On Target
February 10, 2017
Flogging that dead horse

Again, the track and field season is upon us and the hectic and hyped nature of the sports will soon inject the athletes, coaches and enthusiasts alike.

But while it is a much anticipated period on the national sporting calendar, there remains that perennial bugbear of that haphazard, unstructured approach to the main events.

With the pending hive of activities, it has started off as business as usual, with simply no clear and defined pathway towards improved performances all round.

Despite the abundance of certified coaches, we are again seeing the woes of many years being replayed in 2017.

The run-of-the-mill features are in train, unabated and unchecked towards gaining progression.

A look at several of the pre-events, particularly the heats of some of the schools, shows evidence of a lack of preparedness for many of the participating athletes.

In some cases, it is simply a matter of going through the motions, as little effort is exerted by them.

On the other hand, and ironically so, some of the same under-prepared athletes are required to give of their best, pushed to the limit and sometimes ridiculed by those who are in authority, when they fall below expectations in their performance.

But while one laments on the way things are allowed to take place, it will be business as usual.

So, definitely, the schools’ respective inter-house meets will take place and the best of the lot will then advance to the big stage – the much touted Inter-Schools’ Athletics Championships.

We then complain of the returns from the athletes, lambast the physical education teachers and coaches, as well as the lack of a synthetic track to compete on.

However, the actions and eventual returns from athletes are chain outcomes of the state of the sport, as there seems to be a lack of commitment and planning all round.

Here both the many trained coaches, along with the administrative body – Team Athletics SVG, have to bear the brunt of the blame.

At the heart of that falling away is a real cohesion of the functionaries of the sport at the administrative level and the coaches.

Both entities seem to be operating autonomously; hence there always appears to be a collision of intent, rather than a unison mission and collective purpose.

The national athletics body, as it is mandated, will line out its calendar of events, inclusive of mini meets, but many of the schools and club coaches will slight the events, by conveniently absenting themselves from the meets.

On the other hand, the jumps and throws classics were revelations of what is being done behind the scenes, as many of the participants at these two happenings did not have a clue of techniques for either disciplines.

Some, in short, made those efforts to stage such, mockeries of the sport’s components.

Unfortunately, the administrators will be beaten with stripes by the same coaches for not providing then and their charges with the opportunities for excelling in the sport.

Conversely, when meets are not held, the administrators will be vilified, leaving them to be dammed if they do and likewise dammed if they don’t.

But that is the nature of the human flesh, who will always see it their way, and no other way.

In saying that, though, Team Athletics SVG has to take some of the flack for some of its efforts thus far in 2017.

Understanding the limitations of the Victoria Park, last Saturday’s staging of the relay classic there left much to be desired, as a sense of unpreparedness by the organiZers was evident.

As a result, the much anticipated Relay Classic fell way below expectations and can be deemed a failure in execution.

Whilst we point out some of the debilitating issues which are affecting track and field in St Vincent and the Grenadines, one has to readily agree that we are stuck in a rut.

Therefore, finding a way out of this stagnant state should be the mission of all stakeholders.

The way forward begins with planning, which in itself is fundamental of any sport, more so track and field.

In this regard, both the policy makers and the current crop of active coaches should knock heads to frame a programme geared at adding some spunk to the sport.

That concerted effort should lay out a clear pathway to set in motion a recipe that will ensure that revival of interest and ultimately some measured success in the not too distant future.

This type of co-operation will help reduce the apparent disconnect which exists.

Similarly, the coaches, on whose expertise the sport’s pillar are anchored, must themselves combine their knowledge for the betterment of all concerned.

Some difference in direction is needed, otherwise the replay of the same will be forever with us.