The best of the best young athletes are brought together for the first time.
Sunday 20th December 2016
The Leicestershire primary schools league is the biggest in the UK and over the weekend the Leicestershire Network, the organisers of the events, took the progression a further step by inviting the top 30 in each year 5/6 age group to a squad day where, for the first time, they could be given a chance to meet and train with each other. With around 80 taking up the opportunity, the morning was certainly a very vibrant and enjoyable one. Topics covered were the importance of preparing for running by doing drills and the importance of doing these correctly; something that many had not been exposed to before. With storm Angus forecast to be hitting the area during the planned session there was some concern about how running could be fitted in. However, the storm took a turn west and despite a bitter wind a really interesting training session took place on the local Ratcliffe College track with drills and a track session led by coaches from three different clubs across the county. Coaches were aided by a number of “Elite leaders” who were all previously outstanding athletes at primary level , demonstrating the collaborative work being done under the Network banner.
With conditions deteriorating, the warm down and stretches were completed indoors and were followed by a talk on preparation for racing and nutrition. The highlight for many of those attending were the appearance of European silver medalist Kate Avery, GB 1500m runner Cameron Boyeck and England International Sam Stabler who had all travelled over from the Loughborough High performance Centre to share their experiences and to highlight the commitment needed to be the best; not just as a runner, but in any sport.
John Skevington, who coordinated the event commented “ Bringing the best runners from our league together has long been an ambition as it will not only help to raise standards further but will also, probably most importantly, give us the opportunity to track progress and keep parents informed of opportunities. The drop off when these talented young athletes move to secondary school level is quite marked and there are plans to channel much of our energies during the summer months of 2017 to prepare those due to move up.” He continued “ The investment both in time and financial terms has been quite substantial for the Network, however we are determined that this will be the first of regular sessions where we can guide the young athletes unearthed at the schools league to truly become the FUTURE OF THE SPORT!
The next session is pencilled in for early spring for those who will be taking part in the County and National final year 5/6/7 which will be staged in March 2017.
Some comments from attendees:
“…my son really enjoyed it and learnt a lot. I think the importance of warming up properly and also the nutritional elements, really hit home – he was checking the nutritional information on the cereal box this morning!”
“…had a fantastic time, in spite of initially being nervous about attending. When I asked him what the best bits were he said, “All of it – especially the running!”, so I think that is great feedback. I found the experiences shared by the young athletes to be very inspirational.”
“Just a short note to say how much Oliver enjoyed the squad training day today. Thank you to you and your team for putting on such a fun day, giving the youngsters such an amazing experience.”