November 14, 2012
Coaches give mixed views on 'early' Champs
Raymond Graham, STAR Writer
The island's top high-school coaches have expressed mixed views on the decision to hold next year's 2013 Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships a week earlier than scheduled.
The meet was brought forward from March 19-23 to March 12-16 after it clashed with the World Cup Qualifying match between Jamaica and Panama set for the National Stadium on Friday, March 22.
There was consultation between ISSA and the Jamaica Football Federation, and it was revealed that the FIFA date could not be changed.
Michael Dyke, head coach of champion girls' team Edwin Allen High, said the change will not have an 'adverse effect' on his preparations.
"We will just have to work to meet the schedule of the new dates, and I do not think one week will make a difference. We have an issue with our playing field because it is being upgraded but the important thing is that we now know well in advance, and we just have to make the necessary adjustments," Dyke said.
Long-time head coach of nine-time girls' champions Holmwood Technical, Maurice Wilson, said he had no problems with the change of dates.
"These athletes are not professional athletes and this will not have any effect on their preparation as these are young athletes that can adapt easily," said Wilson.
Another coach who has no problems with the change of dates is St Jago High's female coach Keilando Goburn.
"We would have liked the original date to remain but this will have no adverse effect on our programme at St Jago," Goburn said.
He added: "I am happy we found out about the change in 2012 and not 2013 as this would have been more devastating if we were told next year."
Coach of the St Jago boys' team, Danny Hawthorne, was one of those who feel the change would have an adverse effect on his preparations.
Hawthorne, who guided the early careers of current stars Yohan Blake and Nickel Ashmeade, said his 'periodisation preparation' will be affected.
"I had made plan already to use the last three weeks for sharpening up my athletes but at this stage I cannot do anything as sometimes we just have to work with what we get." said Hawthorne, who maintained that one week can make a big difference.
Michael Clarke, head coach at Calabar High, the current boys' champions, shared some of the views of Hawthorne.
"I will have to now correct the whole process as it concerns the training cycles of the programme. Remember that when Champs date was identified we were working towards that date and the process of the cycle was from September to culminate in mid-March, and now things will have to now be put in place to compensate for an earlier championships," Clarke said.
Hydel High's Corey Bennett, coach of the the most improved female team at this year's championships, thinks the new date will have an effect on the pre-champs meets but will not have any direct effect on his team as news of the date change has come to them early.
"I will just have to make some adjustments like going to earlier meets like the Jamaica College Invitational to ensure that our athletes meet the required qualification standards for Champs, said Bennett.