Chat from the Chair
Chat from the Chair April 2020
Well we currently find ourselves in a strange world of lockdown. Although there was nothing on the website from me during 2019 I have not gone away. I have recently been catching up on Club matters while enjoying all this free time.
It was about 1 year ago that the Club members were invited to complete an in-house survey looking at various aspects of the Club. I have at last read through the survey results and thought that I would bring things up to speed.
Thank you everyone who completed the survey. Apologies for the delay in responding but the 2019 Track & Field season created a barrier and things have been busy and hectic since then.
Many of the comments echo the thoughts of the Committee in many areas. Communications hopefully have improved and we have tried to use all forms of social media and the website to contact members. I did notice that some comments were that some people did not use Facebook. Unfortunately, we are not to know who uses which social media site. It has been suggested we use emails more but that is fine when email addresses are correct and up-to date. Many emails I have tried to use bounce back as undeliverable. Please try to check with the Membership Officer to see if the Club has your correct email address.
In the next few weeks we are planning to create a Club Newsletter which will be sent via email. This is something we have wanted to do for some time but until now we did not have a volunteer to produce a Newsletter. Natalie Weir has accepted that responsibility.
Other comments have been made re the recruitment of Coaches and volunteers. It is suggested that the Club pays Coach and Official Education fees. There is a school of thought that if that happens the individual has no ownership of the education programme. It could be that the club pays the fee to attend a course but that individual fails to attend and/or does not support the club in that role. We will consider partial payment but the individual then needs to commit themselves to supporting the Club in that role on as regular a basis as possible.
The Committee members usually have more than 1 role within the club and do not always have the time to chase people re their voluntary roles but the volunteer can approach anyone on the Committee if they want to develop their role further. Questions have been asked regards to not having courses at Derby – the simple answer is that England Athletics who deliver the courses request the course to be based at a track with an indoor facility for a Coaching course in the event of bad weather. Unfortunately, our indoor facility has been demolished by the Council. Therefore, we do not satisfy the criteria for hosting a course.
During the winter period we have experienced a variety of success from the youngsters winning the Derbyshire Mini Cross Country League, winning teams and individuals in the Midlands Cross Country League and great performances in the Northern and Welsh Cross Country Championships. At the other end of the scale our Masters have competed successfully and Chrissie Dover was recently ranked 5th in the Masters Cross Country rankings for the UK. Ben Connor was chosen to represent Team GB in the European Cross Championships in December in Lisbon. Ben had also competed in the 5000m in the World Championships last October in Doha. We were hoping for more success in Track & Field this summer but so far the Coronavirus has put paid to that for everyone – even the Olympics have been postponed until 2021.
The Club still requires volunteers to support the athletes and we will do all we can to accommodate volunteers on courses – financial and developmental support. If you are interested please contact a member of the Committee and they will know who to contact re applying for courses. We are very short of Coaches which we are aware of and cannot develop the Club and its athletes satisfactorily until we have sufficient coaches in place. Many of those completing the survey are also aware of that fact – please help us to help the Club.
There should not be as long as delay before my next chat from the Chair. I am usually at the Club most club nights please come for a chat – you will be made most welcome.
(24th April 2020)
Chat from the Chair December 2018
It is that time of the year again when we look back at the last year and wonder where it went.
As far as Derby AC is concerned 2018 has, by and large, been a successful year. Whether it has been cross country, road relays, track & field the club members have been successful individually and as team members.
The evening of Celebration at Morley Hayes in October 2017 seemed to kick-start a lift in the club’s confidence levels. There have been successes in the youngsters’ road relays and cross country races. Even the ‘golden oldies’ have been successful in the Women’s Masters cross country and road relays. Following her successes in the World Masters in Malaga Lisa Palmer-Blount still manages to show a clean pair of heels locally over various distances on the country and the roads.
