Let kids be kids - Basic School coaches could face sanctions

June 22, 2017
These athletes compete in the Girls Class Two 50-metre obstacle race at the 2010 Basic School Championships at the National Stadium.


OVERZEALOUS basic school athletics coaches are pushing pre-schoolers too hard and could face penalties from organiser of the Institute of Sports Basic School Development Championships, especially since the meet held at the National Stadium last week.

"If they (coaches) are caught behaving badly some may end up not participating with those kids again or they will have to face disciplinary action from the principals of the schools," meet director Anthony Gibbs told STAR Sports, adding that the practice is frowned on by INSPORTS because coaches are reminded in meetings prior to the championships of what is expected.

STAR Sports was on hand at the recent three-day meet and noticed several coaches behaving aggressively toward their charges, some as young as five, trying to instruct them from the sidelines, especially during the Girls Six and Under Open Standing Jump.

Security personnel close to the long jump pit had to threaten coaches with expulsion from the area as they kept breaching an imaginary line representing a point which no parent or coach was expected to go beyond.

"We reiterate in the meetings that they are not only expected to behave with their athletes but with all athletes. With that age group, we don't have track umpires, referees and jury of appeal because the children don't understand to coordinate (in a) certain way," said Gibbs.


Policing mechanism


"We just try to get them to understand that the aim is to instill the rudiments, it is not full-blown competition. It's about getting them to coordinate and compete in an organised friendly environment," he added.

The meet director said coaches probably get away with infractions because the policing mechanism really amounts to coaches policing themselves.

"We normally go by coaches' reports on coaches," he explained.

"We have someone who would normally look out for that. The officials in the call room, they are the ones who normally police and report them to us."However, they don't perform that way in front of those persons. If they are caught they are reported to the principals and the principals will do their part and we do our ours," he added.

Gibbs said the championships are called 'development' because the aim is not about "winning, winning, winning".

"It is the INSPORTS Basic School Development Championships because we are teaching them the rudiments and trying to have fun getting a champion, and even coaches to feel that self-worth. It's not about winning. It's about how you bring and get them to participate at this young tender age," he said.

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