Aldershot, Farnham and District AC's growth over the years, a case study
Aldershot, Farnham and District AC has made great efforts over the past years to expand the club and its range of events. Prior to 2000 the club had a reputation for endurance events covering middle and long distance running plus race walking. This reputation continues today, but the efforts to broaden the scope are now becoming evident. Here we share the club's journey. Many of these developments went a long way towards gaining Clubmark status in April 2014
Working with their CCSO
England Athletics local Club and Coach Support Officer (CCSO) Christine Benning has worked with Aldershot, Farnham and District AC for over 14 years. She said, "In 2000 we proposed a coaching structure which would form the basis of development and widen the scope. This clearly would take time implement and find the coaches and helpers to fill the positions. The club is so much more than an outstanding Endurance club, having put some excellent structures in place particularly for progressing their young athletes into volunteering at the club. " (Click here to download proposed structure)
Easter Athletics Academy
Previously, the club had held “Come and Try it Days” in the Easter school holidays which had attracted parents as spectators. Also it gave the club members the possibility to canvas those parents to assist with the activities.
This proved relatively successful and has led on, via StarTrack, to the popular Easter Athletics Academy, which provides for 2 days of coaching across events followed by a final day of competition and all are expected to have a go. The format requires separation into groups (generally by age) and each group to have a designated leader. These have become those who attended previous years and wish to stay involved.
As each year has come and gone the club have encouraged those keen but now “too old” to take part by acting as leaders of groups and also demonstrating events. This was followed by encouragement to act as coaches under supervision which was a great success. In 2014 the entire coaching days were operated in this manner and the third and final competition day effectively run by the by them. In all cases backed by qualified coaches or officials. (Click here to download typical timetable)
In addition, this young group are taking part in the Athle-academy programme and organised a Club Junior Championships in memory of a popular coach who suddenly passed away in his sleep.
Progression of Coaches
The club has developed an annual Easter Coaching Course and in 2014 had sixteen young people working alongside the established coaches. The young athlete sessions utilise the Athletics 365 resources to offer an introduction to all events, including Race Walking as well as bringing interested parents into the coaching structure. Ex-athletes and parents have successfully progressed up the coaching pathway by hosting Coaching Assistant courses on an annual basis and two coaches recently moved from the Local Coach Development Programme to National Coach Development Programme.
In 2010 it was found necessary to arrange Induction evenings for all applicants under 13 to maintain reasonable control of numbers.
These involved parents as well and have proved an invaluable basis for the involvement of the new parents a significant number of who are now listed in our coaching staff.
Based on this the club have increased ther qualified coaching strength from around 20-25 to 55+ with a number now working towards Coach level from Assistant Coach. Approximately half of the coaches are involved with the Junior (U13) Academy.
Thanks to John Delaine, John Coe and Christine Benning for the photos