Coaches perform athletic drills in Inagua
Continuing with the coaching clinics in the deep south, a trio of coaches from the capital said that they are enthused with the interest shown, pleased with the progress already made, and optimistic about the future.
The Bahamas Association of Athletic Coaches (BAAC) started its out island initiative this month, sending three coaches to Inagua to assist in the athletic development on that island.
There has been theory and practical sessions in sprints and hurdles, the throws and distance events.
Sprints coach Ednol Rolle, an athletics coach at the University of The Bahamas (UB), said that everything is going well so far.
“The kids and coaches were very excited to get started,” he said. “We did some sprint work, and I think it went well. Something like this is very important for the Family Islands because it’s not like Nassau or Freeport where there are facilities. In the Family Islands, they have to improvise and use what they have because there are little to no facilities at all.
“I believe that coming here and doing this for Inagua will go a long way. I trust that the coaches and persons who get this knowledge will now run with it and continue with it when we leave. You don’t want to start something and then it just dies down. Hopefully it continues.”
Travelling to Inagua with Rolle were coaches Ronald Cartwright and Foster Dorsett. Dorsett said that his focus was to identify a grass area suitable for a practice track, and also team up with Coaches Cartwright and Rolle to add a distance program to what was already being offered. Rolle took care of the sprints and Cartwright staged throwing clinics and sessions.
Dorsett was able to mark out a 300m track on the softball field in Inagua that was put to use. He said that he is pleased with the response from the athletes and coaches, and is looking forward to a continuation of the program.
“We all know that the Family Islands are lacking facilities, but hopefully with the field that we were able to mark it, we could have some sort of continuance so that the kids could have some semblance of sprints and distance running that they are training for,” said Dorsett. “The challenge is that this track isn’t permanent. They desperately need a permanent training place in Inagua. At some point in time, they are going to be playing softball here and the markings will disappear. For now, they have someplace they could call home for training purposes, and this needs to happen on a number of the Family Islands. We were able to impart some of our knowledge and hopefully it can be maintained and continued.”
At the end of their time in Inagua, Coach Rolle said that there will be a quiz to determine how much has been learnt, and also that there will be a follow-up in a few months. He said that the goal is for them to impart their knowledge, for there to be retention, and for them to continue with their coaching assistance in the Family Islands – all in an effort to further develop that talent in the out islands.
Coach Cartwright said that the throwing devices will be left in Inagua, and assured that he will check back with the program in a couple months to examine the progress of the young athletes down there.
“One of the things that I was impressed with was the number of interested young athletes here,” said Cartwright. “There has already been a lot of improvement and the kids are very enthused. With improvement comes more intense workouts and then it continues. Hopefully, it all goes well.”
Cartwright said that he started off in a classroom setting, going through various stances, throwing movements, proper techniques and when to release the throwing devices. He is pleased with what he saw from the young athletes.
“The kids are coming along very well. The practical part needs some work, but we have to remember that we are in the Family Islands and they don’t have any equipment or facilities,” said Cartwright. “There is a lot of talent here and I’m optimistic as to what could come out of these clinics.”
So far, the BAAC Family Island Youth Development Training Program is said to be a huge success with profound results already. The coaches said that the excitement is evident, and added that hopefully it continues.
BAAC President Shaun Miller said that they are pleased that they were finally able to get the program off the ground.
“This program has been a dream of the BAAC for some time. These coaches have offered their time and skills for an eight-day program that was to focus on the young and inexperienced kids,” said Miller.
“This was a great opportunity for the Family Island coaches to tap into the very knowledgeable coaches who were conducting the sessions and we’re grateful that they took advantage of that.”
The BAAC released a statement saying that funding for this initiative is vital for it to be continued/expanded and ultimately successful. The release congratulated Coaches Rolle, Cartwright and Dorsett, for the job that they did in Inagua, and added that they look forward to more information and sharing regarding the workshops, practical workouts and program development in the Family Islands.
Miller is hopeful that a couple more coaches will volunteer their time next month so that they can venture into the second phase of the program and head to another one of the out islands to conduct seminars.
“As stated, this has been a dream to get this program off of the ground and we cannot do it alone. We need the assistance of the Family Island coaches with housing, transportation, grounds for the training and meals for the coaches,” said Miller. “We would like to thank Coaches Cartwright and Rolle for offering their time, talent and treasures to this very important and worthy cause. It would be remiss of us if we do not also thank the dedicated Inagua coaches/teachers who have assisted us with getting this first seminar off the ground.”
Miller said that it is their intention to increase the level of coaching across the length and breadth of The Bahamas, which will in turn impact young athletes.
Education: College of The Bahamas, Associates in Accounting