Club Feature: Cardiff Athletics and Cardiff Archers
With the return of a full competition programme after two years of disruption, both Cardiff Athletics and Cardiff Archers found that the absence of schools’ sports days had left many of their younger members without any competitive experiences and too nervous to compete.
Both clubs decided to join forces to create a friendly competition environment where the children could choose exactly which events they wanted to compete in and the first Inter-City Junior Open was born.
A short evening format proved to be the most popular option with a simple timetable that allowed the children to take part in a Run Jump Throw format of competition throughout the evening with the option of an additional endurance race at the end of the night if they wished.
Almost 140 athletes from both clubs took part on the evening with over 20 club volunteers, coaches and parents learning about and supporting the delivery.
We caught up with Phil Warwicker and Lorraine Price from the two clubs about their reflections:
“Every single piece of feedback we’ve had from the athletes has been overwhelmingly positive, saying they just had so much fun in that environment. Even the ones who started the evening with some nerves were asking to compete in more events by the end. We’ve also had a number of parents who helped out on the night begin their officiating qualifications so the club infrastructure has become stronger as a result of this event too.”
Lorraine Price, Cardiff Athletics
“All of our athletes had a really great experience. My advice to other clubs looking to run these kind of development evenings would be to keep it simple and make it fun. You don’t need to have every event on offer – let the athletes dictate what events they want to take part in. The focus should be very much on their experience and individual development rather than times and performances”
Phil Warwicker, Cardiff Archers
“At Welsh Athletics, we have been advocating a multi-disciplinary approach for our younger members for a number of years, and this format of competition is exactly what young athletes need after a disruptive two years. Focussing on fun, enjoyment and development of not just athletes but volunteers too is key to retaining people in our sport and this event did exactly that. Well done too all those involved with the initiative – we look forward to seeing the future success of these competitions.”
Rhiannon Linington-Payne, Head of Competition, Welsh Athletics