Tried and Trusted wrote:
High hopes wrote:
That's incorrect. The big issues on her desk were nothing to do with "woke" politics or whatever meaningless term you want to use. The big issues were straightforward athletics stuff. Mainly, declining audience, lack of TV deal (lost a £2.3m deal from BBC), lack of talent due to declining interest and competition from other sports, inefficient coaching system, and a grass roots structure that is focussed on participation rather than finding elite talent.
As you can see, it's a long list. Her problem, and Stymigton's is that their background is in sports that are heavily centralised (netball and cycling). You can change things easily in a top-down way. Athletics isn't like that. For good or bad, there's a regional and club structure which operates with a lot of autonomy. Anyone looking to reform, needs to know how athletics functions in the UK.
That "inefficient coaching" and "grass roots structure that is focused on participation rather than finding elite talent" is what produced Laura Muir, Jemima Reekie, Josh Kerr and Keeley Hodgkinson.
Anyone making these remarks clearly doesnt understand the structure of the sport here. British and Scottish athletes thrive on dedicated but low pressure training which only ramps up in volume once the speed endurance base is there.
Pressurising juniors is rarely successful. Junior athletes do simply need to participate and learn to enjoy the sport and then train harder as seniors. Some mature quicker than others.
British athletics is based around volunteers giving their time and expertise often free of charge due to their enjoyment of the sport. Athletes race against the elite or up and coming elite in mass cross country events organised by club volunteers in winter. Lose that, and you lose the whole base holding the sport together.
The coaching available at club level is fantastic and often at free or minimal cost, which by its nature is highly inclusive. A lot of these clubs have nurtured Olympic medallists but the same coaches are still there passing on their knowledge and enthusiasm to youngsters just starting out in the sport.
Who said anything about pressuring juniors? My point about the club structure is that it's too reliant on volunteers. There's no talent identification system at all. Mick Woods was asked about it and he said it was all on his own initiative to drive around schools XC competitions. Compare to the professional talent ID systems that football clubs employ. Obviously, athletics has less money but most clubs aren't doing anything, they're waiting for young people to self-select. So much talent is likely slipping through the net.
When I talked about the emphasis on participation at clubs, I was referring to the senior runners. England Athletics spends so much time and so many resources trying to ensure that we are "inclusive" to slow runners. Our club has had one visit from EA in the last 5 years and all they wanted to talk about was our policy on inclusive running, not a word on coaching or development for the more serious runners. They certainly didn't want to talk about facilities. .
Athletics remains an amateur sport with an amateur set-up.