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  • Bruny Surin / Track in Canada

    The story is now on the front page.
    I find myself in agreement with most of Bruny's comments. I think the sport is in real trouble in Canada.
    Although we have a very few brilliant athletes in a few events, our depth throughout most of the events is as poor as I have ever seen it. And the direction forward, other than the "Own the Podium" nonsense, does not seem clear to me.

  • #2
    Allow me to submit that Canada is a small nation in the population scheme of things and has always suffered--as do all small nations--periods of riches and famine depending on coincidence. Surin just happened to come along at a time when Bailey did and the two of them together were enough to provide relay superiority at the same time as they were individual stars. I doubt there's much difference between now and just about forever in the nation's history regards "depth."

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    • #3
      Re: Bruny Surin / Track in Canada

      Canada's track woes are similar to a whole country basing their agricultural yeild on hydroponics of exotic food crops.

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      • #4
        At one point Canada had a bunch of young sprinters, runnign between 10.0-10.20, and they seem to ahve fallen by the wayside.

        The only guy I can see that has been performing is Jared Connaughton(sp), I hope he does well at the WC's this summer. He's a good guy!

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        • #5
          I started along the line of thinking that a part of their problem may be a shift in immigration over the past decade or so. However, while there has been a significant increase in immigrants from Asain countries, the numbers from Caribbean countries hasn't really fallen. So there goes that theory.
          Regards,
          toyracer

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          • #6
            I have not read the article yet but hey that never stoped me from having an opinion. :P


            I competed in the 70's. No, there was not great depth back then but it was much better than today. That is an indication that something is very wrong with the state of track in this country.

            First it is a travesty that athletes must pay their way to most meets where they wear the CANADA uniform.Heck in BC athletes have to pay a 250.00 fee plus their food and accomodations if they make the BC team to the Nationals. In my day everything was paid for. I know kids who have to pass up opportunities because of money issues. 3,000.00 to go to a meet like the World Juniors or the PanAm Juniors? Do well and AC will trumpet your success as theirs. In reality our kids should go wearing their club uniforms.

            Kids drop out of the sport in droves at age 18; nothing unusual there as that is a universal problem. Up here though it means the few truly gifted athletes we have go too. We have no depoth and so the loss of a few is huge.

            The other problem is the crazy standards being used. For example the standards for the CWG are the Olympic and World champ standards! That is ridiculous. We leave medallists at home.
            In my day (OMG I am old) the CWG were the perfect entry point to international comps for up and coming athletes. Now even that is out of reach for most.


            All the usual problems (hockey, soccer, rugby, baseball,weather,facilities) will always be there but if we can't even support the brave young people who stick with the sport in their early adult years things will just get worse.

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            • #7
              Aren't the AC management too busy spending it's budget on their own salaries that there isn't any money left over for the athletes? :evil:

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              • #8
                Here we go again talking about Canada's woes in track. I agree with all the sentiments that AC is incompetent. Forget about our elite teams for a moment. The main problems is the grassroots level. The sport in Canada is not well enough organized at the beginner level.

                The Hockey and Soccer model can to be adapted to Track & Field. We need track programs for kids (5-10 years old) that are twice per week for one hour in the field or track right next to where the soccer program is. Give the kids nice uniforms like they do in soccer and hockey. Make them practice for the first 1/2 hour then a mini competition of 2 different events each practice and end the season with a weekend track meet a la end-of-year soccer jamboree. The soccer kids will see how much fun the track kids are having with the variety of activities (events) and the parents will also see what track has to offer. We need coaches and voluteers at this level who can turn the sport into a fun game. Move away from the "training" mode of track. Let the youngsters "play" track and then at age 10 they can move to the (what soccer calls Intercity) competitive stage.

                If this model is aplied to a community that has a 50 member track club, I believe that within 8 years that club will need certified coaches to handle 250 competitive aged participants. That is how you start building a talent pool. That is where Athletics Canada's money should be spent. Not on a 4x1 relay team with no sub 10.20 runners.

