Chair’s Blog 20th June 2012
At a more grass roots level I have visited a number of Schools meetings in the last few days – three County Schools Championships, a regional Schools Cup final and the Independent Prep Schools meeting at the Thames Valley Centre.
My over-riding impressions were how long I have known most of the officials at these meetings and how most of the meetings would benefit from a re-think on communication – ie more announcements, team scores where appropriate etc. By their nature Championships tend to be long meetings – everyone wants the chance to compete and progress – and by the time the finals arrive most people have gone home. So, good announcers can make a great difference.
On officials we all know what a cracking job they do, generally for no pay or expenses whatsoever. But we need more of them. It is said that many are just waiting for the Olympics and Paralympics before they retire. I hope not. Most of them were athletes in their day and do it for the love of the sport and to give today’s athletes the opportunity they had. So I expect to see the same folk turning up next years as well.
But the sport takes officials too much for granted in my view. I cannot remember any proper programmes to recruit new officials. We need this to be taken seriously and soon. Incidentally in a weak moment I volunteered to help the officials at the London Schools at Mile End. I now realise what you should try to avoid as a volunteer. I raked the Long Jump pit and carried the javelins back from where they landed. That does not sound too bad until you add up the number of attempts, probably 70 plus in each event. Don’t want to sound ungrateful but I think the experienced officials (all of them) saw me coming.
Clubs should by now have some idea of how they are going to operate during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We have lined up loads of courses to allow clubs to increase their base level coaching and leader numbers and we should have a few more to announce imminently to fill some geographic gaps.
London has also been chosen to test a new younger Athletics Leader course. These courses will be available to 14 year-olds rather than the current minimum age of 16. Details will follow but the courses will start after the Games.
Finishing on schools, when London Council consulted with London clubs as part of the current 2013-17 strategy process the biggest message was that the clubs want more effort put into contact with schools going forward. We are in the process of pulling together people who want to talk about this in more detail. If you are interested contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow @londonathletics