In addition to the more endurance-based coaching offered at the club, we also operate a sprints group as a progression for athletes that have developed a broad athletic “literacy” through multi-sport and multi-event training and are now ready to focus on this specific discipline. Space in this group is limited and, depending on demand, a waiting list may be necessary and certain criteria are in place to ensure fairness.
Purpose: In line with UK Athletics Athlete Development Model, we offer an “Event Group” level training group focused on Sprints. By introducing more specific and technical coaching we aim to improve technique and understanding of the discipline of sprinting to develop the long-term potential of the athlete. We use objective performance measures such as PBs and finishing position in races etc (ie results in officially recognised track competitions) as one of the key inputs into the progress and development of the athlete in this regard.
Frequency: The Sprints group currently meets once a week on Tuesdays from 5.30pm – 6.45pm throughout the year.
Criteria for inclusion in the sprints group:
1. Space and coach availability: According to current COVID criteria, we are limited to 10 athletes per group training session. We only have one specialist sprints coach at the moment. While not every athlete can possibly attend every session throughout the year, we do not want to “over-book” by having a sprints group with more members than we have current capacity at training sessions. Therefore, current limit on the training group is 10. As guidelines change, it may, in principle, be possible to lift this limit. However, in practice, in the interest of ensuring a manageable group size and maintaining quality, we would need to increase coaching capacity for it to change substantially.
2. Age: Date-of-birth is just one age-criteria that will be considered. Training age (number of years of athletics training) and stage of development (physical and emotional development) are also important factors. However, the minimum chronological age for the Sprints group will be 12. Assessment of the development age and training age of an athlete is more subjective but is nonetheless a more important measure than chronological age.
3. Commitment: As space is limited and coaching becomes more technical, commitment from athletes needs to match the commitment from the club and coaches. Commitment is a subjective measure but includes: regular attendance at training; effort, focus and attention during sessions; additional training outwith coached sessions; etc
4. Competition: measuring progress of an athlete’s performance can only be done by taking part in competition. Therefore, it is expected that all athletes in the sprints group will regularly compete in outdoor and indoor track competition throughout the year.
Ongoing monitoring of group membership: It is important that all athletes are aware of the criteria and demonstrate an ongoing commitment to meeting them. This is particularly the case now that we are at, or close to, our maximum capacity and we have an increase in interest among new athletes to join this group. It is recognised that not all athletes will be able to meet all the criteria all the time due to short term issues (e.g. other commitments, injury, physical and mental health challenges, holidays and other external pressures etc) and leeway for these will of course be considered. However, where the criteria are not met on an ongoing basis, an honest and open discussion about their suitability for this group will need to be had with the coach not least in order to be fair to others who may want to join the group.