Tue | Jun 22, 2021

Don’t rush our athletes – Wilson - Veteran warns against youngsters being coached like ­professionals

Published:Tuesday | July 23, 2019 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

One senior track and field coach says there is a new group of male athletes starting to emerge, but he is asking their coaches not to train them like professionals.

That’s the consideration proposed by Maurice Wilson, head coach at the G.C. Foster College for Physical Education and Sport and at the Sprintec Track Club. If they go too hard too early, there will be no scope for improvement, he warned.

“We would have seen where our veterans on the female side would’ve now started to reproduce their best form ever, and consistently so over the last three or four meets,” said Wilson, with obvious reference to Olympic champions Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. The accomplished MVP Track Club pair jointly hold the fastest time in the world over 100 metres at 10.73 seconds, and Thompson is fastest over 200m at 22 flat.

“The type of coach that they have will get them ready again for championships, barring any unforeseen circumstances,” he continued, invoking thoughts of MVP coaching guru Stephen Francis.

He is pleased with the next generation of female sprinters and named world under-20 double champion Briana Williams, CAC Games 100m winner Jonielle Smith, and Natalliah Whyte.

“So, we’re not concerned about the females”, he summarised.

“For the males, the transition has been a little bit slower, but the talent is still there. The talent is in the high school, the talent is in the colleges. We see Waseem Williams, who was at Jamaica College,” he said, pinpointing the Purdue University student-athlete, who recently won the NACAC Under-23 100 metres in 10.01 seconds to lower his personal best from 10.06 set earlier this year.

“Am I concerned? No, I’m not concerned because I know what we had before 2008,” he reviewed. “What am I concerned about? I am concerned about how some of our coaches deal with the high-school talent.”

He specified, “Our coaches need to understand that high-school kids cannot be trained as professionals.

“They will hit a genetic ceiling too early and there will be hardly any scope for improvement. So it is important that they carry them through what we call the progressive stages of coaching.”

Wilson, who has lectured aspiring coaches for years at G.C. Foster before ascending to the role of acting principal, comforted those who worry about a long-term decline.

“Once we do that (progressive coaching), we’ll be okay,” he assured.

Wilson has served as head coach and technical leader on several of Jamaica’s teams to the Olympic Games and World Championships.