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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Matt B squad racking up the sashes

Matt B squad racking up the sashes

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1 Matt B squad racking up the sashes on Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:21 pm


Matt Beckenham is rapidly racking up a pretty impressive pro track record. 43 sashes including 26 in the last 18 months. There's seven open gifts among them.
Break Up:
Open/Men: 24
Women: 12
Novice: 7

With 3 good solid months of competition in Oct-Dec, he should beat last year's total for a calendar year.

2005 (1)
Lauren Boden Queanbeyan 120m Novice

2006 (1)
Brandon Galic Queanbeyan 120m Novice

2007 (7)
Brendan Matthews Queanbeyan 70m Open
Brendan Matthews Temora 120m Novice
Jesse Matthews Lambton 120m Gift
Jesse Matthews Lambton 70m Open
Melissa Breen Queanbeyan 120m Women's Gift
Patrick Elliott Blacktown 120m Novice
Patrick Elliott Blacktown 120m Plate

2008 (8.)
Brandon Galic Narranderra 120m Backmarkers
Brandon Galic Queanbeyan 120m Backmarkers
Brendan Matthews Queanbeyan 120m Gift
Brendan Matthews Temora 120m Gift
Charlie Marques Queanbeyan 120m Novice
Lauren Boden Blacktown 120m Womens Backmarkers
Lauren Boden Queanbeyan 120m Women's Gift
Melissa Breen Queanbeyan 120m Women's Backmarkers

2009 (16)
Brendan Matthews Bendigo (Vic) 70m Open
Julia Nation Canberra 70m Women's Skins
Kevin Matthews Canberra 70m Skins
Lauren Boden Canberra 120m Women's Gift
Luke Storta Queanbeyan 120m Gift
Matt Beckenham Canberra 300m Open
Ramona Casey Garden's Gift 300m Open
Ramona Casey Macksville 120m Women's Gift
Ramona Casey Macksville 70m Women's Skins
Ramona Casey Queanbeyan 70m Open
Stephen Sheppard Northcote (Vic) 70m Open
Stephen Sheppard Queanbeyan 120m Novice
Tom Burbidge Burramine (Vic) 120m Backmarkers
Tom Burbidge Sydney GP RESI 300m Open
Tom Burbidge Temora 120m Gift
Tom Burbidge Temora 70m Open

20010 (10)
Derek Collinge Burramine (Vic) 120m Gift
Grant Billingham Canberra 120m Novice/Vets
Lauren Boden Canberra 120m Women's Gift
Matt Beckenham Ballarat (Vic) 70m Open
Michael Rutter Canberra 70m Skins
Ramona Casey Ararat (Vic) 120m Women's Gift
Ramona Casey Gilgandra 120m Women's Gift
Ramona Casey Gilgandra 70m Women's Skins
Tarin Nevin Dandaloo 300m Open
Tom Burbidge Stawell (Vic) 120m Gift

Details at :

2 Re: Matt B squad racking up the sashes on Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:16 am


A terrific interview by Chris Wainwright with Matt Beckenham on Runners Tribe.

Matt Beckenham: Making His Mark on the International Coaching Scene
posted by rtchris on August 9, 2010,
by Chris Wainwright
Runners Tribe website.

In 2000 Matt Beckenham was representing Australia at the Sydney Olympics in the 400m hurdles. A decade on he will be playing an important role as coach to the likes of Melissa Breen, Lauren Boden and Brendan Cole as they step out onto the track at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games.

We caught up the 34 year-old Beckenham just prior to his trip over to Singapore for the Youth Olympics, where he will be leading some of Australia's top youth track athletes.

Thanks Matt for taking this opportunity to speak with RunnersTribe.

I have been looking back through the results that your squad members have achieved over the past 12 months and at the end of the day you would have to be excited at what you’ve achieved. Firstly, take us through why you set up MattyB's FIT4FUN (in November, 2002)? Secondly, did you always know that coaching was for you after retiring as a successful 400m hurdler (49.47sec PB and 2000 Olympian)?

Matt Beckenham
…..RT thank you for taking the time and showing the interest to interview me. It has been a sensational year for the squad and one I will look back on with very fond memories indeed.

