Firmness, discipline keys to winning Girls' Champs
It is close on 40 years since a Corporate Area school won the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Girls' Championship title.
The Queens School, which boasted the future Olympic 200m silver medallist, Grace Jackson, was the last Kingston school to win the Girls Championships title in 1978. St Jago High from Spanish Town in St Catherine came closest, having won for the last time in 1999.
Since then, Clarendon-based Vere Technical and Edwin Allen, and the Manchester-based Holmwood Technical, have shared the titles.
Holmwood dominated between 2003 and 2011, losing the title in 2012, before winning again in 2013, under the tutelage of Maurice Wilson.
Many have since asked the question - will a Corporate Area girls' school ever regain the title?
"I believe that persons who coach girls ... there has to be something that is special about them. It's the ability to be extremely firm and disciplined, but actually getting the persons to do what you want them to do in terms of performances," Wilson shared in a recent Gleaner Editor's Forum.
Wilson, who later left Holmwood and is now head coach at G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, and head coach of Jamaica's team to recent senior championships, including last year's Commonwealth Games, added that being from a close-knit community helps.
"In relation to Kingston versus country, I think the distractions are greater in Kingston ... the control that we have as country coaches is that we can go to mother and father and get them to apply disciplinary measures. We can go to the aunt and the uncles, and we can discipline persons, and not worry about being able to walk to the market, so we still have some of that 60s, 70s mentality where a village raises a child.
"For many years, I did not recruit out of my surrounding areas. I felt I had to have control over the people I coach. When I started to study, the recruiting fell out of my hands and I saw where the discipline started to go down immediately. I think it's just the fact that coaches are able to get persons in the village basically involved in their training and their performances."
Track and field analyst, Hubert Lawrence, also noted that the schools which have dominated Girls' Championships have a dormitory element, with many students living on campus.
"They are either co-ed schools with boarding .... Queens in 1978 ... Holmwood, Vere Technical and Manchester ... the big blocks of Girls' championships there is a boarding element," he said.