The Club is proving to be a success in the North Midlands Cross Country League – after 3 of the 4 series of races. With 1 meeting to run in January at Wollaton Park it looks likely that we could win u13 Girls, u15 Girls, Women Vets, u13 Boys and u15 Boys and they are supported by the U11 Girls 2nd, u17 Men 3rd, u11 Boys 4th, Sen Women 5th and Sen Men 9th. This is 1 week after the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Cross Country Championships also at Wollaton Park.
The youngsters in the Derbyshire Mini Cross Country League are looking to repeat their triumphs of 2017. With 1 race to run (at Moorways on 15th Dec) they are in a commanding position individually and in the team stakes.
Several of our Track & Field athletes have been competing indoors already this season and there are a variety of Indoor Champs in the New Year starting the first weekend.
Following my previous Chat we have had a volunteer to Team Manage the YDL Lower Age Group teams (there are 2 meetings at Moorways in 2019). The Upper Age Group team are looking forward to renewing their competitions in the summer too. Not to be outdone the Seniors will be involved with the Northern Track & Field League (Div. 2EC) during the summer.
There are a variety of Cross Country Champs in the New Year at County, Area (Northern) and National level to look forward. The customary Road Relays end the main endurance programme with the Northern 12 and 6 stage relays for the men and women respectively.
Other members are competing in various Road Races.
England Athletics is funding a project to try to increase the number of volunteers in the Club. Volunteers from within the Club are few and far between, I am sure we have parents, etc who have the skills to help out the Club but they seem reluctant to step forward. Therefore, we are having to look outside the Club to assist the Coaches, become Coaches, help with the administration of the Club – we are short of a secretary – general help in the Clubroom on Club nights and, of course, Catering.
The current Catering Officer is standing down at the next AGM and her position is so important to the Club that we cannot operate successfully without 2 or 3 volunteers – if need be to role-share. Catering is the second largest income stream for the Club with a substantial annual cash turn-over; in addition we welcome Officials and visiting teams during the summer to Moorways and we need some energetic and forward-thinking replacements for Jayne. Unfortunately, this would be like all the other Club roles – an unpaid position.
The Celebration Evening held at Pride Park in October was very successful and a real honour to be part of it. We had about 170 guests that evening who all seemed to enjoy themselves. We are repeating the very successful Christmas fuddle from 2017 again on Thursday 20th December from about 7.15pm in the clubroom after training. All are welcome and it is FREE.
Finally, on behalf of the Committee I wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Successful 2019.
Chat from the Chair October 2018
It is a long time since I wrote my last Chat and now the busy Track & Field programme is history and those long, very hot summer days are confined to our memories. The athletes and coaches are to be commended on their perseverance in training in all that heat. I know at times I found it uncomfortable to officiate in the sun and to concentrate for hours on end.
Our Track & Field athletes have to be congratulated on their performances and another good season of results was recorded. The Mini League teams tried very hard and eventually finished 3rd overall. YDL Lower teams won their Division and won a place in the promotion match in July. Unfortunately, they were not able to win that final promotion but gave a very good account of themselves. The Upper YDL team, in the Midland Premier Division, encountered some very strong athletes/clubs and were relegated. It was disappointing that some were not prepared to travel and so we fielded incomplete teams at times.
Our Northern League team won the Division 2 EC, earned a place in the promotion match held in August and finished 3rd which was not a promotion place. Better luck next year!
The BAL proved to be a mixed response. Derby and Mansfield were allowed to compete jointly and this was the third year in a 3-year agreement. However, due to poor availabilities the Club withdrew from the first of 4 matches. The other matches were contested and we surprisingly finished 4th and retained our position in Div 4. What of 2019? At the moment it does not look good and we may be forced out of the BAL after a number of years of being in the top UK Inter-Club competition. The BAL is the British Athletics League and is the highest level of inter-club competitions in the UK.
There were other successes – Hannah Barnden became the Scottish Indoor u17 Pentathlon Champion; the Club had 4 athletes in the English Schools Combined Events Champs in September. Well done to the athletes and to Steve Palmer who coaches the multi-event athletes.
