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Collins goes

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posted Sep 1, 2008

I don't know enough about Charles van Commenee to vote for or against him..
But I do know that Keith Connor fits the bill perfectly and should be given serious consideration.

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posted Sep 1, 2008

The problem is that appointing a new performance director isn't going to dramatically increase participation in athletics across the UK, nor will it really do anything to improve the training and development of those athletes we already have, experienced in the sport or otherwise. Three to four years simply isn't long enough to bring about big improvements in the two areas that need improving; participation coaching.

Firstly, we don't have a structure that is conducive to getting as many kids involved as possible and as early as possible, nor is it effective in filtering out as many potential world class athletes from that pool of youngsters as we can. Kids need to be able to take part in athletics for free outside of school and be encouraged to do so, neither of which really happen at the moment.

Secondly, the way we coach the sport needs an overhaul - at the moment the best coaching (and thus a large chunk of funding) goes to coaching individual or small groups of elite UK athletes, whilst the lesser groups don't get the top coaches. Also, there is not nearly enough training of new coaches - something that would broaden the scope of athletics development in this country. As it is now we have a bottleneck of the lucky few top athletes who get the best training whilst less the less developed suffer. More committed training of coaches would help to remedy this and as a result give us better athletes and more strength in depth which is ultimately what is badly needed. Let's hope whoever replaces Collins will be able to make these kind of radical changes.

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posted Sep 1, 2008

Whilst Charles Van Commonee has a good pedigree, does he have sufficient knowledge throughout all discplines within athletics? Perhaps it is wrong to appoint one 'supremo' when you compare the difference in sprints, to throws, to distance running.

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posted Sep 1, 2008

But does he, though?

Being a top multi events coach for two women is not necessarily any proof of the ability to oversee all other events male and female? Is it any proof of an expert ability to understand and to communicate effectively across all disciplines and inspirationally with the specialist coaches involved. Does it necessarily guarantee an ability to organise and manage all across the elite end of the sport? Does it mean an expert ability to lead and to command respect?

It may well do in CVC's case and most certainly he will do a far better job than Collins. But there is no guarantee.

Two small points:

Is there not a legal obligation to have advertised the post as it is a publicly funded one?

Are we still lumbered with the Directors of Speed and Endurance? If we are then I cannot see any new PD make much difference!

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comment by MickS (U2752894)

posted Sep 1, 2008

@runnerbean:

The answer is that its about the approach and framework that they are working in rather than the event coaching.

This smacks of Collins being made a scapegoat though. One thing that needs to be looked at is the athletes themselves and their responsibilities. One of the things that Cycling did was concentrate on those people that had the mental toughness to be winners. Others, despite having talent, didn't make it onto the programme because they didn't have the determination to win. This is a very un-british thing to do.

Looking at the performances in Athletics, and to some extent swimming, there was praise for PBs and UK records. The fact that these were way off the pace didn't matter. It shouldn't be good enough to set a PB or a UK record if it doesn't result in a challenge for a medal.

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posted Sep 1, 2008

The athletes underperformed at the olympics espically the track stars taking into account the track was fast and help set new 100 and 200m records.
Example that comes to my mind is kelly sotherton who ran i think 23.39 or somewhere around there and then she talked in post interview saying she was running under 23 seconds, if she does not run under 23 seconds on a olympic stage on a fast track she prob never will.

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posted Sep 1, 2008

He can bring that Athletic success he developed for Holland at the last Olympics.

Whacking or even patting Collins on the head for the performance or lack of performance of your Athletes is the first problem in accountability.

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comment by Felipe (U9750033)

posted Sep 1, 2008

Did they pass the 'Fit to be an owner of a Footie Club test then??????

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comment by Morad (U1666035)

posted Sep 1, 2008

In my opinion, becuase of the damage done in UKa ! and by the way collins is not the only pesrson responsable for the demise of British Athletics, he himself took his position from a governing body that was suffering from lack of directions and goosd results ...therefore I think UKa needs to employ 2 directors, this is because there is a lot of work to be done and not enough time left for results specially for London 2012.
One director can't really be expected to lead a broken governing body. Other positions within UKa are not needed really, and the funds and costs should be located to the two PM.

