Home News Very Successful Second Day of Regional Squads Takes Place Nationwide

Very Successful Second Day of Regional Squads Takes Place Nationwide


from AAI website Almost 500 young athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 took part in the Regional Squads at six different locations The second day of Athletics Ireland’s Regional Squads took place nationwide last weekend. Almost 500 young athletes between the ages of 14 and 18 took part in the Regional Squads at six different locations around the country. Thanks to all the parents and club coaches who transport their athletes to these Squads. The athlete’s feedback speaks of both the social and the coaching aspects of these days and it is important for a balance to be found for the young athletes between these two aspects.

The second East Ulster Regional squad day was held in Shercock on Saturday last and was well supported by athletes from Antrim, Down, Fermanagh, Monaghan and Cavan. The day was co-coordinated by AAI Regional Development Officer Eamon Harvey who delivered a talk on the development of the young athlete to an attentive audience of athletes, coaches and parents. Despite the cold conditions, both the talk and the individual event coaching sessions were enjoyed by everyone and special thanks are due to the hospitality team from Shercock who laid on generous supplies of hot soup, tea and sandwiches for the visiting athletes and coaches. A number of personal coaches/parents also joined in with the Squad sessions.

Weather conditions, with many areas of the North West covered by snow and / or flooded, meant that only a small number of athletes turned out for the North West Squad on Sunday 14th December. Numerous apologies for non attendance were received on the morning of the 14th , and because of the negative weather conditions and thanks to the excellent indoor facilities at the Finn Valley Centre the group remained indoors and a plan b was put into operation, where the athletes enjoyed an excellent practical and theoretical session on conditioning.

A fine bright sunny day in Morton Stadium saw 120 young athletes attend the second day of the Dublin Regional Squads on Saturday December 13th. The athletes were coached by 12 coaches in different disciplines. Three students from D.C.U. were among those who coached and gave advice to the assembled athletes and Personal Coaches. 20 Personal Coaches and parents observed/joined in with the various training sessions. All said they were looking forward to the Squads continuing in the New Year

The Connacht Regional Development squad was held in Galway Regional Sports Centre on Sunday December 14th under clear blue skies with 120 of the west’s most talented athletes in attendance. The session was led by Connacht Head Coach Mary Barrett and was preceded by a presentation by Regional Development Officer Paul McNamara on the importance of goal setting, yearly planning and periodization. The athletes then enjoyed a number of event-specific Coaching sessions in the various disciplines. Afterwards athletes, coaches and parents reflected on a valuable get together with plenty of food for thought going into the Christmas period.

In Munster, the weather defied all the poor predictions with good traveling conditions and a mild sunny day meaning that just over 100 athletes spent a most enjoyable and beneficial three hours at the Squad session.

There were good numbers in all events and high levels of activity throughout the track. The cooperation of all of the groups to maximize the space in a safe way was a pleasure to see. This is probably a result of having the same coaches working together for consecutive days and the consistent attendance of the athletes. The feedback to the athletes is now getting more specific as the coaches are now getting to know all of their athletes well.

A practical workshop on strength and conditioning was delivered by throws coach Sean Whitney assisted by Joe O Connor and John Sheehan. It was a great experience for all participants as well as for the Personal Coaches and parents in the gallery who had a close up view of all of the action. The athletes departed looking forward to the School holidays and meeting the pals from around the province in Castleisland at the refixed date for the next Squad of Jan 31st 2009.

The Leinster Regional Squad has given the athletes the choice to travel to either Tullamore or Santry for their Squad sessions. Those that travel to Morton Stadium train with their colleagues on the Dublin Squad while the remainder gets to use Tullamore’s facility.

Two successful days have taken place already in Tullamore for the Leinster Squad with 42 athletes attending the most recent Squad session. This year we have seen an increase in personal coach participation, which is encouraging for all involved. The compact squad numbers mean that the athletes get to benefit from very close attention from the event coaches. This has been very beneficial to all concerned.

An interesting development in association with the Regional Squads is the emergence of some of last years Level 2 coaches to assist as event coaches at the Squads. This is good example of the ongoing development and coaching programme working well together. Also very heartening has been the willingness of many of our elite athletes to attend these Squad sessions and to give Coaching and/or workshops to the assembled athletes, and we would like to thank the athletes concerned very much for their time and hope they will continue to support the Regional Squads in 2009.

We hope to see even more young athletes attending these Regional Squad Days – there will be three further days in each region in 2009. Athletes are asked to please remember to notify the relevant RDO by text if you will be attending Squad sessions or not so that sufficient Coaches and facilities can be organized at each venue for the number of athletes attending.

Next Squad Dates in All Regions:
Munster January 31st Castleisland
Dublin/Leinster January 31st Santry
Leinster/Dublin January 31st Tullamore
Connacht February 8th Galway RSC
North East January 24th Antrim Forum
North West January 24th Finn Valley