Tralee Harriers Best practices
Tralee Harriers Athletic Club was formed in March 2002 with the amalgamation of two existing athletic clubs in the Tralee area, namely St John’s Athletic Club & Clounalour Athletic Club. St John’s Athletic club had been in existence since 1958 & Clounalour Athletic club since 1975.
The club has continued to grow with both Juvenile & Adult Athletes. Today athletes compete locally, provincially & nationally, as well as some of our junior & senior athletes competing on the European stage.
Tralee Harriers Athletic Club recognises that athletics is an inclusive sport regardless of one’s age or ability – the club was founded on this belief & remains a vibrant ethos within the club to this day & is reflected in the considerable number of Juvenile athletes taking out membership annually that are differently-abled, despite having physical challenges (Down Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Learning Difficulties etc etc.) they attend all the various training sessions offered as well as competing at all possible championships.
Our athletes range from 8 years of age to 80 years. We provide weekly training sessions for juvenile athletes both indoor & outdoor. Athletes are offered the following disciplines: - running, jumping, throwing, relays, games, strength & conditioning programmes.
The club is run by a group of dedicated volunteers who have brought the club to its current high standard. Our coaches are qualified at grade 1, 2 & 3 levels coaching, according to standards that are set by the AAI. They give freely of their time, not alone at training sessions but also take on other roles including, development of primary school children, leader programmes for TY students, the all too thankless job of fundraising for the club and community games, as well as stewards at local & provincial competitions.
Although the club is very proud of the high standard which they have reached it is not prepared to sit back and take things easy. Plans for the further development of the training grounds are in the pipeline building on from the recent addition of purpose built lighting for winter training, cage for throws area, 110m tartan track lanes and Long jump tartan lane it is anticipated that work will begin middle of 2019 to make a full 4 lane 400m track. No doubt this will be achieved through the clubs committees continued hard work & dedication & continued support from the local community.
Recruiting members is key to the club and this comes about in two different ways. We send posters to all of the Secondary schools when the training seasons starts in September, when athletes do well at competitions we inform their schools so that they can be acknowledged by their peers and this has yielded membership We also send Posters to Primary schools in the catchment area in January but most of our “Smallie” memberships comes through out CLUB SCHOOLS LINKS Programme
This is where some of our coaches work with Active Leisure Transition Year students in both Mercy Mounthawk and Tralee CBS The Green. The students are shown how to deliver aspects of the Little Athletics programme and they go into the DEIS Schools and deliver this fun introduction to athletics to all primary school children. We have been very lucky in continually getting 40 plus new kids each year. (Although, like all clubs they don’t all stick it out but many do return in their secondary school years)
We in Tralee Harriers look at ways of making training fun and rewarding as well as making sure that competitions are not just an event where the focus is on medal table position.
Our sessions are broken down into a few weeks of hard work and then a fun evening where the coaches will set up some form of an obstacle course where athletes will team up and still get their work out but in a fun different way and this evening will finish with a little treat of cupcakes, Lollypops and some minerals, these party nights also happens at Halloween, Christmas, Easter and end of season fun.
Every November we have an annual social where all club members are awarded a trophy this goes for all, including those who only participate at training sessions they receive an award for attendance right up to athletes who win medals at national and European events. In January the athletes will come back from competition not happy about the medals they have won but about the awards night trophy they have just secured.
Travelling to and from competitions is generally done on busses, as part of this we encourage the athletes to interact with one another and often have “battles” to pass the time, these take the form, of Rap, Poetry, songs, Coaches have a small reward for the best one . Travel games are played and the all important goodies bags are handed out. (These goodie bags seem to be more important to the junior athletes than the smallies, BIG KIDS that they are)
Our Facebook page is very active and all achievements are recognised at competitions, we make sure that if an athlete was only there for one race but was knocked out in first heat that the achievement of taking part is highlighted and celebrated as much as the athlete that wins 5 Golds.
We celebrate all athletes that achieve outside the club on personal levels especially those with disabilities who are in other clubs
Athletes are encouraged to offer feedback on their session and this helps us to improve our planning and alter session to suit their needs.
Parents are encouraged to take part as much as possible, from taking attendance doing the grunt work of raking pits, setting out and clearing up cones at training to help the coaches to run the sessions rather than spending valuable time setting up and clearing down. This year we are introducing parent council where that will be in charge of fundraising and social outings.
Every year at the awards night we display a picture gallery of the athletes at competition training and various activities. We show their work from poems, art work, and every year a selection of Juniors write a passage about their time in athletics and talk about where they started and where they want to be in coming years, these are also shown on the big screen as motivational tools for the young athletes.