How We Organise our Coaching
The Club has c40 coaches who work in groups led by England Athletics qualified Athletics Coaches. They work to the UK Athletics Code of Practice which means that coaches must work to the principles of: Accountability; Integrity; Quality; Communication and Respect. The Code is available here.
Club training sessions are held at the Down Grange track on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 6 and 8pm. Some groups hold sessions on other days.
Athletics can be a hazardous sport, particularly on the track, therefore It is vital that athletes obey coaches’ instructions.
The Club’s Athlete Welcome Pack can be found here
Our two beginners’ groups introduce young people to running, jumping and throwing before they move on to more discipline focused training as they move through subsequent groups.
We have two starter groups. The first is led by Cheryl Ragan and Liz Flitcroft for athletes under the age of 11, and includes training in middle distance, sprints, jumps and throws. More detail is on our Under 11s page HERE
The second group is led by Sue Pett and is for young people aged between 11-16 and again offers sprints, middle distance some jumps and throws. This group is essentially a taster group to find which event they prefer and they are then moved onto the appropriate event group (this is usually within 3 months). The beginners’ groups have contact details to register your interest. We often have waiting lists so please be patient!
The following diagram shows how our coaching covers all athletics disciplines and ages. Click on each one to see a detailed description. Athletes’ journeys are of course determined by their interests and ambitions. We aim to give feedback on performance and developing skills which may encourage a change in direction.
At Year 6 we look to move athletes onto one of the senior training groups that are more specialised. Not all athletes are ready to specialise at this point and may want to keep their options open. This is increasingly seen as good practice both nationally and internationally and we are looking to expand this provision over time. In the short term, athletes moving on from Sue’s group will rotate through jumps, sprints, middle distance and throws for an agreed period. usually about 3 months.
The decision as to where athletes progress to is a 3-way process that takes into account the preferences of the athlete, their parents and also where the coaches think they would benefit the most.
On no account is any move permanent, and we strongly advocate that, if an athlete is unhappy, they talk to their coach, or if preferred, the Coaching Co-ordinator (Leigh Henderson) or Youth Development Officer (Nick Wells).
There is also nothing to stop athletes training in one group on Tuesday/Thursday, and undertaking specific training (hurdles, throws, jumps, sprints or middle distance) with another coach. It is important that coaches know which other group(s) athletes train in and when.
Please note that all members are required to compete for the club.
The diagram below shows the range of the Club’s coaching groups. Scroll down for more detail
Starter Group: Primary (Under 11)
Lead Coaches – Cheryl Ragan & Liz Flitcroft
Assistant Coaches – Jez Clarke & Terry Wegg
This is the beginners’ group for younger athletes looking to start in athletics aimed primarily at children in school years 3 – 5.
The group offers a wide range of running activities to give an introduction to the key sessions in athletics. This includes sprints, long distance, intervals, hill runs and relays to include the whole group.
The coaches also offer an introduction to the vortex throw (mini javelin) and long jump, which are the two main field events available to juniors in the under 11 age group.
The group regularly uses the track but most sessions are on grass.
Starter Group: Junior (Age 11+)
Lead Coach – Sue Pett
Assistant Coach – James Windley
This group is for children of secondary school age although in the spring/summer term some year 6 children will begin in this group.
The group offers an introduction to training predominantly in sprints, middle distance and long jump (in summer), before the athletes move on to one of the established training groups.
The following groups are primarily for junior athletes aged 11-18:
There are two routes for middle distance athletes from 11 years onwards. They work in parallel and the choice of group is guided by the beginners group coaches in discussion with parents, athletes and the coaches concerned.
Groups A-B-C (11-adult)
The main focus of these groups is middle distance running with an emphasis over the winter on cross-country races. The group is divided into three groups (A, B & C) based primarily on age and ability.
Most training is on grass, although some sessions are on the track.
Progression through the groups or elsewhere is subject to the wishes of the athlete and suitability as specified by the coaches.