My coaching business now MattyB DEPT. of Athletic Coaching ( was set up whilst I was still running. A couple of parents showed interest in me working with their kids and before I knew it I had a squad of 5 local athletes in 2 different venues. Amazingly, almost 8 years on, 2 of them are still in the squad including the original member Patrick Elliott and also Lauren Boden.

I actually started a Bachelor Applied Science (Sports Coaching) at University but switched to Sports Administration because I figured if I wanted to be a coach I would just do my coaching qualifications and it would help me more to understand the administration side of sport in the long run.

I finished my serious athletic career due to injury in 2004 and by the end of that year I had a squad of approximately 10 athletes in my senior squad and also about 30 junior athletes attending weekly coaching sessions. Whilst the thought of coaching interested me it wasn’t until I really started doing it that I found out how much I love it.

In May this year you took out your fourth Athletics ACT coach of the year in a row, and had all of your elite athletes take home individual awards (Lauren Boden, Melissa Breen and Brendan Cole). Also, you coached Tom Burbidge to the Stawell Gift and your athletes won over $70,000 in prizemoney on the professional gift running circuit (in NSW and Victoria). Do you take the time to step back and look back at what you’ve achieved over the past 12 months? What’s it like to have three athletes competing at the Commonwealth Games and another competing at the World Juniors (Grant Billingham)?

As previously mentioned 2009/10 season was full of many great moments each extremely special in their own right and I think it is important to take some time to reflect and celebrate when things go to plan. For the past 2 years we have commenced the season as a squad at the NSW relay championships and I take great pride in having 2 men’s and 1 women’s team in the 4 x 100m, 4 x 200m and 4 x 400m relays. I am determined to have a men’s squad team break 40 seconds for the 4 x 100m (40.85 is the current squad record so far) and break 3.10 for the 4 x 400m (3.12.44 is the current squad record)

From there the results just continued to flow. Luke Storta won my local Queanbeyan Gift in December and Chloe Jamieson broke national record after national record in late 2009. There were multiple squad winners in various gifts and then the big bang in April with Tom Burbidge winning the Stawell Gift and Melissa, Brendan and Lauren taking out national titles and gaining automatic selection for the Commonwealth Games.

Then we got the exciting news that Grant Billingham was selected for World Juniors after running a huge personal best at the Junior National Championships which was an outstanding reward for his commitment to me by moving to Canberra from Wagga Wagga in January 2010.

The month of May saw another period of great results for the squad. Lauren made a huge step forward in becoming a potential world top 8 athlete with victory and a huge PB (55.25) at the Osaka Grand Prix. Also at that meet Brendan ran a season best of 49.85 which has secured him a berth in the Continental Cup and Melissa got a wonderful opportunity to race Veronica Campbell Brown in the 100m.

Grant’s selection for World Juniors along with the 3 in the Commonwealth Games team brought the squad tally of selection in a national team to 19 from 5 different athletes and this year the squad racked up their 30th national open or junior title from 7 different athletes since 2005. In the professional running side the squad has won 44 sashes from 18 different athletes since 2006 and well over $100,000 in prize money.

What are your expectations of Melissa, Lauren and Brendan in New Delhi? Is it an important stepping stone to a bigger goal of having all three athletes competing for Australia in London in 2012?


The next 3 months is a critical period for all 3 athletes going to Commonwealth Games. Brendan finished 5th in 2006 and despite a wonderful top 16 result at the World Championships last year it really is time for Brendan to show his true potential. At 29 he has about 3 good years left and despite the fact that his PB was 50.9 when I started with him in February 2005 and he is now ranked number 7 all time at 49.35 I will honestly feel like Brendan has not reached his true potential if he doesn’t break into the 48 second range before hanging up the spikes. It has been a real “awakening” period since nationals in April which included some real soul searching and honest appraisal of what he could improve to give himself the best chance to reach his potential. He is now the most committed and determined ever and I am very proud of the changes he has made and that is why Osaka’s result was so pleasing.

Lauren could medal in Delhi. It is going to be an unknown until we know exactly who is competing but as her coach I will be looking for her to continue this current wave of form and go into the games without any limits on what time she could run. One thing she has is great belief and confidence as a result of recent performances and this is a real weapon for any athlete. It has been a long term approach with Lauren which is now 7 years along the path and 2010, at the age of 21-22, was always the year when we planned to put the name Lauren Boden on the world scale.