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posted Sep 1, 2008

where does all the money go, head office takes three million ponds in wages a year for ninty peoplewhat do they do?how much and where is the sponsors money going to like norwich union,mcains,and the others,on dave collins he made a vendetta against duane chambers, instead of concentrating on his job,he got to big for his boots.how about getting daley and steve ovett on board.

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posted Sep 1, 2008

Wow...you lot go right 'off topic' ! what is the question by the fabulous thrower mikewinch?

What should be CVC's priorities?

How do we get into schools and spot talent?

How do we ensure top coaching?

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posted Sep 1, 2008

I am no expert in athletics coaching but would ask if there are no British coacher capable of taking our athletes forward in their preparation for 2012. Are foreign coaches the answer? I mean no disrespect to CVC but we have tried the foreign approach in other sports and it has not worked. England appointed a foreign football manager and did not really improve their world standing. we in Scotland went for Bertie Volkes and it eas a complete disaster.
Sometimes British coaches/managers are better accostomed to out mentality and tend to improve performances. Just a thought.

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posted Sep 1, 2008

Unfortunately it doesn't matter who is in charge it is very likely that as usual when a british problem occurs are very british answer is found. How do you ensure top coaching?? stop assuming that british coaches and/or coaching methods are the best. If you assume that the talent exists (or existed) you can not assume that some sort of new adminastrative system is going to right all the wrongs. If you wanted to be hard nosed about it you could say that if MLF and Christian Malcolm were so good as U20/U23 their failure to progress is down to the coaching system and their coaches. Why have UK NEVER had a competitive athlete in Discus, Pole Vault & Hammer and Javelin is very thin on the ground. Our European neighbours continue to produce in this area but would UKA ever dream of finding out what their doing right and we're doing wrong - well no. We will always find a very british answer for a very british problem after all we know best. There is nothing Johnny Foreigner can teach us.

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posted Sep 1, 2008

Will whoever takes over actually be allowed to make the root and branch changes that are required. Sadly I suspect not as those decisions are taken at a higher level because there's money involved, and it'll need those people to actually admit they screwed up in the first place.

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posted Sep 1, 2008

I disagree with the Discuss and Shot throwers.

We have had competitiors but it is just not as glamorous. Show it more on TV and the sport will grow. We currently have |Carl Myerscough (I know, banned from the Olympics) Simon Williams was excellent but where did he dissapear to? Mike Winch was brilliant for his size and going back a bit, Geoff Capes was not bad ! ! !

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posted Sep 1, 2008

bravehoward you only have to look at the UK All time list to know that the performances in these disciplines are sadly way below those of our european counterparts. The problems is that at a WORLD level the Americans/Caribeans basically have the 100-400 sewn-up and the africans 800 upwards and it is very hard to break into; however in the field events throwers and pole vault e.g. there is a huge representation from numerous european countries in the Worlds Best including MULTI-representation from various countries. If the talent is not there because the events are not 'glamourous' enough then why do other countries have these competitors. These are issues that should be resolved. Be not afraid to put your hand up and say "we are to blame". Unfortunately it won't happen

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posted Sep 1, 2008

i think when we had a target of 5 medals we were always going to be slacking!
One thing we can do is have sprint centres/ academies in America and long distance running centres in places like africa. A bit like what tennis stars do, go train in different countries and become top stars

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posted Sep 1, 2008

I think the timing is poor. UKA is also responsible for the performance of our disabled track and field competitors in Beijing. They have their biggest event starting next week! I think it shows how little interest UKA really have in Paralympic sport.

