The emphasis of our coaches is to ensure the sessions retain a friendly, all-inclusive feel, irrespective of ability or event. At a typical session we build team spirit and friendship alongside developing the skills of running, throwing and jumping. Each training session is organised according to ability and the needs of individual athletes. We introduce techniques gradually so the athletes understand the benefits of learning new skills, the importance of warming up, cooling down, stretching, balance and developing core strength. This is achieved through a mix of ‘drills’ (repetitive dynamic exercises that are part of any training or competition session), event-specific exercises and trials. We also have fun competitions, conditioning sessions and group runs.
Sessions are prepared by qualified coaches and, while working towards specific goals (competition or otherwise), are varied to maintain interest and provide challenge.
A U18s track session is divided into two broad groups: sprints (focussing on 100m – 400m events) and endurance (events of 400m+ ). Athletes can switch between groups easily and are encouraged to find which discipline best suits them. All athletes can also participate in a range of field events during the U18s training times or at other event-specific training sessions, including hurdles, steeplechase, discus, shot, javelin, high jump and long jump.
- Sprints: sprinting is seen as running fast but sadly it’s not that easy. We spend our time looking at how to start, from a standing position when they are younger to using blocks when they are over 13. The next phase is accelerating towards top speed and wishing you could keep it going through the finish line. This is where we spend time running relaxed, using our arms. Darren Campbell (Team GB’s new sprint coach) is famous for saying, “You can’t sprint without arms !” We spend plenty of time not running at maximum effort – you cannot run flat out too many times and maintain form.
- Endurance: after group warm up and drills, the athletes are divided into smaller groups for specific training activities, normally based around a cycle of exercises designed to increase competitiveness week-on-week: technique, speed work, endurance, competition and race tactics. Athletes can also join in a weekly group run or cross-country session according to season.