Melissa Breen faces the very difficult task of racing some very fast Women. With 6 of the 8 from the World Championship final from Commonwealth countries there is no denying the strength of sprints. Whilst it is possible that Shelly Ann Fraser or Veronica Campbell Brown may not turn up the reality is Jamaica could field their number 3rd, 4th and 5th runners and we would still see a sub 11 result. Throw in the Bahamas, England and several others countries and you are looking at a time of 11.20ish to make the final in Delhi. Having said all that Melissa is an extremely talented athlete with huge future potential and I do believe that she can run under 11.30 in the short term in India.

Based on the experience of last year (not running village entry and being sent home) it is quite obviously a significant event for Melissa this year. She has responded with maturity and applied herself with great professionalism to become a better athlete and her consistency throughout the domestic season and in Japan was a testament to this.

With less than 2 years until London the games in India will be a vital stepping stone and I am determined to ensure they perform well and come away with a positive experience.

Many people don’t understand just how difficult it is to become a successful coach, with limited financial support. How have you found the support network in Australia for track and field coaches and how do you survive financially (I’m sure the Stawell Gift win helped!!)?

I was lucky enough to be very well supported through my development years. I worked as AIS scholarship coach for 2 years which paid me a full time salary and gave me a wonderful opportunity that I tried to maximize as much as I could. During that time I completed my Masters in Applied Science (Sports Coaching) and spent some time with a variety of elite coaches learning all that I could.

Unfortunately since 2006 for many possible reasons there has not been an opportunity for me to work at the AIS as a full time coach. Looking back I think I was spoilt in the beginning and now I have a taste for the support that some of our full time coaches and also the athletes that work with those coaches get and hope that my continued success in my private coaching may lead to employment again in the future. To be honest this issue is one that has given me quite a bit of stress in the past. I struggled to understand why walls were put up to prevent my ongoing development or direct involvement in the system. I started to get very bitter because I thought I could have a positive impact on the national program with new enthusiasm and ideas but I now simply accept that I must just worry about things I can control.

Consequently I believe I have turned this situation into a positive and I am proud of my business and the results I am getting working as a private coach.

I had a 10 hour per week role as program coordinator at ACTAS (ACT Academy of Sport) but despite this program performing way above its weight the track and field program ceased and that meant no further role for MattyB. I also spent 12 months as a post grad scholar in Biomechanics and in the past 6 months I have had a role within the Greater 400m Hurdles centre which shows some promise but the role is still being developed.

I think the perception for some people may be that I am AIS coach but the reality is I am a private coach in Canberra. There is actually a very strong contingent of athletes in Canberra with most athletes, besides the well performed walkers and AWD, NOT being AIS at all.

To answer your question on surviving as a professional coach I charge my athletes between $150-$300 per month in coaching fees plus a percentage of prize money. Do I think it is unfair that my top athletes pay me $3000+ per year compared to other athletes in Canberra on AIS scholarship who receive well over $20000 a year in support? Definitely!

As a former AIS scholarship athlete I know the wonderful support you receive and still think it is something that many athletes outside of Canberra don’t fully understand but this then makes it difficult to swallow when I know that there are athletes I work with who are forced to choose between an AIS scholarship or keeping me as their coach. Thankfully all have stayed in their current successful situation except for one athlete (Brittney McGlone) who took up an AIS scholarship and left the squad after returning with bronze from the 2008 World Junior Championships.
Currently I am also looking at running some junior coaching clinics (MattyB’s FIT4FUN) within the ACT.

I presented the concept at a recent ACT Little Athletics AGM and the feedback was quite positive. I have put 7 of my senior athletes through a coaching course so that they can run the sessions and earn some money to help them cover some of their expenses. I will act in a mentor role and try and offer local little athletics clubs with a mechanism for retention of athletes and also provide a coach development and training service.


Very interesting and shows the struggles a coach has trying to survive without much support. Matt survives on coaching fees and a percentage of pro-running prizemoney.

While he is a lot younger than me, I have certainly watched the 'Beckenham juggernaut' with interest and learned quite a lot from him, particularly last season. Not so much in training methods, as I don't know a lot about what Matt does, but in terms of structure and organisation, Matt has taken track coaching to another level and for those of us trying to compete with him, he certainly ensures one can't be complacent.