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                • #9
                  My husband and I have done exactly what you stated.
                  We started a track club for young kids four years ago. We now have a club with over 100 athletes ranging from 9 year olds up to Olympians like Gary Reed.

                  We follow the new LTAD program. We make it fun, stress free and skill oriented, not competively oriented. Our workouts are vaired, age appropriate and we keep the season short and compatible with other sports.
                  We have done with zilch help from AC. It is a hell of alot of work but forunately we have recruited some great coaches and volunteers.
                  It can be done.

                  In the 70's my husband actually was hired by the provincial government to tour the province helping to get track clubs started. From tiny remote communites like Bella Coola to Kamloops and Vancouver, he set up a structure and support system to get clubs started.
                  Gary Reed and Dylan Armstrong were benefactors of that work. They both started track through a program called "Run For Fun" that my DH initiated province wide. When Gary recently told us that he started in DH's program it was ahuge reward and quite a coincidence!

                  Many of the clubs DH started are still going today. DH, on top of his provincial job, also headed one of the largest and most successful youth clubs in the country in the 70's (over 200 members!). Now the city of Vancouver does not have a single viable track club.

                  The grant ran out and DH moved on. Such a shame-his program could easily be duplicated across the country. It actually doesn't even take much money. There is no interest and no comprehension that it is mass participation that leads to depth and eventually a strong number of elite athletes.

                  One need only look at the very strong club system countries like Germany had back then to see the results.

                  I MUST say that BC has a very organized and strong club program. We have amazing coaches and officials. On the island I live on there are many strong youth clubs. One small town is bursting at the seams with kids! We have a series of meets up and down the island and the number of participants is strong.
                  It is sad though to watch the numbers in every event dwindle the older the kids get. At the Junior and Senior level there may be only one, two or if we are lucky three athletes in any event.
                  When you have 30 11 year old girls in the 100m and two in the 16 year old age category it is obvious where the problem lies.

                  The problem is that most of them will quit at age 18. It is THAT critical stage of an athletes development where we fall short.

                  Sorry for the very LONG reply.
                  This is a passion of mine. My DH and I dedicated years to the cause and we have given up on any support from AC. We carry on and love what we are doing. Once you acccept that things will never change (took DH 40 years to get to this point) you just do the best you can.

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                  • #10
                    Oh and I totally agree about the relay program.


                    Give us the funds and we could get 20 clubs up and running across the country. :roll: :roll:

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mojo
                      It is sad though to watch the numbers in every event dwindle the older the kids get. At the Junior and Senior level there may be only one, two or if we are lucky three athletes in any event.
                      When you have 30 11 year old girls in the 100m and two in the 16 year old age category it is obvious where the problem lies.
                      I quit the sport at the age of 16 as a decent jumper (but nothing to write home about), only to return as a coach at 25. I remained a fan throughout that period. In my case, it was because our coach took a detour to the middle east for two years, and I wasn't happy with the erosion of my form and competitiveness that resulted from his absence.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rainy.here
                        Originally posted by mojo
                        It is sad though to watch the numbers in every event dwindle the older the kids get. At the Junior and Senior level there may be only one, two or if we are lucky three athletes in any event.
                        When you have 30 11 year old girls in the 100m and two in the 16 year old age category it is obvious where the problem lies.
                        I quit the sport at the age of 16 as a decent jumper (but nothing to write home about), only to return as a coach at 25. I remained a fan throughout that period. In my case, it was because our coach took a detour to the middle east for two years, and I wasn't happy with the erosion of my form and competitiveness that resulted from his absence.
                        Did your coach have the initials of CT? If so, I used to coach him a bit, when he was in high school. Do you know where he is now?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rasb
                          Did your coach have the initials of CT? If so, I used to coach him a bit, when he was in high school. Do you know where he is now?
                          Nope - not the same person. My coach was GP.

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