BUILDING AN ATHLETICS CULTURE AT SCHOOL, CLUB AND PROVINCIAL LEVEL
In order to build an athletics culture in a club, school or any other organisation as quickly and strongly as possible it is important that the following requirements are prioritorised in the following developmental sequence:
• The appointment of a committed coach or establishment of coaching structures
• Ensuring transportation of athletes to races
• The provision of running shoes
These are the absolute essentials of any school, club, provincial or national programme and while such support services as physiotherapy, massage, bio-kinetic analysis and programmes, gym programmes, and nutritional and sports psychological support are important for the optimisation of performance at elite level, if the four requirements listed above (particularly the first three) are absent, the programme is bound to fail.
The Lydiard Athletics Club and this website (named in honour of the most influential coach in history) has been established in the belief that the coach is the most important person in the sport, because it is she or he who is responsible for emergence and support of the component without which there can be no athletics – athletes. Without coaches one cannot have a successful athletics programme or sport and, even without transport to events and running shoes, important advances can be made in building a successful athletics culture because a resourceful and hard working coach can arrange internal events such as sports meetings and relays within a club or school.
The next step in the developmental sequencing of a successful athletics programme is the provision of transport to school or inter-club and provincial meets, because this vital to maintaining the motivation of athletes and ensuring that they are exposed to competition opportunities for them to explore and develop their talent. In a club exclusively or predominantly comprised of athletes from underprivileged backgrounds, without access to private transport, ensuring that they can get to events is a crucial aspect of assistance that the school, club, or province can provide to them.
Finally, running shoes are required as soon as the athlete starts training regularly because at medium to high training loads a lack of proper running shoes is likely to lead to injury. Running spikes are important to optimise performance on the track when the athlete approaches or reaches provincial standard. While less physically and tangibly obviously necessary, kit is important to build a sense of pride and belonging of athletes in their club, school or province.