Lead Coach – Ian Byett
Assistant Coach – Steve Ladhams
Lead Coach – Leigh Henderson
Assistant Coach – Donna Mulholland
Lead Coach – Mark Richards
Assistant Coach – Jason Sutton
Run, Rest, Repeat: Junior Middle Distance Group (11-17)
Lead Coaches – Jo Breeds & Dave Ragan
Assistant Coaches – Jamie Lamport & Caroline Slimin
This group trains athletes for middle distance running with an emphasis on cross country races over the winter. Most training is on grass, although some sessions are on the track.
Junior Sprints (11-13)
Lead Coach – Nick Wells (Youth Development Officer)
Assistant Coach – Brian Ellarby
Our youngest Sprint focused Group starts from the age of 11 and is coached by Nick Wells. The primary goal of this group is to teach basic sprinting technique including Sprint starts in preparation for moving onto our older training group’s whilst trying to still keep the “fun” aspect. The training takes place on the track and grass areas around Down Grange with distances ranging from 50 – 400m’s, however longer distances are involved within conditioning sessions. Entry into competition is strongly encouraged.
Sprint Groups (13-17)
Lead Coaches – Pete Bolton & Stacey Theodore
Assistant Coach- Lisa Hedderly & James Arbury
We have two over 13 Sprint Groups these are coached by Pete Bolton and Stacey Theodore which focus on honing the skills the athlete has acquired already over distances ranging from 100 – 400m. Longer distances are undertaken for conditioning purposes. Competition entry for the club is expected.
Multi Events (11-17)
Lead Coach – Andy Sleap
This group offers athletes the opportunity to train in a range of disciplines geared towards multi-events.
Club Tuesday and Thursday training sessions (track and grass) cover sprints and middle distance, with some throws. In addition, Andy offers further Monday and Wednesday evening sessions in the track season plus all year weekend sessions geared towards hurdles, jumps and throws.
These extra sessions are also open to athletes in all other training groups.
Regular attendance, especially in the winter, is essential as most of the technical work is done in this period with tweaking during the track season.
For jumps and hurdles the sooner the athlete starts the better, so if any year 5s are interested please speak to Andy.
All members of the group are required to compete for the club.
Long Sprints Group (13 – Adult)
Lead Coach – Ben Hazell
Assistant Coach – Katia Hazell
The group has a wide range of ability offering a competitive but fun group. These sessions will allow you to develop your speed, speed endurance and accelerate your understanding of how to warm-up, train and compete.
Throws Group (Age 11+)
Lead Coach – Deborah Montgomery
Assistant Coaches – Scott Addington & Victoria Fitzgerald
Secondary school age and above for beginners to competitive level throws.
Club Tuesday sessions focus on Shot, Thursday on Javelin and Saturday for Hammer and Discus from the cage.
The winter sessions are a combination of conditioning and technical throw drills
Athlete Progression to Senior Groups
Progression to the senior groups is based upon the needs of both the athlete and through discussion with their coach. There is no obligation for over 18s to move up from the junior groups. Under 18 athletes may be offered occasional sessions with senior groups to experience the change in intensity that moving up will bring.
The following groups are generally for late teenage, Senior and Veteran athletes
Lead Coaches – John & Debbie Davis
A specialist group aimed at those athletes that have attained a high standard in the sprint events.
Lead Coaches – Barry Kitcher & Martin Tarsey
A group for older teenagers and adults that have reached a competitive standard. Focused on middle distance of 400m up to 5000m on the track and an emphasis on the cross country over the winter months.
Lead Coach – Rod Finch
Assistant Coach – Tracey Joseph
A group for older teenagers and adults with an emphasis on middle distances of 400m up to 5000m on the track and on cross country over the winter months.
Lead Coach – Rafer Joseph
Adult group for athletes of competitive standard at multi events with a strong emphasis on jumps and throws.
Road & Trail Running Group
Lead Coaches – Tim Fowler, Don Powell, Terry Wegg, Andy Cullen, Andy Goddard, Ray Gartland, Jenny Froud & Michael Hickey.
A mixed adult group of all ages and abilities, with the focus on road and trail running over distances of 5k up to marathon and beyond. The group also take part in cross country, fell and hill racing.
Sub Groups (Tuesday Only):
Marathon Group led by Terry Wegg & Andy Goddard
An 18 week training schedule from December to April.