Dyke calls for training camps
Edwin Allen's coach, Michael Dyke, believes a return of the national youth training camps can only help improve the nation's junior athletes, especially when going into competition. Dyke, a member of the World Under-20 Championship coaching staff, that performed admirably at the just-concluded event, said whatever we are doing is apparently working, however, he believes we should always strive for improvement and calls for a re-instituting of the camps."Restarting the camp would be a very good idea.. We have had good results this year but with the camps we could have had even better results," Dyke told The Gleaner.
Up until about 2004, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), hosted regular training camps for junior athletes, especially, when a major international junior meet was on the horizon. However, they have disappeared for more than a decade.JAAA president, Dr Warren Blake, said it is difficult to get the kids to attend the camps, after competing at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships, as most athletes shift their focus to exams.
As a result, he said, the association implemented the All Comers development meets to keep them training and in competition.
"We had them (camps) before but camps are easier said than done. We don't own and we don't control these kids. The kids go to school and take time away from their classes to attend Champs and then (after champs) decide to focus on their books, so we can't force them to come to training," he said.
"We make competitions available. We have All Comers meets and competitions every weekend so they can compete and keep active. We do try and have them on weekends but if they don't come, we cannot force them, we have no authority. So people can say there should have camps, but camps come with a cost also," he added.
Dyke agreed that most athletes refocus after champs, but believes camps can be valuable to our young athletes and with collaboration and discussions between coaches and the JAAA, a proper programme could be instituted.
Change of focus
"A lot of them refocus their energies after Champs and Penn Relays. At that point they have to catch up (on studies) because shortly after you are going to have CXCs and external exams," he noted..
Dyke suggests having a shortlist of athletes from champs and CARIFTA, make contact with coaches and find what's need to keep the athletes in training and prepared for national trials. But he believes the All Comers meets has it drawbacks
"After champs schools have exhaust their funds. Some athletes can't bother to train and some coaches lack interest."
"But it (camp) provides quality training for those who would have suffered from lack of preparation, those not having a coach or because the scale down of the (school) programmes after Champs.
But it has to a collaborative effort because the exams would have become very important after Champs," he said
"The All Comers are good but it comes down to funding with schools, because school coaches don't have transportation to take them to the meets, to provide meals and pay entry fees so it's difficult to attend All Comers meet consistently," he added.