Getting Set Up
When we talk to clubs about setting up a junior section the most common questions we hear are around the extra rules, policies and documentation that need to be in place. This guide sets out to show that this is not as involved as many clubs think and where extra items are required aid with the creation of these.
The first important step when setting up a youth section is to find a suitable person to act as the main point of contact and co-ordinator of activity for the new section. Their role will be to:
- drive forwards overall development of the youth section
- co-ordinate creation and delivery of a development plan
- report to the clubs main committee on all youth section issues
- liease with key partners (i.e. triathlonScotland, facilities provider etc…)
- co-ordinate running of section including administration
- support coaches
The youth section leader will require support from others in the club and should be supported by a small junior sub-committee. The exact make up of this committee will vary and should be set-up to integrate as well as possible with your clubs existing committee structure. Don’t be afraid to ask people to help out be it on this committee or with other specific tasks. If given a clear role description people are often grateful for the opportunity.
One of the first jobs for the new leader/co-ordinator of the youth section will be to make contact with the development team at Triathlon Scotland. We will be happy to come out and meet with the youth section leader and committee to discuss their ideas for the section and provide advice and guidance as to how to proceed.
It is key with any major club development issue that the key individuals involved have the support of the whole club! It is therefore important that the starting of a youth section is approved in keeping with the clubs constitution (which may also need updated to reflect any changes), this will either be through committee approval or a vote by all members at an AGM or EGM. If your clubs needs support with this step please contact Triathlon Scotland.
When looking for coaches to lead or assist with the coaching of a youth section you are looking for 3 key atributes:
- They will look to include all in the sport of triathlon regardless of ability.
- They are armed with lots of games and ways to make sessions fun and exciting.
- They must have a passion for the sport of triathlon and be enthusiastic about coaching young people.
It is imporatant to remember that to be a great coach you don’t need to be a great triathlete, this is never more true than when coaching young people so it may be worth thinking about the type of people you approach to be involved. Parents will often be a lot more keen to help when their children are part of the sessions!
Other key points when recruiting coaches:
- When coaching under 18’s it is important that correct coaching ratios are always maintained, this means there should never be more than 8 athletes per coach.
- All coaches must be PVG checked if working with under 18’s, for more information on PVG checking please visit the welfare page of out website.
When starting any major new project within your club it is a good idea to create a plan for its development or to include the project in your clubs overall development plan.
For more information and advice on writing development plans head to the Club Development Planning page of the Club Toolkit.
It is important when setting up a youth section that the club is able to provide the young people with dedicated training suitable to their needs, this will normally mean adding additional sessions to your clubs calendar.
Finding suitable facilities to run training sessions in is not always a simple task, the following few ideas aim to help make it easier:
- Contact your local authority sports/club development team, they will be able to give advice surrounding local authority and leisure trust facilities as well being able to provide your club with the relevant contact details.
- Look wider than local authority/leisure trust facilities, for example schools often have facilities that can be hired.
- Think about opportunities for training venues that don’t cost anything, local parks might be suitable for summer run sessions for example.
Once you have found suitable facilities to use for sessions it is important that a Risk Assessment is carried out, if you are using a managed facility this, along with Emergency Operating Procedures and Accident Reporting Procedures may be available from the venue manager. If you want more information on these documents or are not using a managed facility and require a template please see the downloads section below.
Once you have coaches and facilities in place and are ready to get started with your youth section it is worth considering how you are going to launch it. Having a launch event is a great way to increase local knowledge of what your club is doing. Consider hosting a ComeAlongAthon and advistising it in schools and local sports centres as well as informing local swimming, cycle and athletics clubs.
This is where the fun really begins! The first few sessions should be based around lots of enjoyable activities and introducing those taking part to the types of things they will be doing in training sessions going forwards. It is also a good idea to get the group together and get them to write their own training code of conduct, if they write it they will enjoy sticking to it!
Important: Before an athlete takes part in any session some detail should be collected from them, this can be done either online through a system such as entry central or on a paper form completed by their partent/guardian when they arrive. Details from this such as emergency contacts must be available to those delivering sessions. Attendance should be recorded at every session so as the coaches know and have record of who is there. Templates for both of these forms can be found below.
For more information on running regular sessions click on the Running Sessions for Youths/Juniors icon above.
Once the young people in your club begin training regularly they will quickly be ready for some competition. This may initially only be within your own club to give them some experience of racing and linking together multiple disciplines but it will eventually be time to go to an event.
For information on the competative opportunities for young people head over to the Youth Triathlon section of the website.