Empowering Athletes for a Life Without Limits

Having recently transitioned from goaltending in the top flight of Canadian junior hockey to track and field decathlete, life lately is drastically different for soon-to-be collegiate freshman Christian Francis. With ten completely new events to learn and master, the training process for Christian is yielding huge gains already. Despite never competing seriously in track and field until two years ago and only completing a full decathlon attempt just last year, the Alberta native already holds a personal best of 5,077 points.

“Training is super different, but it’s really fun learning new stuff at a high level. It’s great having coaches that can help bring me up to speed on the events that I need to do. It’s a big transition from one sport to another,” says Francis. “The baseline conditioning is the same, so it makes it easier to go from one sport to the other, but I’m still learning the technical things. I’m definitely behind. It's a fun game of catch-up with other athletes.”

Ten new disciplines and only seven days in a week demands a busy training schedule, but Francis is progressing at a rate of knots. “Right now, I’m on a two-week schedule. Most of it’s the same, but there are a few days that are different. Monday we are always running, Tuesday is either hurdles or high jump, Wednesday is javelin and sometimes another throw, Thursday is long jump and pole vault, Friday is sprinting or long distance, and then Saturdays are our throws,” says Francis. “Then we have weight sessions in the gym that kind of spread throughout the week. We do those about two to three times a week.”

With a strong plan to improve across all events as well as a solid coach in Joanna Cooper and support from his club, the St. Albert Mustangs, Francis has his goals set high for this outdoor season. “The goal score would probably be 6500 points. I’m definitely far off that right now, but it’s a goal that I can reach and so I hope to get it by the time I go to nationals,” says Francis. “Also for javelin, an event that I do separately [from the decathlon], I’d love to break 60 metres.”

With his strongest event being the javelin, Francis is also looking to make gains in all of the running events, which he says are his weakest. “I run like a hockey player,” he says. Running like a hockey player however is becoming a thing of the past, as he’s hung up the pads in exchange for spikes.

“I definitely miss the team part of hockey. Track is still a team thing but it’s not the same. So I do miss that coming over from hockey,” says Francis on the transition to the more individualized sport of track and field. “It's a similar training schedule - just way different training. But I really enjoy it. It’s fun coming over to a new sport later in life.”

With a lot to learn and lofty goals, Francis has taken his new sport in stride and is looking ahead to big PRs and joining some of Canada’s strongest decathletes in the long term.

“Still being super new, I don’t know a ton about track and field and where it can take you. I don’t know much about the pro leagues either. Right now my goal is the Canada Summer Games next year and to finish my time at university doing the heptathlon [indoor] and the decathlon,” he says. “I’d love to go to a high level, but it’s really early right now. It’s definitely something that I’m looking into and learning about.”

On the note of stepping up to the collegiate level, Francis recently signed with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. On choosing USask, he says, “The biggest thing that stood out to me about the University of Saskatchewan and their track program was the head coach. The first time I met [Jason Reindl], he made a lasting impression. Jason and the rest of the coaching staff have so much pride in their team. It gave me a good feeling that I’m going into a healthy environment that breeds success.”

The Huskies compete in the Canada West conference in the country’s top university athletics association, U SPORTS. Francis is excited to join the pack:

“The competition is going to be something totally new to me and I can’t wait for it.”

During his recruiting process, Francis leveraged Streamline Athletes’ Plus membership and one-on-one advising services. On working with Streamline Athletes, he says, “It did everything the name says it does: streamline the process. Everything from the platform that is simple to use and very effective, to Brett - the amazing advisor that I got to work with one-on-one - it all made it possible for me to figure out what my next step was going to be. Without it, I would have been lost trying to figure it out on my own.”

Christian Francis - the hockey goalie turned multi-event track and field athlete - is university-bound. Among the opportunities in athletics and academics, he says he is most looking forward to meeting new people. “Through sports, I’ve met some amazing people and I can’t wait to experience more of that.”

Key to Francis' development has been his pole vault coach, Robyn Webster, who he extends a massive thank-you to as he embarks on the next chapter in his story: "She's the one who came up to me at a school track meet to get me to start with a track club. Since then, she's been my pole vault coach and an amazing mentor for me. I couldn't thank her enough for everything she's done for me."

Francis will be taking part in the Calgary Spring Challenge meet on May 11-12 to try and improve on his strong decathlon PR. Follow along with Christian's progress here.

Get recruited by USask and other college/university track and field programs today

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