The Governing Bodies for athletics are IAAF (International Amateur Athletic Federation) who’s primary mission is to charitably assist the world governing body for track and field athletics and its affiliated national governing bodies in perpetuating the development and promotion of athletics world-wide. UKA (UK: Athletics) aim is to co-ordinate and support rather than intervene and control and has made all appointments based on competence and skills.AAA (Amateur Athletic Association) who’s mission is to contribute to the sustainable development of athletics by creating the opportunities through the identification, planning and implementation of policies that enhance the value of the service provided to the family of athletics in England.
The AAA and UK Athletics in all areas of the sport provide over eighty per cent of the UK’s international athletes. In my local area I have 3 clubs Harrow AC, Watford Harriers and Hillingdon AC. Harrow AC runs a full programme of training sessions throughout the year with specialist coaches on hand to provide technical advice for specialist events.Harrow AC is also open to all athletes of any ability and caters for all age groups from colts through to vets. They have a variety of teams competing in local, regional and national leagues throughout the winter and summer seasons and have a number of members who have gained international honours.
Watford’s aim is to provide facilities for all ages and all abilities in all disciplines of the sport and has nearly 200 active members ranging in age from 7 to 90. To this end the club is a member of several different leagues and together with its own promotions, county and regional events can cater for all levels of ability.The club also works in partnership with the Leisure and Sports Department of Watford Council in promoting athletics in the Watford area. Hillingdon also cater for all abilities form complete beginners to hardened athletes. Successful development in Athletics is about creating structures and pathways for people to progress from one level to another. They can do this by taking part in school or club athletics and working their way to the top.
The diagram (FIG 1) below shows the different structured pyramids that are available from year’s 8to9 onwards.Some league competitions are available for Under 13’s – that is year 6to7 and under 11’s – that is year 5. (FIG 1) In England the AAA secures a uniform policy for the administration and development of athletics, promotes and develops athletics through a team of full-time development officers, selects representative teams thus providing competitive opportunities for English athletes on a regular basis as well as at the Commonwealth Games and Promotes and organises national championships at Under 17, Under 20, Under 23 and Senior levels.Along with the usual pathways in (FIG 1) in January 2002, three Talent ID Pilot Programmes were established in Sheffield, Loughborough and Crystal Palace.
Over 300 existing athletes between the ages of 14 and 17 years old were invited to undergo a series of tests. A handful of athletes were then selected from their testing performances, to form Academies at each three sites.Since February 2002 athletes have been training at these Academies on a weekly basis, with strength and conditioning and event specific coaches and have been benefiting from a support package that has offered them assistance with all aspects of elite training and education, including physiotherapy, massage and nutrition, psychology, drugs awareness and lifestyle management workshops. The major aims and objectives of the Academies are to provide a support system that nurtures our talented elite juniors and establishes the beginning of a development pathway for them.
This is therefore part of a long-term plan where the key is sustainable long-term results. The true performance indicators of the Talent Identification programme and its Academies will not be seen for a year or two. But in the short term, results from these years English Schools in Nottingham, the AAA later in the season and the progression of athletes from the Talent Academies onto the Potential Programme are a good indicator of how the Academies are progressing in their first year of existence.