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posted Sep 1, 2008

Somebody needs to have the cojones to look at the current situation and say that London 2012 will be what it will be and that T&F are at least 2 Olympic cycles away from being where they want/should be.
British Cycling have been aiming at 2012 since 2002 when they wrote out their 10 year plan! It just so happens that they have hit their targets one Olympic cycle earlier than expected.
We now have only 47 months till 2012 and the governing body is currently without a leader. Time is ticking....
Personally we should concentrate on those athletes that are in with a chance of a medal in 2012 first and then put in the structure that allows the feeding of talent so that by 2016 and 2020 GB are world beaters. Just for once, can someone in UK Athletics be bold enough to realise that quick fixes in this day and age of instant media just simply doesn't cut it?
if that means we send a tiny squad to London so be it, but I'd rather see a tiny squad go and get medals than send a large squad, most of whom won't even qualify for their finals?

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posted Sep 1, 2008

You can employ coaches and trainers and nutritionists and psychiatrists and motivators and nannies and God knows who else, but until you can get talented athletes off their fat, lazy backsides you can whistle for success in athletics in 2012.

Listen to the post-failure interviews and you will hear the same hollow excuses that have echoed down the last fifteen years: 'I had a little twinge/niggle/snuffle/touch of flu/stomach upset,' or: 'Just back from long injury layoff.' My favourite is: 'I can take a lot away from this, because I'm still learning the event.' Yeah, you're twenty-nine years old and you've just been thrashed by five people under the age of twenty-three!

Today's track and field athletes wouldn't know hard work if it jumped up and bit them. Six years ago, to celebrate my fifty-fifth birthday, I went to Club La Santa in Lanzarote for three weeks warm weather triathlon training and FOR THE SHEER FUN OF HARD WORK: something which appears to be completely foreign to British youngsters in athletics today.

As well as athletes from all over Europe, there were a number of well known, lottery-funded Britons whose names I won't mention to spare their blushes. The only time I saw them training constructively was in the presence of their (overpaid, underperforming) coaches. They would do their prescribed 15 minutes or half hour CV work, which comprised 50% effort, 50% 'stretching, warming up, cooling down,' after which the coach would leave and the athletes would revert to whatever they had been doing beforehand: painting nails, braiding hair and 'chillin' to borrow from their parlance: They would faint dead away at the thought of training the way Coe, Ovett, Cram and Thompson used to.

All the while, athletes from other countries were working flat out, flopping to the ground to recover briefly, then working flat out again, whether their coaches were present or not - and clearly enjoying it, which the Brits were not!

There were daily circuit training sessions to which some went reluctantly, while others didn't go at all. I swear, although I was thirty years older than most of them, NONE could keep up with me! Even more depressingly, none had a clue about technique for simple, well-tried and hugely beneficial exercises like push-ups, tuck jumps, squat thrusts, burpees and crunchies.

Fortunately, a number of these bone-idle, useless lottery scroungers have been weedled out since, but there are still many left and even more coming through.

Watch out for the next post-event interview and watch for the clues. If you are one of the culprits reading this: watch out, because everybody is on to you now.

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posted Sep 1, 2008

Hi Mike

Hope the bodies in good working order. Congrats on the guys great performances again this year.

I think you only had to watch the competition in Gateshead yesterday, (I caught about half of it) to see how uninspiring T+F is coming across to the current and next generation of fans, itís not just the weather! I canít remember the last time there was a male throwing event at one of these things, probably not since Backley retired.

To be fair to Dave Collins although he knew little about athletics, I think had an impossible job. Until we have a system that promotes genuine competition on a regular basis and that builds the base of the pyramid by attracting new talent, we will carry on as we are. I fear it is already too late to do much for 2012 but longer term the sport has to organise itself so that those just below world class have the incentive to balance their working and athletic lives through competition with their peers .
FYI we have not sent a male thrower to a global championships for over three years now!

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posted Sep 1, 2008

There is another, more serious long-term problem, apart from laziness and failure to fulfill talent and expectation: paucity or wholesale destruction of facilities and equipment.

Throughout the eighties, with not just the endorsement but the encouragement of that notorious hater of sport, Margaret Thatcher, schools throughout the land sold off that most precious and irreplaceable commodity: land. Playing fields went under the developer's plough. It was the greatest crime against the fulfillment of youthful potential that has been committed against any generation by a government since the start of the industrial revolution. And may she burn in hell for it.