Great to see Matt also has a grateful squad of athletes that appreciates the efforts and sacrifices he makes and are prepared to pay for the privelege, including a % of pro-running prizemoney.

Some of the ungrateful & unappreciative athletes I've encountered might just want to take stock about the 'costs' involved in coaching before they sit around & whinge about the coach's pro-running focus. Just maybe the % of prizemoney might be the difference between the coach being in the sport or choosing to pursue something else.

Last edited by youngy on Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:55 pm; edited 1 time in total

"Let's Go While We're Young"



Matt Beckenham: Interview Part II
posted by rtchris on August 17, 2010, 5:15am
by Chris Wainwright

Matt Beckenham - Making His Mark on the International Coaching Scene (Part 2)

**Editor: Please note the following interview was conducted on the 1st August, and was broken down into two parts due to the length of the interview**.


You’ve set up your own website and continuously promote your athletes through media releases etc. Do you find it hard to promote your own athletes in a sport that is up against the other sports in Australia such as AFL and Rugby League? How do you keep your athletes on the path to Olympic glory in such a difficult sport?

Matt Beckenham
Promotion of athletics in Australia is extremely tough but every little bit helps. My website is designed to promote athletes, give an insight into our squad and recognize and thank our sponsors.

Reality is you need to produce consistently high class results to deserve recognition, promotion and subsequent sponsorship. I do believe that we have a niche that has some real marketing potential though and I am determined to try and assist the athletes to try and maximize their worth when the opportunity arises.

The squad is lucky to receive local support from Affinity Constructions and Point Project management. Oakley also provides some of the MattyB DEPT. ambassadors with some product and ClubLime is our squad venue for gym, yoga and pool sessions.
Within the squad some athletes receive some fantastic support from product sponsors including:

* Mizuno – Lauren Boden and Tom Burbidge
* Asics – Melissa Breen and Brendan Cole
* 2XU – Brendan Cole

Thanks also goes to Tudor Bidder (AIS track and Field), Athletics Australia and ACTAS for the support provided to Brendan, Melissa and Lauren through their ACTAS scholarships and the recently developed “Canberra agreement” that is now recognizing that there are quite a few non AIS athletes in Canberra that are deserving of some support through access to services like sports science/ medicine etc. Whilst it is not as good as an AIS scholarship it is a nice recognition and support service for their performance.

I would also like to mention that Melissa Breen has set up a great facebook fan page which keeps fans up to date with her journey. She has over 450 fans at present and I think when she appears in the October edition of Alpha magazine these numbers may increase even further.

In the world of coaching many would see a 34 year-old coach as being extremely young. Who has guided you over the last 7 years in the coaching hot seat? Do you have a specific mentor that you bounce ideas off?

Happy to still be called young thank you but in reality I have been involved in the sport for over 25 years already as an athlete and now coach so I guess I have developed some experience in that time.
I have worked hard to learn as much as I can from people which I feel is a vital element of ongoing coach development. I also wanted to become one of the most qualified coaches in the country from an education perspective and I am happy to have completed my Level 5 IAAF Coaching Diploma in Sprints and Hurdles (Distinction) to compliment for Bachelor Applied Science (Sports Administration), Masters Applied Science (Sports Coaching), Certificate 3 Personal Fitness, Level 1 Strength and Conditioning and Level 4 Coaching Young Athlete qualification. I have also lectured at sprints, hurdles coaching courses for the IAAF and believe this is a wonderful method of ongoing development as a coach and have made wonderful contacts through this work.

Despite having completed my university studies I don’t believe I am much of a reader. I have justified this with the following theory

“If I spend the time thinking about my programs and design them from scratch based on ideas that I make up this is better than just using someone else’s ideas and trying to apply them to my athletes and environment.”

I much prefer to spend 3 hours out at the track experimenting with drills, activities and trying to feel how they may impart a positive change to a certain skill aspect of one of my athletes.

I love coaching, much more than being an athlete, and the challenge and responsibility of crafting a coaching plan that has elements of short term and long term focus. You are constantly mixing up the environment to allow the athlete to develop and grow. I welcome the increased feedback and response from my athletes to be about to make subtle adjustments to specific sessions or blocks to ensure we are always maximizing each moment.

