Avon Athletics Network Basics Day
27 Coaches and 6 athletes took part in the sixth Coach CPD event hosted by the Avon McCain Athletics Network, at the University of Bath on Saturday 2nd April.
Whilst the S&C session was a continuation of two previous workshops, the other three sessions were looking at the Basics of Athletics, and aimed very much at the Beginner coach. Attendees came from four counties (Avon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, and Wiltshire), ten clubs (seven from the Avon Network), and three schools, and ranged in coaching experience from those leading in the Athletics 365 programmes in the junior sections of their clubs to one coaching a GB U20.
The day started with the basics of Discus and Shot, let by experienced local coach, and member of the England Athletics National Coach Development Programme, Ken Holmes, attended by 16 coaches and 5 athletes. In a very practical session, Ken showed the progressions for coaching these two events, starting by using soft and adapted equipment and progression through to the “real thing” whilst constantly emphasising the common foundation movements for the heavy throws. It is to be hoped that some of these coaches will become more involved with these events in the future, an area were coaches are always needed.
The Avon Network was very pleased to welcome England Athletics National Coach Mentor Tony Hadley to deliver the second session on the basics of Speed to 11 coaches and 3 athletes. After an entertaining 30min presentation on the foundations of sprinting (including some visual aids not normally associated with running), the coaches were out for their second practical session of the day on running and foot contact drills, including some suggestions that had the coaches really thinking about WHY they do some drills in their training. And despite his own concerns and enthusiasm, Tony was able to stick to the 90min time slot allocated (well almost)!
The session after lunch was on Dynamic Lifting exercises, focussing on the Power Clean and Power Snatch. Though this followed on from two network S&C events earlier in the year, it was still very suitable for both novice and more experienced coaches, and was again a very practical 90mins. Led by experienced weight lifter and coach Sandra Smith-Vokroj, the 14 coaches and 5 athletes involved benefited hugely from her experience as an international coach and athlete (both in lifting and athletics), as well as her boundless enthusiasm (“Those girls are corking it; come on guys” was often heard) allied to a real emphasis on getting things as correct as possible – “You owe it to your athletes to eliminate their mistakes”. Lots of personal progress was made with many coaches realising that they could demonstrate more than they thought.
Basics of Long and Triple Jump was led by Bristol based coach Paul Weston, also a member of the England Athletics National Coach Development Programme. Though this was the fourth session of the day for some, the 10 coaches and 2 athletes attending still showed commendable energy and enthusiasm for what was again a very practical session, which looked at running drills (reinforcing the work done by Tony Hadley in the morning), how to construct a run up, and more specific jumping activities into the sand pit. As with the Throws session in the morning, Paul was careful to pull out the similarities between the two horizontal jumps to finish off a very full and enjoyable day at Bath.
The Avon Network would like to thank not only the four lead coaches but also all of the participants who took such an active part and helped the day go so well. There is no doubt as to the importance of younger athletes being exposed to all athletic events (Running, Jumping, and Throwing), and not just focussing on one event at an early age, and the idea of a “Basics Day” seemed to hit the needs of many coaches and helped to give them the confidence to deliver across the range of activities.