I went to a grammar school which had two rugby, two football and two hockey pitches. There were six hard tennis courts, a 400 metre, four-lane running track, separate high, long, triple-jump and pole vault pits with state-of-the-art run ups, separate shot, discus and hammer circles, with a circuit training obstacle course set out around the whole complex.

Furthermore, we competed regularly against other grammar and comprehensive schools in the town which were similarly equipped. Now, I don't know of a single one which didn't lose at least half, if not all, of these irreplaceable resources during the 'reign' of that anti-physical competion monster, Thatcher.

If you can show me a politician who will dig up concrete to plant grass, I'll vote for him/her.

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posted Sep 1, 2008

What puzzles me is if the UKA target was 5 medals in Bejing, does that mean if Kelly Southerton had secured a bronze, or Craig Pickering hadn't set off 4 lightyears too early in the relay, or Martin Rooney hadn't misjudged his race tactics, or the Womens 4x100 hadn't been rugby tackled at the second change then would DC still be in his job? I'm at a loss to see how DC could have influenced any of the above and, with the wind blowing in his favour, concievably all of the examples could have been turned into medals and he would be hailed as a genius who was ahead of his target for 2012. I don't see any sense in changing the performance director now - by the time CVC gets his teeth into the job and the green shoots of change are just beginning to blossom - Steve Redgrave will be lighting the Olympic flame in Stratford, this is not a premiership football team - CVC can't go out and buy Bolt and Bekela to get us into the 'premier league' of athletics. I don't know if DC was the right man - what I do know is that once appointed - the governing body should have the bottle to suppport their man and give him a decent run at the job. Seems to me they've capitulated to the views of ex-athletes sat in the comfort of the TV studio's dripping on about a 'non-athlete' having 'our' top job! Anyone out there name one athlete or 'coach' who has been successful in this post? seems to me our 'golden era' of recent times was under Andy Norman---and if he was athlete or coach than I'm a Chinaman! For the record - now DC has gone UKA could do a lot worse than go and recruit the Swedish performance Director - haven't a clue who it is and I know they haven't had a great Olympics - but they've been doing something right (consistently) for the past 10 years across all events!

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posted Sep 1, 2008

A lot of truth said in these above comments especially on the training and attitudes.
I've watched Brits/Australians/Indian/African/Slovakian/
Russian/Scandinavian/French/German/Ethiopean/
trainng much harder & more effectively in the USA & they are far more inspired with the right ATTITUDE....and all these "Foreigners"
are AMERICANS !

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posted Sep 1, 2008

The first thing the new man should do is withdraw funding from any UK sprinter over twenty-one who cannot run the hundred metres in under 10 seconds. Six of the finalists in Beijing did so. So unless this figure is achieved,our runners would from now on be earning their money for the prospect of coming, at best, seventh. Quite ridiculous. The same sort of reasoning should apply to the 200 metres. Yes, this may result in no UK representation at these distances. So be it. The money would simply go to prospective WINNERS in other track and field disciplines.

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posted Sep 1, 2008

I am amazed at how the most obvious problem is not mentioned: How do you keep talented people in athletics once they've been "spotted"?

Keeping talented 18-20 year olds in the sport once it becomes serious is the crucial issue to be resolved for any future success.

The best coaches and the best facilities do not guarantee the motivation and hunger to succeed.

To be perfectly blunt, what drives ambition are the rewards, financial, life comfort securing rewards.

Nobody turned up at Gateshead yesterday for the honour or the competition. (other than a few minor fill ins!) They were all there because they had a market value and would cash in on it.

Bekele would have collected c$100.000. Powell, c$60.000. Tyson Gay, the same. Ohurogu c$50.000. Baddeley, $15.000. Oduwo c$35.000. Mason $25.000 and the rest pro rata.

If the sport was still strictly amateur, the sport would not exist outside of a mainly, very low level of club athletics in the developed nations.

No East African would bother ever again to get up in the morning and run.

