Home Page > Coaching > Junior Fell Coaching
One of the problems that young ‘fell running’ juniors have in developing their skills is a lack of qualified coaches. We take it for granted that every elite and international athlete has a coach which is ironic in so much that elite athletes are possibly much more able to coach themselves - to a degree - than a junior runner who wouldn’t know the difference between aerobic and anaerobic conditioning.
It would seem obvious that the less experience one has, the more an athlete would benefit from having a coach, especially the youngster whose aim is to run internationally. So what can a junior athlete do to find a coach, and what is it you look for in a coach?
In the first instance juniors do not need a fell running coach, there are only a dozen or so qualified in the country and as juniors they should not be thinking of specialization too early in their running careers. Running coaches mainly fall into three categories, sprints, middle distance and endurance / long distance. Any of these would be able to offer sound advice on a youngster’s early development. The only problem that can arise with this arrangement is the fact that the coach has to be receptive to a junior running the fells. Some track based coaches can have a tendency to frown on their young charges venturing on the fells for competition.
In some cases juniors have developed very well on advice given by older experienced runners – who have many years of training behind them, including their running Mums and Dads.
However, the real problem of coaching juniors is that the training has to be specific to that one person, and if the youngster is to gain progression in an environment of good coaching practice there are many facets that need developing for juniors to progress safely as they climb the age group ladder.
It is this comprehensiveness of all-round coaching knowledge that is essential for youngsters to develop maximally. Hence the requirement of a qualified coach, who ideally has been police screened and has been on the special coaching children courses - this is doubly important if the junior has expectations of international honours.
A misconception that I would like to clear initially is the fact that it does not take the innate gene ancestry of athletic parents to become an international athlete. Any junior, bio-mechanically able and of good health, could, with the right attitude and determination – plus good parental support – attain international standard if they followed a progressive training programme helped by a qualified coach. I hope the following advice will help when evaluating the services of a coach:
So what does a coach get from all this?
The truth is that a good coach is there simply to help athletes achieve their ambition and reach their goals by maximizing their talent, and in so doing share together with the athlete the satisfaction and pleasure of their achievement.
It’s my belief that the true value of an achievement can never be fully recognised unless you can share it with someone who fully appreciates what it means to you.