific assessment and the prescription of exercise in rehabilitative treatment to prevent or intervene with certain ailments and the enhancement of performance (sport and work).

How do you in cooperate your skills into the training schedule of your athletes? 

The word Biokinetics means “life through movement” and good sprinting is achieved through good mechanics. A good coach is a good analyst (from a technical standpoint), so having a background in the body and how it works really gives me an advantage.

Do you have a specific training programme for each athlete?

Athletes are grouped into training groups respective to their individual events, age and/or skill level. Each athlete will have their own splits and times to hit throughout each training session. Periodisation is one of the most key elements in an athletes success!

In August, three of your athletes represented South Africa at the World Junior Championships in Nairobi, Kenya. You must be very pleased with their performance and for making the SA team!

It was the most proudest moment in my coaching career! 2 of the 3 athletes I coached since they were 10 and 11 years old, so it really was a proud moment! It was a remarkable achievement by each athlete. To be able to put EPA on the map at a National and ultimately an international level was a very important goal for me to be able to bring belief to our province and show other athletes within our province it is an achievable feat!

What other achievements have some of your athletes accomplished this year?

This year only comprised of the ASA South African Championships and World Junior Championships. Outside of track, we had an athlete win 2 silver medals in the biathle and triathle World Championships in Germany.

Lastly, what are your future plans for the academy ?

I would like to continue developing young athletes into mature athletes, and teach life skills to develop well-rounded individuals. Athletics is not the be all end all, but it can certainly open a lot of opportunities!

 

Photo 1 Caption: Gqeberha born Biokineticist and High Performance Coach, Jessi Kahn, is using her scientific knowledge and skill to get out best from her athletes. Photo: Supplied

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