To become an Olympic athlete today requires, as it always did, a massive amount of committment and time but these days there are too many alternative activities and job opportunities that pay well.

Most young talented people want success that pays and not only after they have made their Olympic team. That's why we lose so much talent because the reward ladder only has a few rungs at the top and nothing further down to motivate and inspire enough others to give it their best effort to get to the top.

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posted Sep 1, 2008

Dave Collins gone. Good riddance. The guy was hopeless. It is a pity that Ed Warner and Nels de Vos don't go as well. CVC would an excellent choice. Takes no crap. Knows the sport inside out. He should have got the job instead of Dave Collins in the first place. I agree 5 medals was too softer a target. Action plan should be:
1. Give more help to our endurance athletes who get next to no funding e.g. Liz Yelling, Dan Robinson.
2. Reduce/Cut funding to our sprinters. They get top Lottery funding, even though individually they are useless, in case they do well at relays. Tens of thousands of pounds are spent on relay training and for what.
3. Have a High Performance Centre for each of the disciplines i.e. one for sprints, one for throws, one for jumps and somehow have one for endurance athletes. Make all of the elite athletes to train at these centres. If they refuse cut funding. This would concentrate athletes in a discilpine in one area. Within these you would have all of the best coaches/discipline directors based at that centre e.g. Jon Herbert for Jumps, Alan Storey/George Gandy for Endurance.
4. Less people on funding. Funding has made athletes soft. Athletes would then have to really train hard and show that they deserve to be on lottery funding. Athletes of the past e.g. Coe, Ovett, Cram, Sanderson, Chrsitie, Thompson and Foster were the top of their game without lottery funding. They had to graft big time.

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posted Sep 1, 2008

Those working under Dave Collins at Edinburgh University may state that his management skills are non-existent! He is simply a bully and those that do not follow his flawed doctrines are perceived as enemies. He plays the favourites game and thus falls on his incompetent sword. As a "Sports Psychologist" he is indeed a master of stating "the bleedin' obvious" Stun grenades followed by a big boot would adequately sum up his management techniques,. How did British Athletics get it so wrong >???

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posted Sep 2, 2008

liberanos/leomstonian - agree with a lot of your points - the levels have to be more realistic of world class competitiveness (although I think 23 should be a "cut-off" age). Levels that need to be attained are not rocket science and attainment of the level should be consistent e.g.

100m M/W sub 10/sub 11
200m sub 20/22.5
400m sub 45/sub 50
800m sub 1:44/1:58

too much is made of athletes who manage ONCE for instance the above criteria rewarding them with continual funding when all their subsequent performances put them in the land of medicority. In addition Leomstonian when you quote centres of excellence (fully agree) but again the names you quote is another example of how uk Sports (I mean sports generally) have no ability to look further afield. Steve Lewis is a young prospect for the Pole vault but is his coach steve rippon as good as Vitaliy Petrov (Bubka and Isinbayeva). The work of volunteer coaches in the UK who give up their own time and at their own expense is admirable but there is a mistaken belief that they (the coaches) are all as good as eachother and any equivalent coach in the world. As far as keeping/encouraging the younger athletes is there more that UKA can do not just in training coaching but also help from a social (family) point of view. Is this a missing element in the development of young athletes.

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comment by U9238686

posted Sep 2, 2008

Having some sort of rigid coaching system that means athletes are being coached in the same ways and have levels to measure their progress against would be a start. Too many youngsters being coached by coaches who like to do it their way. When they change coaches they are suddenly behind or underdeveloped compared to others.

A system of coaching and training should be developed to match those in place in Cycling and Swimming.

As for the centres of excellence, I agree this would help, but there is no need to split the disciplines. Have 3 main Athletic centres, Gateshead (north), Loughborough (Midlands) and Lee valley (south). If you have well trained coaches based at each one, all singing from the same hymn sheet, athletes will develop and UKA will be able to keep better control and record of athlete development. There is also a need to stop treating funded athletes like children and tell them to move closer to their respective base (as the cyclists do in Manchester). They will then be under better UKA guidance than at presence and can eat sleep and live Athletics. This is what it takes to win Gold, if they are not willing to work then they should not be funded.

