Whether it be Olympic year or not I am always striving to improve my coaching and have this reflected in the standard of the athletes I coach because this is where I get the pleasure out of coaching, and I assume most of you are the same, hence the county put on workshops for the benefit of coaches.

Cornwall has produced some excellent athletes in the past; names like Jon Richards, Dave Buzza, Stephen Green, Jemma Simpson, Annabel Gummow, the nation women marathon team champions and Jessica Hicks spring to mind. Some seek ‘better’ coaching outside the county (eg Jemma, Annabel) whilst other bend under peer pressure at an early age (eg Jessica who was sent for ‘better’ coaching whilst just an under 15 and was last rumoured to be pole dancing in Spain). So maybe we should be looking to see what the successful coaches are doing and maybe some of it will rub off on us.

Since the Olympics were announced seven years ago you would think there would have been an incentive nationally to boost our better athletes to achieve an Olympic standard. That possibility has now passed (with the exception of Jemma) but the 2017 World Championships is well within the realms of possibility of some of our talented athletes, and with this in mind I went onto the Power of !0 website to assess the national perception of the 2012 effect, and was appalled to see that in the events I looked at there was very little improvement, the one exception being the 400m women where I compared results of the 5th placed athlete over the past six years.

400 women









52 sec











53 sec


54 sec



Under 20









55 sec



Sadly the men did not copy this rise in standards. But this is only one event, for the sake of 10 minutes you could do the same with your event, and this includes the 10k, half and full marathon.

The next step is to consider what to do about improving the standard, and this is my view when it comes to track and field

Up to age 15 athletes should enjoy variety with progress, giving the opportunity for the coach to not just spot talent but to iron out technique and correct form. From the end of GCSE’s is when to apply a much more serious approach to produce a massive improvement in the first year of A levels that will carry the work ethic into their next year until they either go to work or university. By not demanding too much of an athlete at a younger age, if they have the talent then they will shine when it is necessary, and that should carry them forward into a meaningful under 20 and senior performance. Of course there will always be more drop outs than stickers, but we have to look at the viw of what is goo for the sport.


The athletes are seen using belts which can be made up from adapting belts, water bottle carriers or the like, joined with ropes, or as we successfully did at CAC, used car seat belts bought from a scrap yard near the St Day tip and either tied together or sown by a cobbler in the Truro Panier market. Where we had tyres 10 years ago, similar conditions could be found running in soft sand where a course can be marked out with flags made from old Tee shirts cut up and pinned to sticks.

Single leg Squat jumps are also used at Iten. 10 continuous jumps on one leg, hold down with one leg still raised, repeat 10 jumps and hold twice more before switching to the other leg..


The subject matter was good, covering Sportshall, bodyweight training and circuits, followed by a report from the national conference, and at least worth the free pastie, but the attendance was poor. Where are all the coaches? One club has at least 18 level 1’s, but none of them were present. A lost opportunity for many coaches who could have benefitted from the experience.

JOB VACANCY Sonya Ellis’s job is advertised on the England Athletics website, and not a bad salary at 28-35K either for such an easy job.


With more courses coming on stream,(see the England Athletics website /South West/coaching) coaches should remember that for all UKA or EA courses the Cornwall Sports Partnership will fund half the cost providing you have been registered with them for at least a month, which also means you should receive a copy of their monthly newsletter.

NON UKA COURSES that CAC are earmarking in the next three months are Equity in Coaching and First Aid in two parts in March. Both courses will help clubs to attain or maintain their Clubmark status.


Peter Sneary is doing Coach Education on Sunday mornings from 1100-1300 with athletes invited to attend, mainly in sprints, jumps and hurdles.


Over the last few years CAC have had one or two athletes with disabilities, with Iwan Richards currently ranked 11th in the world over 100m. Neil Tunstall has taken on the coaching responsibility and recently attended a workshop in Bath which is the UKA Centre for disabled athletics, so if you want more information about coaching this branch of the sport, give him a ring.

Notable dates are

9th May School Games The Olympic Stadium

12/13th May County Championships Yeovil

2/3rd June England Senior Champs Birmingham

8th July Birmingham Games

14/15th July DSE Nationals Coventry

18/19th August England Junior champs Bedford

31st August Beginning of Paralympic Games


Following the advice of the Team South West we are now targeting only two countries to come to Cornwall, ie. Botswana and Swaziland, basically because I have lived there and they know me. A 16 page colour brochure has been sent out to them outlining the facilities we have to offer along with the cultural and entertaining aspects of the county, plus a breakdown of costs for accommodation and travel.

I can see that one of the overriding costs is the travel time and cost from London, but hopefully we can offset that with good facilities etc. The closing date for countries to claim their £25000 assistance is 29th February, but to prevent misappropriation they have to actually spend their own money first before claiming it back, which could be a factor that may direct some poorer countries to go direct to the athletes village when it opens on 16th July. So, if we do not here anything by the end of Feb we can more or less forget about it after six years of trying. But then, if you don’t try you will get nowhere, just like coaching.