We cleaned up in athletics

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jethro's picture

Today I delivered some work to a client to get a major piece of work completed. The client was 100% happy and there were only a couple of minor things to fix. They have requested more work but that will have to wait until after other jobs are completed. From there I drove to the school convention and picked up a car full of athletes who I have been coaching. We headed of to St Lucia University campus for a 5PM start of the athletic meet.

29_0047 Unfortunately due to my “childishness” I broke my phone screen and I didn’t have any other camera with me. I did take a couple of shots of my main man Drew running the 1500 metre with someone else's camera though.

Drew cleaned up tonight. Although he could have ran a much faster 1500 than he did I made him run a slow race to save himself for the other events. He followed my instructions exactly. Ran into second place within the first 100 metres and sat right on the heels of that guy for 400 metres before hitting him with a 10 metre clear burst on the 2nd back straight. Settling back down the the same pace he ran with the 10 metre lead for another full lap. Then he picked up the pace and ran harder drawing away to a 50 metre lead. He held this then right into the main finishing straight and then turned on his sprint for the last 50 metres winning by an easy 75 metres or so. I think he could have won by close to a full lap but he was very good and ran our race plan exactly. This was good because he was straight into the 100 metres – though because his was the lat 100 metre heat / final he had time to prepare. I had 2 runners in the 100 metres and I played the waiting game as long as possible to keep them out of the chill breeze. I walked them to the start last of all the runners every time, warmed them up at the back of the staging area with some calisthenics, stretches and short sprints. No other athletes were as well prepared so I was happy with that. Caleb came second in his U16 100 metres and drew came in first or second – it was a photo finish and we haven’t been told the result yet.

From there it was to the 200 metres and Cassie. She has suffered terribly from self confidence, and tonight I finally learnt that she didn’t think I was happy with her progress. Well she came in a solid 2nd with a strong final 50 metres and she now knows I am happy with her performance. Her grandfather also told me tonight that her mother died in a car accident when she was 3 which is why she lives with her grandparents. Anyway I did the same thing with Cassie, taking her over to the start a good 5 minutes after everybody else was already there, knowing she had 3 races in front of hers. I kept her in her track suit right until the last minute warming her up on the track while we waited. She ran very well and I am proud of her improvement since I have been coaching her.

The 400 was next and this was going to be interesting. I had 3 runners here, Drew, Jemimah and Esther. Esther ran first and I didn’t get to see her start as I was busy with the others. However she came in second also and she really hung on well in the last 100 metres. She went out a little strong in the opening 100 but it worked in her favour in the end. Jemimah and Drew actually ran in the same race as there were only 2 girls competing at her age group of over 16 and there were enough spare spots on the track for the 2 girls to run with the 5 or 6 boys. She ran a very good race and came in first. Drew however blitzed the boys field here. I was standing at the start line with all the timekeepers and they couldn’t believe his opening 100 metres. From lane 2, in that opening 100 metres he had passed all the other runners and was in front. From there he just pulled away and won by about 30 metres. A very impressive run and he wasn’t even puffing after he finished. I’m thinking the next Usain Bolt!

Next were a couple of 100 and 200 metre finals for races where they had had heats. None of mine were in this as their races had all been finals. The 800 was next and I had Thomas and Breanna in this. Breanna ran a very good race to our plan and finished 4th but only a few metres behind 3rd and maybe 20 back from first. Well done. Thomas didn’t follow my instructions. I had told him to run the first 100 in his lane and slot in behind the first runner on to the back straight. Instead he went to the front and the two of them at the front drew away with Thomas pacemaking to about 10 metres out. Unfortunately this boy was in the open class and Thomas wasn’t even supposed to be racing him. With 350 to go this boy gained 10 metres on Thomas with a pace increase and I had told Thomas not to up his pace until 300 to go. Thomas however was spent by this time so when he lifted on the back straight he tired too quickly. Going into the last 200 he was 25 metres behind the first boy which didn’t matter as he was still leading his U16 class. However his nearest rival was now only 10 metres behind and closing fast. As they hit the front 100 the other boy passed him. Thomas lifted into a sprint and it was a seesaw neck and neck but the other boy had more left in the tank and the last 5 metres saw him take the win. Still a good run that Thomas put everything he had into and a silver isn’t anything to be ashamed of. I do think he could have won it though.
From there to the relays. Too big and strong the other teams were. Our under 16s team Caleb, Liam, Nathan and Thomas ran really well with a credible second but never looked like beating the first team. Still a great run by all 4. The open boys team consisted of Drew to open, Dean and Cailen to follow and Coen to finish. Drew gave us a 10 metre lead over the first 100 metres. Dean lost all of that to the next team and a bit more and Cailen lost the rest and a bit more so we were about 10 metres behind into the final straight though just clear of third. Coen ran a super fast sprint and was gaining rapidly on the first place. However he could not pull him back and we lost by 5 metres or so. Our girls team had to forfeit as one of our runners was too sick to race and had in fact gone to bed. We had not registered Cassie as a reserve so could not use her.

I had an absolute blast coaching these fine young athletes. For me the best part was seeing just how much the difference I could make in preparing them well, setting their mental state prior to each race and getting them onto the track totally focused on running their hardest. Some of their competitors were looking around, joking with spectators and supporters and skylarking amongst themselves. None of them warmed up properly. My kids were all told to keep that nervous energy in check and store it up and use it in the race, and to ignore what anybody said to them except the starter. Almost with out exception they followed these instructions (and most of the pre race instructions I had given them a couple of days ago for preparation earlier on in the day as well. I am super proud of them all! Now girls basketball comp tomorrow – knockout so we have to win 2 games to get to a final and hopefully win that as well. Its gonna be fun!