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comment by DaveC (U4310400)

posted Sep 2, 2008

Decrying praise for achieving personal bests (as one poster did above) is taking things a little too far. You cannot ask more of any athlete in competition than that they perform better than they ever have before. That is an accompishment that should be acknowledged.

Granted, many UK national records are off the pace (in swimming even more so than in T&F), but it is small-minded to de-cry the breaking of one for that reason.

That said, a performance like that does have to be a stepping stone. It is what the athlete does next, having improved their PB, that gets them to the next level and looking for medals, and ruthlessness may be required if athletes aren't up to making that next step.

I was a half-decent sprinter in my teens, and once came awfully close to breaking 11 seconds for 100m. That would have been a great achievement for me, but I certainly wasn't good enough to even dream of the Olympics or anything close.

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comment by tim400 (U1822727)

posted Sep 2, 2008

Two things, ridgidity is not what its all about.
Each athlete brings different steengths abd weaknesses and so has to be treated as an individual.
Regardless of all the flak aimed at coaches let me point out that there are actuaslly many good coaches in this country.
Unfortunately UKA does not employ the best.
And of course many coaches have walked away.
At the same time UKA have ignored both coaches and coaching education for ten years.
Place the blame squarely where it belongs.

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comment by U9238686

posted Sep 2, 2008

I don't think anyone is blaming coaches here. Everyone seems well aware that it is a coach education problem and therefore the fault of UKA.
I beg to differ on treating athletes individually though, this has been proved as unworkable and does not happen in the NCAA for example. Cycling has shown what can be done with universal structures and approaches to coaching

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posted Sep 2, 2008

UKA didn't get it wrong over Collins, Moorcroft alone did. And he's gone too along with his deputy and Athlete Development Director. And what does that tell us about UKA's success story they spun out day after day?!

DeVos stated clearly on TV that Collin's was fingered to be got rid of 6 months ago. The only reason they kept him was because it was too near Beijing. Nothing to do with number of medals not won. DeVos said if we'd won more he would still have gone.So something was recognised as seriously missing from Collins's ability (but amazing why both DeVos and Warner still manage to credit him with having done a great job?!!!!) They credited him for the High Performance Centers. Why? They were in place years ago! DeVos also said they when he (DeVos) came in and took over it was all in a sorry state! What does that say for UKA and Max Jones the previous Performance Director and the previous 9 years? And all along anyone who dared to criticise, question or propose possible solutions was told from above that UKA were doing a splendid job!

There is only one way to improve our elite and that is to begin with those below elite level and create a far more ruthless support and competetitive culture for those on top.

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posted Sep 2, 2008

This is it no messing around

No funding for athletes that will not make it!

i still think my idea of opening Sprint Academies in USA and Jamaica and also
Long distance acadamies in Africa is a Good idea!

UK Athletics i am available if you need me!

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comment by U9238686

posted Sep 2, 2008

Why would the US, Jamaican or SA federations support UK academies? and who would pick up the bills? Athletes still need there education

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posted Sep 2, 2008

what i am saying is UK would build the academies there and the conditions which seem to suit sprinting and the general culture can help athletes and also the athletes from africa are far superior than most at middle - long distancing running. a bit like tennis academies in places like America

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comment by stwl (U4284084)

posted Sep 2, 2008

Problem is, if you set world-class performance targets and cut off funding for anyone who doesn't make them, athletes on the cusp are going to resort to chemical assistance.

To ask a provocative question: has anyone ever run sub-10s for 100m clean? I think so, but how confident can we be?

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comment by U9238686

posted Sep 2, 2008

Mark Lewis Francis

but as for the clean question you can only go with tests otherwise thats an impossible answer. You have to have rigid performance targets or people will take the mickey and "favourite" athletes will continue to sponge with below par performances

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posted Sep 2, 2008

What's the point on wasting money on people who are not going to win anything?

