It just not cricket…
or football, rugby or hockey. No, track & field is a sport unlike all others. And it’s not fair!
Just imagine. The luxury of only needing a couple of umpires/referees/judges and a team manager. How lucky!?
What makes Track and Field so different? Well, just think about it for a moment. First of all, consider the various (able bodied) events;
60m, 75m, 100m, 150m, 200m, 300m, 400m, 600m, 800m, 1200m, 1500m, Mile, 3000m, 5000m, 10000m, 60m hurdles, 75m hurdles, 80m hurdles, 100m hurdles, 110m hurdles, 300m hurdles, 400m hurdles, 1500m steeplechase, 2000m steeplechase, 3000m steeplechase, high jump, pole vault, long jump, triple jump, shot, discus, hammer, javelin, pentathlon, heptathlon, decathlon, 4x100m, 4x400m, howler throw, standing long jump, howler/vortex throw
Then, take a moment to think of all the various age groups, U11, U13, U15, U17, U20, Senior and Masters. Don’t forget, each age group has a a male and female category!
It’s only then, you can appreciate all of the possible permutations…
All of the people a club needs to try and satisfy.
As we all know, it’s this huge variety that makes Track & Field athletics so special. But it is often a double edged sword.
Just the simple notion of providing a competition presents its own problems. A track event may need a starter, starters assistant and up to eight timekeepers. A field event will need at least five officials…
Most competitions will have a track event and maybe two field events going on at the same time!
Before a competition can start there are a whole host of jobs that need to be completed. Hurdles need to be set, throwing implements need to be sent to their respective areas, plasticine needs to be prepared in take off boards. The list goes on.
Another problem with having so much to do and so few people doing it can mean results go unnoticed, athletes might miss some praise and records may go unchecked.
“I feel passionately about this club, but I strongly believe we need more than just good athletes if we are to progress. We also need the interaction of parents”.
Unfortunately, as things currently stand, it’s the same core of people who sit on the committee, who coach, who apply for and organise open meetings, who set up competitions, who officiate, who broadcast on social media, who work behind the bar, who clean the toilets. None of these people aren’t getting any younger, indeed, some want to retire (Pat Jefferies)!
We simply have to share the load, if we as a club, are to ever progress.
“I’m sure every parent would love to watch their children compete, then go home then read a glowing report about how well they did”.
The simple reality is, some people enjoy this luxury, some don’t. Those who don’t, are too busy officiating, team managing or working in the club house. How can that be fair?
Volunteers who receive very little pleasure or incentive don’t tend to hang around for very long and without volunteers, we have no club.
If we are ever going to achieve long term stability and a feeling of togetherness, we need to share the load.
“A problem shared, is a problem halved”
As a COVID-secure venue, we are currently in a privileged situation where we could (theoretically) stage a competition whenever we wanted. Saturday, Sunday, midweek…Every week! However, the amount of work required and the amount of people willing and able to do it, have dictated we are probably only doing four.
“What has this got to do with me?”
- If you are good at writing, consider writing match reports for me to publish on our website, or sending them to the local press.
- If you are good at photography, consider working for our Instagram account.
- If you are good at film making, consider working for our YouTube account.
- If your child is a hurdler, consider helping set up and removing hurdles.
- If your child is a thrower, consider retrieving implements.
- If your child is a runner then consider becoming a timekeeper.
- If you are good at teaching, become a coaching assistant.
- If you are good with people, volunteer behind the bar, or collecting subs at the beginning of training.
- If you are good at organising, volunteer to be a Team Manager.
If you really want to help, become a qualified official. This is something I am currently doing and can tell you now. Its really not that hard! All you need do is a four hour course. I did mine last Sunday in a classroom of six people on Zoom (2×2 hours), a quick online Health & Safety Assessment, then document four ‘working experiences’.
As with any coaching course, it’s free for you to enter, as the club will reimburse any cost of entry.
Please take a look at our jobs listings to get an idea of some of the areas we need help.
I honestly don’t want to sound like a nag. I understand, everyone is busy. Giving up any free time is a lot to ask for and most people are frightened to volunteer as they think it will be all-consuming.
But if for example, we had ten timekeepers at a competition, we could employ a rota where everyone got some time off to actually enjoy the sport. And that’s what I believe we need, if we want to succeed. Everyone to be enjoying themselves.