Sometimes I may be perceived as too relaxed or not technical enough but there is a time and a place for everything. You need to crack the whip at times and be thorough with technical instruction but you still need to allow the “person” to develop and I believe it is absolutely critical for them to progressively take more and more ownership of their training. They need to understand, feel and think for the best results.

I have had quite a few mentors in various roles in my coaching and I am very thankful to all of them. Paul Hallam, Scott Goodman, Craig Hilliard, Brian Roe, Adam Larcom, David Tarbotton and Eric Hollingsworth have been there for me during my first 7 years and I love being able to pick up the phone and talk about sessions and gather ideas from Paul in particular.

I do believe it is important to try and use every situation and relationship as a positive one even if it may actually be non supportive in nature. Just like an athlete it is sometimes in the tough moments that we really discover from within what is important and find new mechanisms or sources of motivation that lead to even better performance.

With so many athletes within your squad how do you ensure that all of your squad members receive the best 1-on-1 coaching? Do you have a squad of coaches that assist in everyday training? Do you tend to spend the majority of your time with your elite athletes such as Melissa, Lauren and Brendan?


This is a very difficult issue for me having a large squad. I could simply write that I give everyone the same support but this would be a lie. The reality is I am attracted to commitment, professionalism and determination traits in athletes. If an athlete is not fully committed then my attitude or performance to them will reflect that. If another athlete is doing everything to be their best (no matter what performance level they may be at) then I will do everything I can to try and help them reach their potential.

With a squad I don’t think I can use my time any other way. So if you think you have the right tools and like my coaching philosophy then feel free to contact me.

What keeps you passionate about the sport of track and field? Is it the excitement of knowing that one day you could unearth a World or Olympic champion? Is that the ultimate dream of coaches of track and field around the world?


Passion comes from within. New ideas or seeing athletes make technical improvements also gives me a real buzz but my greatest passion comes from the honour of working with talented, motivated and passionate athletes. You may be having a bad day but when you rock up to the track it is all about giving yourself completely to the athlete and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Reality is most athletes you work with will not be a world champion so whilst it may be a dream of many coaches it is not my main passion for coaching. My philosophy for coaching is “To help develop people by fostering life skills, providing guidance and technical expertise that will self empower and lead to individual goal based excellence in attitude and performance”

Behind the science of coaching and having the knowledge and ability to apply principles and training models is the critical element of people management which I believe is vital to the success of the coach athlete relationship. Without understanding, support, trust and loyalty with anything in life you are going to struggle to get the best out of a situation and that is why I believe the art of coaching which involves building the person and allowing them to craft their own goals and inspiration is so critical to the success of a coach.

If you can finish your career knowing you have made better people and had a positive impact on their life then it doesn’t matter if they are world champion.

The day I start looking for things to keep me passionate about the sport is probably the day I should think about giving up the coaching game.

Do you believe that you’re in for the long haul as a top line coach in the world of track and field? You have already had a fantastic start to your coaching career, what would be the perfect finish to your career? How would feel seeing one of your athletes with a gold medal hanging around their neck from an Olympic Games?

I hope I am in for the long haul because I really feel I am doing something I love which is important. I can’t think of doing anything else but heading to the track or gym 6 days a week.

Reality is though I don’t have great security as a private coach and could lose athletes on any day and if I was to lose 5 or so in a short period then I would be in real financial trouble. Whilst I am comfortable now and have a great squad I am conscious that I need to stay ahead of the game and try and have some contingencies in place.

As for seeing one of my athletes with a gold medal around my neck I simply can’t imagine how that would feel but I know it will just be the icing on the top of what must have been an amazing journey that I will be so proud to have shared and impacted in some small way for that athlete and hopefully it will be with multiple athletes.

{end of interview}

We wish Matt and all of his athletes the very best success at the upcoming Continental Cup in Croatia and the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October.

“Matt wishes to thank both the AIS and Athletics Australia for their improved levels of support over the past year which has been in line with the improved results of athletes In his current squad – including Melissa Breen and Lauren Boden”.

"Let's Go While We're Young"

4 Re: Matt B squad racking up the sashes on Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:24 pm


Reading this no wonder mattyb now dominates pro running. hard to compete with a super qualified full time coach and his support set up. most of our trainers are light years behind mattyb. good on him sets the bar high for everyone else.

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