On Target
January 28, 2022
Are we administering or developing sports?

When the various sporting disciplines here in St Vincent and the Grenadines are assessed, those which cut the cake are the ones which are able to balance the books and are not engaged in skulduggery .

Also added to the list of adjudication is that they have their respective national competitions, they possess good public relations, and they are often in the news.

In most instances a high grade is given to these associations which tick all the above- mentioned boxes.

Unfortunately, we stop there and go away with the false sense of assurance that is all towards sports.

As a consequence, some critical development facets are overlooked leaving a superficial glossing of things as it pertains to the overall appraisal of the various associations’ operations.

In taking a deeper look as sports, whilst good governance and administrative frameworks are indispensable, there needs to be a development pathway that must be pursued by each discipline.

Being in the good books alone cannot cut it, as the development processes can be retarded if they are not meticulously handled.

Therefore, often times coaching education is sacrificed as the run of the mill approach is adopted, and plaudits are gained for existing only with the flurry and window dressings.

Much of what keeps us apart from other territories in the region is the level at which skills are disseminated to the charges.

Invariably, it is that the coaches are limited and can only give out what they possess in their schemata.

Hence, we continue to do the same thing perpetually, obviously getting the same result. Then we have post- mortems, evaluations and the likes, but resume the cyclical status quo.

We fail to recognise with the absence of evidence, we are simply spinning our proverbial tops in mud.

In saying so, how many of our sports associations have databases of their constituents that track their progress over time?

How many of them go through the structural route whereby there is a clear developmental pathway in train?

The response surely is not in the affirmative. This is not to say that there were never attempts to go in the correct course of direction.

Some years ago, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Olympic Committee initiated a Long Term Athlete Development(LTAD) programme.

Essentially, the LTAD prescribes what persons should be doing at a specific age.

Furthermore, those who display certain aptitudes are given specified training and coaching in tandem to their chronological age, their mental age, as well as psychological and physical development.

The LTAD also provides opportunities for all to engage in physical activities , irrespective to their abilities.

But some of our associations seemingly have lost their way and have abandoned the LTAD, hence we have regressed in attempting to churn out sportsmen and women who can fit the bill for all categories of sporting endeavours.

Regrettably too, it is all about those athletes who are adept at specific skills and can outdo those within the same age groupings and comparative abilities.

Consequentially, persons who are in it just for recreation purposes, are sidelined.

Development though extends beyond the mere individual sport and their attending specific skills’ demands.

Sports is that provider of holistic growth and development for all participants. As such, sports because of its nature, incorporates other soft skills, along with deeper values needed for healthy living and lifestyles.

Sports too, is a haven for many who rely on the camaraderie of being in company of their peers; cherish that outlet to vent frustrations which may be haunting them.

Indeed, that psycho- social input is immeasurable, as often without that release valve, greater societal damage would be forthcoming.

But as we mull over what has to be done and what has not been done, are those who have the steering wheels in their hands recognising the value of sports and recreation to all Vincentians?

Can all of our national sporting associations raise their hands high and say without fear of contradiction that they are following clear guidelines towards the Long Term Athlete Development?

What then are we doing, simply administering sports and not developing it?