I agree, unless you can run 100m under 10 secs and 100m in mabye even around under 20 secs, just go away.

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posted Sep 2, 2008

As (in tennis) the Nick Bollettieri Academy?
Nice idea. Wish it could work.

Good coaches help also - someone mentioned Vitaliy Petrov re the champions of the pole vault.

In Jamaica:-
Germaine Mason (now UK) trains with MVP under Stephen Francis. Kim Collins (St. Kitts and Nevis) trains/trained with Glen Mills.

If a 17yo can do the 100m in 10.11, it shouldn't be a problem to have 10 flat as the minimum to aim for in 2012?

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posted Sep 2, 2008

Flying Hurdler, I have to differ with you on individualised training. There are lots of reasons, here are some:

1. The experience of Seb Coe and Steve Ovett. Very similar results over a range of events of very different training. Coe was comparatively low volume, higher intensity. Higher volume would have led to increased incidence of injury and poorer performance. Ovett was the reverse, high volume, lower (not low) intensity. Lowering his volume would have led to undrperformance. Add Steve Cram into the mix - Coe used to lift incredible weights, Cram would break into a sweat thinking about lifting weights and training was even more varied. By putting all three on the same training we would have lost at least two, if not all three. A good coach coaches the athlete as much, if not more, than the event.

2. The LTAD model which has been adopted by many of the world's NGBs has athletes peaking during the 'Training to Win' stage which categorically demands individualised programmes.

3. The NCAA does not prescribe not treating athletes as individuals. Colleges employ their own coaches who then apply their own ethos.

4. Application of 'standardised' regimes can cause increased risk of injury in athletes with varying biomechanics, different strengths and weaknesses, diffrent maturity rates, etc, etc. This is amplified in 'weight bearing' sports such as athletics, football, rugby, etc and less noticeable in 'non-weight bearing' sports such as swimming and cycling. The Aussies tongue in cheek remark about us only winning medals in sports where we can sit down was accurate in that our preferred model in the UK under lottery funding is better suited to non-weight bearing sports.

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posted Sep 2, 2008

ColloRed hit the nail on the head, as did many of those who understand that the problem lies with the fundamental structure of UKA (or BAF, BAAB and its other incarnations). At its lowest level the sport is treated as nothing more than a hobby. Not to denigrate the people that spend hours of their own time for nothing, but the existing club system is ill-equipped to provide structured support to budding athletes in many different disciplines. In my opinion, there are different ways of tackling this, but the American collegiate system has to be a model that should be tried. It would enable athletes to stay in education, fight for their funding (anyone not achieving knows they will be cut from a funded education programme), and more importantly, give coaches and those within University/College sport accountability. As a head coach in a college you will lose your job if you don't improve your athletes. There is no such accountability within the current UK "structure".

On a related note - it would also force the powers that be to increase the focus on the sport and work on ways to bring the public back to watch (as a revenue exercise). Athletics meets (if they are not organised well) can be deathly boring.

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comment by U11775021

posted Sep 2, 2008

One thing though.

"No point funding an athlete who doesn't have the potential to medal"

"Medal" is not a verb.

The use of the word "medal" in the context "He medals.. "She medals.."They medal.. really grates and makes no sense at all. An American slang expression spreading like a cancer through the English language.

"win a medal" is how it should be.

BBC with its perceived high standards should forbit its commentators to use "medal" as a verb.

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posted Sep 2, 2008

All this talk of cutting off funding - I suspect that the direct funding to athletes is actually quite a small part of the cost. The main cost is likely to be the facilities rather than the athletes - the physios, coaches, training centres, administrators etc etc. After all, if Chris Hoy only gets paid £23,000 per year as living expenses then that's actually peanuts in the scheme of things.

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posted Sep 2, 2008

Looking at how British athletics works is not the system for finding a winning formula. You need to look at winning systems and understand their formula.

If you take British cycling as an example, less funding than athletics gets is spent much more wisely. The coaching expertise the nation is paying for is working with the actual cyclists on a day-to-day basis. The cyclists are speaking themselves to the experts. Sailing and rowing also follows this model.

