On Target
October 15, 2021
Go to the elite programmes

St Vincent and the Grenadines has not been producing the sporting talent that it ought to. Yes, there are pockets of talent in most sporting disciplines who can hold their own among the very best in the region. These stock numbers are few and often fade into oblivion.

It is almost unanimous among persons who follow sports here, that whilst there is no shortage of ability, there is that deficiency of those whose talents are taken up notches.

We therefore become exposed when our bests are required to match up against others from the region, in the first instance.

When this occurs, the scrutiny and incisios take place, more often than not it is the innocent and defenceless sportsmen and women who are the targets of ridicule, when they fall short.

The rut can stop if a focused approach is pursued to have our sportsmen and women make the nexus; from talent to stardom.

This, as St Vincent and the Grenadines is not short of training programmes, teams, clubs along with certified coaches, at various levels of achievement for all disciplines.

We are also well served with many grassroots programmes and others, which have their purpose, but those alone cannot cut it.

The aim though of these activities and set ups, which occur with some degree of frequency, is primarily to have the numbers up, by encouraging mass participation.

Whilst this may be good, as more persons are being involved in the respective sporting disciplines, quality is compromised for quantity.

So, as we strive to better the performances both individually and as teams, there comes the time to have more elite programmes.

It is factual that with the well-meant programmes of the clubs and national associations; they are somewhat failing the purpose of producing better players.

Change the approach should then be the best route to traverse and separate those who show prowess and exceptional abilities from an early age, value should be added without hesitation.

Going beyond identification, once spotted, players should be graded and allowed to soar.

We have for too long been depending on trying to bring players along, rather than making those who are deemed good, better and the better ones, the best.

Hence, the establishment of academies should be the order of the day. Save and except for the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association Inc., other national sporting associations have not gone that way of fast-tracking the talent of players.

Notwithstanding the efforts of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Table Tennis Association, which had indicated its intention to have the best players from the various coaches, on a regular basis, come together and assess their stages of development.

A few years ago, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association, under the leadership of Dellarice Duncan, attempted to go that route. However, it started, but the process never reached the expected objective.

And, this should be a foregone undertaking for some associations which have already small pools of players, where it can be easier to take the talent to the next level.

For the likes of football, this has to be a matter of priority, as too much time in spent on assessing the talent of some, whilst frustrating others who are ready for transition to the next level.

Therefore, this column is calling on all national sporting associations of St Vincent and the Grenadines, to revamp their various programmes and make way for the “elite” players.

Having these players train and play regularly would not only fine tune their skills, but raise the ante, as others outside the fold will be seeking to get into the mix. Conversely, those who are in the elite system would endeavour to maintain their status and remain permanent members.

As part of the process, the best coaches should be deployed among these players. No more must young players entering the respective sports be exposed to the worst coaches, as habits (good and bad) once learnt are hardly undone.

Not only should this be done at the national stage, but the many sporting units operating here should follow that pathway and build a base of best talent, and move through the stages seamlessly.

It should not be business as usual, as what is taking place with sports development is not paying the best dividends.