Introduction


Performance is what athletics is about. In his or her way to top performance the athlete will always experience up and downs. The coach is the one who is there to listen to the latest good or bad news. As a friend and mentor the coach plays an important role to execute the performance on the track and on the field.

During the years of preparation and communication performance is the end product of a relationship between athlete and coach. There must be an open channel of communication to enable the athlete to be positive to strive for the best achievement and to stay in touch with his or her future goals.

It is a necessary ingredient of effective coaching to have two-way communication between coach and athlete. The coach inspires and plans the way to a gold medal or a record. In the coaching business the coach must show the athlete the way forward to make short-, medium- and long-term goals happen.

Motivation


Basically motivation means to strive to find meaning in a person’s life.

Flowing from this an athlete’s life becomes meaningful by fulfilling the desire to feel competent and valued because he or she is proud of a performance. By committing him- or herself an athlete can experience joy and meaning through a sense of purpose and ongoing challenge.

To be really motivated means that your motivation to pursue a goal comes from the inspiration you get from deep inside yourself. People who are primarily motivated by an internal drive can overcome setbacks much better and have longer athletic careers. An athlete gets internally motivated by exploiting natural reserves within her or his mind and body to develop her or his abilities to the fullest.

External motivators can also help the athlete. It is important to be rewarded for training and experiencing success by breaking records and winning medals. Pressure from coaches and parents is not necessarily bad for athletes in the long term but self-motivation and fulfilment makes an athlete truly successful.

It must also be emphasised that motivation and goals go hand in hand. Setting a goal is a skill which must be developed. The athlete must learn to differentiate between long-term and short-term goals. A long-term goal is a goal which one would like to achieve in the future. In contrast short-term goals are usually the steps which lead to the achievement of long-term goals. Goal-setting involves having a plan to achieve a goal. An athlete must be realistic about the goal he or she wants to achieve. A definite target date must also be set to attain a goal.

The following are pointers that can help an athlete to keep him or her focused on the goal for the season:

  • Write down your goals (short-, medium- and long-term goals) as well as the plan and time frame you have in mind to make them happen;
  • Be clear and committed about the goals you want to achieve;
  • Take your goal-setting one step at a time;
  • Have confidence in yourself by believing that you have the ability to attain a certain goal;
  • Keep a daily record of what you have done to get closer to your goals;
  • Maintain a close relationship with your coach to help you attain your goals.

It is therefore clear that motivation is about striving to achieve a goal. To pursue high-performance goals can provide a sense of purpose to an athlete because the activity in itself has value to him- or herself. The challenge of giving everything for a race or performing the perfect long jump technique adds a special meaning to the athlete’s life.

Speed Training

Athletes in the sprinting events (100 meters, 200 meters and 400 metres) have fast twitch muscles while distance runners have greater cardiovascular (heart-lung) systems. Developing the fast twitch muscles receive therefore more attention in the sprints

Fundamentals of Hurdling

Hurdling requires good speed, power and flexibility.

To run fast between the hurdles an athlete must have good technique. The important factor in hurdling is to know how to get his or her feet on the ground after clearing a hurdle.

Long Jump Training

In the long jump speed and explosive power must be developed in a well-planned training program. This plan must stretch over a long period.

An important factor in long jump training is to develop strength.