A total of 32 athletes aged 12-17 attended the Aspire Development Academy for four days, between 21st and 24th January 2014.
The academy is aimed at helping athletes in the transition from junior to senior athletics, and from club level to regional and national representation, with theory sessions and practical workshops.
“In a drive to encourage youth athletes to stay with the sport into the senior ranks, Athletics Auckland introduced this programme to give the participants an understanding of the commitment and discipline needed to succeed at the top level, and from this, the satisfaction that can result through achieving their goals”, says Peter Wyatt, Chairman of Athletics Auckland.
The sessions were held at Mt Smart Stadium, with the Distance athletes doing an afternoon session at Cornwall Park and the Panmure Swimming Pools.
Every morning there was a theory session designed for learning everything involved about being a senior athlete. These included a basic rule session taken by Anthony Curry, Athletics Auckland Sports Development Officer, a gym session with Matt Dallow, a lecture from Drug Free Sport NZ and a nutrition lecture from the Massey University’s Head of School of Sport and Exercise, Professor Steve Stannard.
Anthony Curry, Athletics Auckland Sports Development Officer says “the practical workshops coaches did an excellent job with the athletes, which meant every athlete got something out of the academy”.
Workshops coaches were Josh Hawkins and Matthew Wyatt (Sprints, Hurdles and Jumps), James List (Distance) and Sonia Slade (Throws).
Due to the success of the programme, Wyatt says “we intend to make this programme a permanent fixture on the calendar and through feedback from those involved will continually improve the programme to keep it relevant and enjoyable.”