Highlights of the 3-day Athletics Nigeria Coaches’ Forum in Lagos – October 18-20, 2012

A total of 60 Coaches from all over the Federation participated in the programme. Apart from the open parlour which was created for intimate and frank discussion on the general issues affecting the optimum performance of our athletes and coaches, 4 other papers were presented formally.

Welcome Address by AFN Tech Director, Navy Capt Omatseye Nesiama.

Appreciate all the people that have determined to make a difference by showing open solidarity to the process of change to the technical management of track and field in Nigeria. This implies everyone present here in this hall, i.e coaches and managers.

I must single out the AFN President, Chief Evang Solomon Ogba for giving the backing to the Tech Committee’s Strategic Plan to achieve better performances at the world stage.

The Resource Persons Mr Rotimi Obajimi and Michael Afilaka for doing justice to the various topics of discourse in the past 3 days.

Highlights of the forum/clinic

A total of 60 Coaches from all over the Federation participated in the programme. Apart from the open parlour which was created for intimate and frank discussion on the general issues affecting the optimum performance of our athletes and coaches, 4 other papers were presented formally.

The entire programme ran as follows:

Day 1
During the opening ceremony, the AFN Project Rio 2016 Plan was unveiled by the AFN Tech Director, Navy Captain Omatseye Nesiama. The Plan succinctly highlighted the new vision and direction the AFN Technical Committee is going to focus.

The success of the plan would require all well meaning hands to be on deck. It requires close cooperation between the NSC, AFN, Corporate bodies, States, Local Governments, Military and Para military organizations.

It would also require the active contribution of parents and guardians of our kids, youth and junior athletes. The opening ceremony was shortly followed by an open forum.

Day 2
Two papers were presented:

  • Maximizing results through identification of elite performance components-A scientific approach. Coach Michael Afilaka.

He stated that having done all as a coach to properly identify performance components, the usual System problems should not deter the coach from from working within available resources and improvising within legally allowable limits to produce results.

His lecture also talked about applying synergy of effort between coaches and between coaches and other support personnel like chiropractors, psychologists, nutritionists and medical doctors.

  • Elite athletes’ Management – The coaches’ perspective. Coach Rotimi Obajimi.

He defined what constitute an elite athlete and specified the different strata elite athletes fall into. He was emphatic that being an elite coach requires an elite mindset. Hence, the need for coaches whether involved in athletes development or not, to know such management principles and structure in order to keep them in their sub conscious.

He took the participants through the Elite athletes management structure. In terms of operation, he specified that coaches must know his athlete’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats before setting goals, objectives at every stage, expected results and resources required.

They must also be able to make proper evaluation reports and submit to the Technical Committee when called for.

Day 3
A paper all participants were excited about was presented.

  • A contemporary approach to periodisation and yearly planning for developing/elite athletes. Coach Michael Afilaka.

He combined a theoretical approach with a practical method of athletes development planning and periodisation in different categories from the play years (9-12yrs), to introducing them to events eg strength, techniques (12-16 yrs) and event specialization (16-26).

Of interest, was he explaining how to maximize short periods that might be available to the coach to develop and train young athletes that might be available for just few hrs for maximum of 3 days in a week.

He further emphasized the need for age-grade competitions and as much as possible avoid/reduce mixing youth/junior/senior athletes in one particular competition.

Resolutions of the Coaches’ Forum

Some of the major points raised and agreed on are:

  • The need to proper profile and classify our coaches to enable a proper heirachy and for ease of administration. To this end, the coaches were directed to get themselves properly organized and brief the AFN accordingly.
  • The need for more IAAF courses to be organized.
  • For Coaches (especially foreign) to represent the country in any competition, even as personal coaches, they must be properly registered with the AFN and be made to sign a code of conduct to ensure their loyalty to the Nation while carrying out their duties.
  • AFN to make a case for the provision of requisite facilities especially in sports that have elite athletes but lack facilities. Eg. High Jump Uprights/foam, hurdles sticks. For instance, foam manufacturers could produce special ones for sports use and branded with their names as support to the sport.
  • The access restriction for athletes and coaches to the national stadium should be reviewed such that the timing of 2hrs be extended further or alternative training venues be provided.
  • The need for early camping to be called once likely athletes for particular competitions have been selected. These camps should be adequately supported with the required logistics.
  • The conduct of the Golden League needs to be reviewed to accommodate and encourage other promising events. Such events could be put in classic events. My take on this is that the zones should organize their own competitions to select athletes for the Golden League. As such, the number of Golden League competitions would reduce while zonal competitions would increase.