By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Some 16 Track and Field Coaches including six females, have obtained their International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Level I Coaching certification, after successfully completing their 12-day course on Dec 21.
The certified coaches are: Akim Lewis, Tehymal Huggins, Erwin “Redz” Telemaque, Burt “Percy” Dorsette, Orville “Tunga” McMaster, Shamica Glasgow, Jennifer King, Hillary Skelton Malone, Bianca Dougan, Willis “Spuddo” Maduro, Johnt’a Charles, Limiel Hodge, Eustace “Boss” Freeman, Karene King, Sanya Penn and Javon Carty.
“This is just the beginning of your journey, you have the concepts, the education to go on your journey…don’t take offense if you have to be corrected along the way,” said Chief Coach Dag Samuels, who has been coaching for 38 years and pointed out he too still needs to be corrected. “You’re never too old to learn.”
Lead instructor Angel Luis Rosario of Puerto Rico, said it was a special moment for him. “I have been in a lot of English speaking countries and had butterflies coming here because of the language, but I was made to feel comfortable,” he said. “Throughout the course you have been the best group I’ve ever had. You represent the seed of athletics for this beautiful country. And like a seed, you will continue to grow athletes in the BVI. In 5-6 years from now, everybody will be hearing about the British Virgin Islands and I will be following you as well.”
Emphasizing the importance of the course, Digicel’s General Manager Kevin Gordon said the years ago, there was never even a thought that the Caribbean would have the world male and female sprint champions.
“Without the proper tools, as much as we aspire to get there, it’s difficult to achieve,” he said. “You are as great as you want to be. The foundation has been laid, you have the opportunity to be some of the best coaches in the BVI and across the Caribbean. You now have the tools, you have gotten the skills, now use it.”
Maduro has been a starter, sets up track equipment and has been dipping in coaching. He said he was encouraged to take the course, but, had no interest in taking it. “I’m glad I went through it—it was hard—but l loved it,” he said. “I’ve learnt that you have to teach those children the basics and the right way from the beginning. If you don’t they won’t get it at all.”
Dorsette had been coaching for a number of years and many thought he had been certified. He said it was a great experience and much of what he expected.
“What this course has done is to give me some brand new ideas and it helped me believe in what I’ve been doing all the time and it also helped me exert myself with the way I’ve been training all the time,” he explained. “With that athletes I’m training now, and at the age they are at, the course was definitely designated to such kids ages. I’ve learnt a lot and will implement some of the progressions that we did, how they were done, identifying the different stages and it will help me select my athletes with what they do best and work on it for the better.”
Retired athlete Bianca Dougan, said the course was fun and educational and at the same time she learnt a lot and it was worth the time. “This course will help me a lot because the information was well received,” she said. “As a coach, I would have a lot to give back to my community and the young athletes out there, especially the hurdlers.”
McMaster has two promising young daughters in the sport and was encouraged to take the course by fellow coach Jennifer King and Samuels.
“Basically, this has made me realize that winning isn’t everything and pushing the kids too hard, too early, can be a big mistake,” he noted. “Now, I’ll have to take things easier, let it take its course and hoping everything works out for the best.”