Athletics has experts who are kept away from athletes. Instead, they inform coaches, many of which are already set in their ways, rather than informing the people they need to be speaking to.

The best model would be for a national athletics training camp to be set up, ideally in Manchester. Then, the athletes could work as a team, discussing between themselves issues they encounter. The top coaches could all be there, with the top facilities. Why create a training camp before Championships when that could be created as a perminent UK base.

If a UK training camp was created, which lottery funded athletes must be part of, that would be the ideal environment for sending our talented youngster for a week or two during school holidays to give them a taste of what an athlete is all about, and retain them in the sport.

Athletics in the UK seems to spend its time moaning about two things. Firstly, the lack of children who are active enough to take part. The cyclists are showing that is not a real problem, if they can find world class performers, why can't athletics.

Secondly, people are convinced that having 1 coach working with an athlete is the best strategy. Modern top-class sports utilises a team of experts, rather than individuals working on a 1on1 basis. Until athletics gets beyond that and realises that passing athletes from the coach who developed them to a team of national experts, the sport won't move forward.

I've seen Sweden have used the same structure in their coaching as British cycling, having training camps rather than individuals training alone. You only need to look at some of the athletes their system has produced to realise that our system is wrong.

It doesn't really matter who heads UK Athletics. At the moment, its just deciding how to man the lifeboats rather than sail ahead. There needs to be a big decision to embrace modern sporting techniques, rather than remaining rooted to a system which produced world-class athletes a decade ago but no longer works.

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posted Sep 2, 2008

I don't think anyone would decry an athlete setting a PB. But SB's? What does that mean if they don't perform at their PB level?

The point made by myself and others is that Collins and the altar boys of UKA are always going on about how many (actually only a few) achieved PB's OR SB's!!!....... But hang on a minute, These athletes are rated, funded and selected for the Olympics as "Podium achievers." So if they set a PB or an SB and don't even make a final, why is that something we should cheer about?

Good for them but not if it doesn't get them at least into the final and more pointedly, on the podium! After all, that's what they're meant to be all about, according to UKA and their funders!

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comment by kal77uk (U1573807)

posted Sep 2, 2008

UK Athletics, Track & Field in general, is bankrupt as a sport and has no credibility. Only a paltry 7,000 turned out to see Christine Ohurouguo, some welcome. There were more people watching Division 2 football.
Had it not been for the bias the BOA shows towards UKA, funding would be stopped straight away. It is such a shame sports who produced medals will get no extra funding because track & field needs to be bailed out.

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posted Sep 2, 2008

Some of the press have suggested that the Olympic performance was really poor. While it certainly could have been better (Dobriskey should have won a medal but for poor tactics and both sprint relay teams had the speed if not the baton changes), it wasn't disastrous. What isn't reflected in the medals table is average finishing position, which for Team GB was alright. That's why the men won the European Cup this season, because we're reasonably strong across most disciplines. The question is which of the 13 athletes who finished between 4th and 8th at the Olympics can make the step up in the next few years? The difficulty at World level is that every country is good at at least one event, even if as a team across the board, they're poor (except USA and Russia). e.g Jamaica good at sprinting, Kenya/Ethiopia good at long distance, Eastern Europe good at field events. UK athletics has to centralise like the cycling team to maximise their potential. They need to set strong targets with no excuses. Guys like Martyn Rooney should win both the Commonwealth and European titles heading up to 2012, if fit. Oh and please work on baton changing!!!! I still can't believe the Japanese won a sprint relay bronze, but fair play to them, they got the baton round.

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posted Sep 2, 2008

Unless they are going to create several super clubs and channel all promising talent through those so that they can get the best coaching, facilities and advice then what's the point of doing anything?

There were finals in the UK trials with eight athletes from eight clubs with eight trainers, all that can mean is that seven of them are training in inferior conditions.

Until that is field then don't bother even setting targets for 2012 because it will just end in embarrassment.

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