England Athletics supported Newquay and Par AC to host an athletics open day for athletes and coaches, including event specific sessions led by experienced coaches.
A collaboration between Governing body and affiliated club
Newquay and Par AC have been working with England Athletics towards achieving the club standards, so the club has good governance and duty of care. Building upon these standards, the club wanted to become a greater club by providing a vibrant environment of their athletes. The collaboration created a project plan to make this a reality.
The club has a strong track and field offer, but they identified some disciplines that they wanted to improve to enhance the member experience for all athletes, through specialist coaching. Par Athletics Club, the club’s base, is a community hub, so they wanted to enhance the benefit for everyone through an open day, inviting athletes, coaches and volunteers from other local clubs to attend.
Bringing the plan to life
In the morning, specialist coaching was provided, across a range of disciplines, including sprints, middle distance, endurance, pole vault, high jump, horizontal jumps and javelin.
Following this, the afternoon session focused on physical preparation. This prompted athletes and coaches to consider different movement patterns, the development of a robust athlete and long-term athlete development.
The day concluded with a Q&A session, cultivating ideas on managing nerves on competition day, implementing the physical preparation content and learning from one another.
A success for all
Over 50 athletes and coaches attended from clubs across the local area, including Newquay & Par AC, Cornwall AC, North Devon AC, City of Plymouth AC, Newquay Road Runners, Hayle Runners & Plymouth Falconers.
One of the athletes attending was Isaac Ketterer, who left athletics during the pandemic due to limited competitive opportunities reducing his motivation. He had such a positive experience reconnecting with old friends and the sport, that he is considering getting involved in athletics again.
“It was great catching up with the boys again! It was nice to just be around them and back in that environment again. The open day has definitely made me think about returning to athletics on a regular basis if I can get the right coaching and from my varied experiences in the sport, I would be interested to train as a coach in the future as well”.
The open day even attracted international athlete, Silvia Dell Anno, a Vet 60 race walker, who was visiting from Argentina! She had a fantastic time:
“It was my first experience of attending an England Athletics event and I found it interesting and inspiring from both a coach and athlete perspective. The sharing of experiences was amazing and everybody found something new to learn and apply to their training.”
Likewise Mark Brace, Regional Club & Coach Lead for the South West, reflected on the success of the open day in supporting both coach and athlete development:
“Days like this are really important for coaches and athletes as it allows them to network with one another and collectively problem solve. Coaches enjoy interacting with one another and the Newquay & Par AC open day was a great example of being able to offer a face to face informal opportunity that compliments the formal coach education course that England Athletics provide.
“The open day helped coaches to consider what good practice may look like, how to support athlete centred sessions to a wide range of abilities & also consider where to place physical preparation in their training programmes”.
Piers Eliss from Cornwall AC wanted to thank the team who collaborated to organise and run such a successful day:
“Thank you for organising the Par Open Day and bringing your team of coaches with you. The day helped showcase all that is good about our fantastic sport and I hope that we can run similar events in the future.”
Club Support Manager, Rich Ayling, also reflected on the success of the day, giving special thanks to Dave Varney (Newquay & Par AC) and Mark Brace and other deliverers for inspiring all the athletes and coaches who attended. He is also looking forward to future events that this open day is paving the way for:
“From my perspective it was also good to see athletes/coaches from a range of clubs attend. I hope an event like this opens up the door for future collaborative work and I believe this is really important for the good of athletics.
“Finally, in my role as a Club Support Manager, I see on a daily basis the importance of a club being well managed and providing an appropriate experience for its members. Today highlighted how clubs can strive to do more and be a “greater club” if they have the foundations in place”.