Train Smart, Get Ready For Games

The competition has long been a breeding ground for athletes who have gone on to represent Fiji in track and field events in major international meets such as the Olympic Games.
01 Apr 2021 14:52
Train Smart, Get Ready For Games
Athletes competing at the Triple N 3000metres race at ANZ Stadium on March 11, 2021. Photo: Ronald Kumar

After missing out last year, the Coca-Cola Games is back.

The ANZ Stadium in Suva will play host to thousands of athletes from schools throughout Fiji over three-days of intense competition set for April 22-24.

Like the Melbourne Cup in Australia, the Coke Games, with thousands of followers across the country, is the local competition that brings the entire nation to a standstill.

This year’s games will be interesting with Suva Grammar School looking to end Ratu Kadavulevu School and Adi Cakobau School’s reign.

The competition has long been a breeding ground for athletes who have gone on to represent Fiji in track and field events in major international meets such as the Olympic Games.

While others had gone on to make their mark in rugby, rugby league, football, volleyball and netball.

Some of the athletes are Paula Bale, Meli Rabonu,Salote Naulivou, Iliesa Tanivula, Tilash Naidu, Vasiti Vugakoto, Senimili Roqica, Marika Koroibete and the list goes on.

Identifying those athletes at an early stage of their development is a crucial part of that process.

This is where it is important for coaches and teachers to understand the nature of the events the students are preparing for.

Teachers and coaches are often pinned to a tight spot while searching for athletes who can participate in certain events.

They are expected to cover all areas of teaching and training in a short period of time.

Identifying the right athletes for the right events and training them for competition requires a good deal of planning and execution.

It is important not to force athletes to take up a particular event based on their physical features but ensure that they are properly trained for those events.

Forcing athletes is the reason many collapse and suffer injuries like torn muscles before reaching the finishing line.

A good example could be the middle and long distance events such as the 800m, 1,500m and 3,000m which are endurance-based events.

Some athletes run at rates that best suit them physiologically. When they compete with fast runners during competitions they are forced to lift the tempo to a level their bodies might not be used to.

The excessive workloads lead to injuries or collapse at the finish line because they don’t have enough in the reserve tank to match their opposition.

It is always good to develop the athletes during the off-season.

Athletes are to be trained in the required endurance to prepare the runner to compete in events such as the 800m, 1500m and the 3000m.

Another important but often neglected area is teaching athletes the difference between techniques and tactics.

This is where they try to improve their performance, while the latter involves planning for a race, throw or jump.

These days a coach cannot sit back and wait for a natural athlete to show up at training.

They often have to go out and search from a pool of interested students and train them accordingly.

Evidence suggests that good performance generally depends on boys and girls having fun while participating in a particular sport.

In other words: Without fun, there can be no victory.

Occasionally a great performer arises from the average group.

Coaches and teachers should encourage as many students as possible to participate in track and field events.

Coaches in schools should draw up training plans that will help the athletes improve their performance during the inter-house, further it during the zonal meets and peak during the Coke Games.

This goes back to the preparations period that the coaches have during the off-season period.

The performance of these kids depends on the preparation that they have.

In order for athletics as a sport to grow and prosper it will be necessary to change our way of looking at the season to prepare our athletes in school.

Coaches and teachers should learn to have goals and plan in advance.

Let’s be realistic as coaches, trainers and teachers the competition is not about us or about winning it is about the participation of the students and the learning they get out of the meet.


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