Happy holidays or as some of our fellow European club members say:
Nollaig shona athbhliain faoi mhaise duit
Buon natale e felice anno nuovo
Hyvaa joulua ja onnellista uutta vuotta
Bon Nadal y Feliz Aninovo.
And from OZ ; G’day and NZ; arohanui and merry Christmas
I will leave it up to you to decide who sent these greetings. Can I just add good health and training in the coming year, 2012.
On the tv, wireless and in the newspapers, it is the time of year for reviews of some feature or other. It’s a time of year for reflection and planning. It’s a time for top tens, best offs, greatest of all time lists.
Well this is my take on the past year in EAC.
Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres. In the same way that Caesar divided Gaul into three parts and just as the old harriers had three packs, I have taken three snapshots in this review: Volunteers in a Big Society, EAC coaches and competition, Views from the back of the field.
One of the latest whizzo ideas is Big Society from big D C (Bullingdon AC). If I understand it correctly and as explained in the jargon by our Sunday run expert from ECAC, Big Society is a catchy tag line that makes voluntary groups and individuals step up to help private and public sectors, all for the greater good. In sport there is this mix of voluntary, public and private already. In some sports or sectors of that sport, one of these three blocks may be dominant. All you Standard graders and Highers graders can consider whether athletics is dominated by private, public or voluntary sector? In the private, think of all the corporate, TV and IAAF control of athletics. In the public, local authorities or Sport Scotland put up stadia, teach PE teachers to develop the skill and ethos of sport and Governing Bodies strive to direct such things like development and performance. Or is it indeed the voluntary sector which finds and produces by coaching and competition, all the participants and athletes. In years gone by it was all done with relatively more voluntary effort and many would argue that standards were higher (Laser Flasher AC).
EAC in some form has been continuously active about since 1887 and has been run by volunteers. We may have some private support such as NOVA, Activity Mix, Run and Become. We may have two tracks in Edinburgh, several great parks and can go to events put on by or in partnership with Public Sector Agencies. But just consider the vast amount of hours put in by EAC volunteers. Think of all the jobs done: coaches, tutors, teachers, assistants, watch holders and session managers, officials, tea makers, bag packers, car drivers, kit sorters, event planners and assistants, social event organisers, website updaters, club rankings collators, secretarial, finance managers.
Sport and our club needs and appreciates all this voluntary effort. It is so good that apparently it increases your sense of worth and is listed now as one of the top ten behaviours to make you feel good. So thanks to all your endeavours. I can think of many events or sessions over the year where I felt the genuine help and buzz whether cross country, road races, track events, Highland Games, auctions or indeed training sessions.
A sports club rests upon its training and competition. The EAC Executive encourages coach education and increasing the coaching base. It supports competition. By this I mean putting on our events and encouraging participation in appropriate competition. Examples where we put on competition range from small scale such as club handicaps or memorial events as the Bert Farmer, through to open graded, club track champs, hosting district champs or aiding/ managing at major road events such as the Edinburgh10k or traditional events such as the Law Race. EAC are always looking for students and parents to help at this huge range of event.
The Executive through its team managers also works hard at encouraging members to compete and at the highest possible level. There is also the goodwill feel by members taking part in some more exotic events such as Mountain marathons or new trail races. Surely the web picture of Keith Dunlop advising the World Champion about competition, reveals our zeal! The nature and format of competition changes and we try to balance traditional hard core stuff with the more exotic. Lets continue with this.
The website has a host of fresh news on all the competitions we are at. I like the tracky stuff for surely this is the greatest expression of physical literacy and athleticism. Endurance is all sisu.
In terms of coach education, this is the never ending process of encouraging new folk, developing and encouraging existing coaches and officials. The more we have, the bigger and better we become. Euro XC Legacy money helps, as does our wonderful governing body. If this is all a bit strange but you want to coach and help, talk to BW or the more senior coaches who dot about Saughton, Meadowbank and the Meadows.
It is such a great feeling when a session has gone well and when the athletes then perform as well as they can. There is the odd bonus when they go beyond that and come away with their championship win. I can only point you to the connections between Ms Sharp working hard at the Meadows and on the track with her small band of pace makers and her performances rightly earning her medals.
And so to my third and last reflection .My view from the slowpack.
Training at Meadowbank and the meadows. The coaches trying out exotic fun stuff, tag tig, vortex throws, tug war and handball. Performance coaches working on some serious plyometric drills but also the introductory stuff from the induction group. The many quiet ones going about their business week after week. Lifting 25 tonne in an hour, that’s serious stuff from an old hand: any guesses ?
The athletes working on their changeover marks and stealing a metre in the last rep. The athletes being so human, chatting, checking the latest kit, spotting the oldest T shirt .. 1986 Commonwealth Masters, mastering the moves of the Gay Gordon at the Ceilidh. See there is a social side, and thanks to those who have that gift.
The range of responses and styles from the coaches; all of Mosston is here on a Tuesday night. We have some command coaches, some who tend to be guided by discovery and maybe one or two who work with mature athletes where self teaching is the way (http://physicaleducationresources.com/teachingstylesmosstonpe.aspx)
It’s worth watching and learning. Would our coaches care to say what style they are or even could we set up a quiz: match the coach to the named style?
Events that come to mind; Kenny Mortimer winning the McDonald Trophy, Liverpool senior women at XC, Grangemouth SDS 800/1500 metres, Finnish MD relay champs, two teams in Forth Valley, the inspiration buzz in throws from Susan and Kimberley, the clear direction in the jumps and just so as the endurance boys don’t get too down Walter McCaskey romping to UK champs at V70. In terms of sheer number of performances, can I put forward Sue Ridley. All can be seen on club website and http://www.thepowerof10.info/rankings/rankinglists.aspx?clubid
On the EAC site this range of events and abilities is reflected. In July there were nearly 40 reports, all positive. The site is a chance to congratulate, inform and develop writing skills!
That’s my 1000 words up. Thanks to all in EAC and beyond who have made for a successful year. Maybe see you in the New year. Good health and remember your rivals are training even if they say they are not.