Any athletics coach can see when their charge is running well.
Sally Pearson’s new coach can hear it too.
The Olympic 100m hurdles champion shocked the Australian track and field scene last month when she split with Sharon Hannan, ending a hugely successful 14-year partnership.
Pearson briefly toyed with the idea of moving interstate or overseas, but her clear preference was to remain on the Gold Coast.
That led her to longtime training partner Antony Drinkwater-Newman, a friend of Pearson and her husband Kieran from their days at Helensvale High School.
As a national level hurdler himself, Drinkwater-Newman brings a different perspective to coaching one of the best-known athletes on the planet.
“Some coaches believe you can’t be a training partner because they have to have their eyes on you the whole time but at the end of the day I’ve been doing this for a very long time,” Pearson said on Thursday at the launch of her book Sally Pearson – Believe.
“I’ve got a really good feel of my body and what I do and technique-wise.
“We’re not even starting any technique work for a little while anyway.
“When that does happen he will have to step back out from that role a little more and be more of an eyes-on coach.
“When we were training the other day he was doing 400m reps and he said `your rhythm in that one was so much better, with your running, I can hear your steps’.
“It’s really encouraging to know he has that good ear for the sport.”
Under Hannan’s watch, Pearson won every major title on offer, with their last major meet together producing a silver medal behind flying American Brianna Rollins at the world championships in Moscow in August.
Understandably, Drinkwater-Newman doesn’t intend to make wholesale alterations to her training program.
“Sally has got a winning formula and we’ll be sticking to that, we won’t be changing too much,” he said.
“The biggest thing for me is enjoying it and making sure Sally enjoys it.
“If we both stick to that then that is where the success will come from.”
Pearson can already feel the difference.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of coaches over the years and it’s always refreshing to hear about different approaches to training,” she said.
“Not that I ever questioned Sharon’s motives, but you always like to ask questions and find out different perspectives on things.
“I came to realise that after 14 years maybe it was time for a fresh approach.
“I am absolutely loving what I’m doing, not thinking about it as a chore or work.
“I just love to get up in the morning.
“And he’s my training partner at the moment, so whatever he puts down on paper he has to do it as well.”