Barry Hawksworth went to Malaga for the European Masters Champs and came away with a bronze medal.
We must now look forward to competing in Road races, Cross Country and Indoors, not forgetting the Derbys Mini League Sports Hall and Cross Country.
Last winter was successful – let’s hope we can emulate 2017-18.
The Club relies on an army of volunteers – unfortunately we have only a platoon at the moment. Jayne is standing down in March as the Catering Officer. The Committee was hoping that someone would step forward to fill Jayne’s shoes and learnt the role from her while she is at the Club. Several of us are working hard to apply for funding to assist the recruitment of volunteers. As the response from within the Club has been poor to non-existent we are aiming for potential volunteers from the community outside the Club.
We are also looking for a replacement Team Manager for the YDL Lower Age Group. This is something I do not like to raise but I will. We have lost a Team Manager due to parent pressure. She was not prepared to put up with adverse criticism from several parents over team selections during this last season. The teams were selected using several criteria including Power of 10, availabilities and previous performances. It is felt by some of us that the purpose of league competition is to win and gain promotion to face stronger competition. High level competition is what forces athletes to progress and develop. Therefore, the Club policy would be to select as strong a team as possible. The Club will produce over the coming weeks a selection policy which will be published on the website. Therefore, there should be no argument after that!!
Parents please remember that we are all volunteers and are not paid for the hours we all put in to the Club. If we were paid the Membership fees would be about 3 times what they are now. Please do not abuse in any way our volunteers – unless you are prepared to put your head above the parapet and take some of the flak. In future, if there are any complaints please speak to the Chair. We are planning to put up photos of the Clubs’ Coaches, Team Managers and Committee so new parents can recognise these individuals in the flesh.
As this chat goes on the website the Club was planning to hold its Awards Evening at Pride Park to celebrate the Club’s successes. We sold many tickets for this event and thus it was not only your Committee who was looking forward to this event.
Your Committee meets regularly each month and the outcomes of Committee meetings is added to the website – but 1 month in arrears – while waiting to formally approve the previous meeting’s Minutes.
The Club’s website has all the contact details of the Committee members so we can be contacted by email or on the Club’s Facebook page although people have to be approved by the Club’s moderators. The website address is derbyathletic.club
Have a great winter and a successful preparation period this side of Christmas.
Chat from the Chair April 2018
It has been too long a gap since my previous chat but I have been otherwise engaged having to deal with my 96 year-old mother’s death in early February, her subsequent funeral and having to clear her bungalow from a distance of 100 miles. All that is now behind me and I hope I can spend more time on Club business from now.
The period since Christmas has involved many Championship competitions in cross country, road relays, indoor competitions plus the conclusion of many Leagues. In the Derbyshire Mini League our youngsters were overall Cross Country winners but did not fare as well in the Sports Hall where a lack of numbers affected our overall position. The lack of a suitable indoor training venue affected both performance levels and enthusiasm. I feel sorry for the Team Managers who tried very hard to instil some interest from our younger members.
In the major Cross Country Championships Paddy Welsh has figured highly in his races and has been the leading runner home for the under 13s. Well done to young Paddy and his coach.
The Seniors are of concern when we were unable to field teams in races which once upon a time the question was who would be 2nd to Derby? I understand too that a coach was organised for the Nationals at Parliament Hill Fields, Hampstead which was not fully supported by the Club after promises were made to support the coach.
Indoors there were several pleasing performances with pbs being set and in indeed Hannah Barnden winning the Scottish U17 Indoor Pentathlon Championship in Glasgow. Huge congratulations to Hannah and her coach, Steve Palmer.
Ben Connor represented Team GB in the World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia (hence he did not defend his English CC title). Ben finished 64th in 63:45.
The Annual General Meeting in March was poorly attended – again showing a lack of interest – which is not ideal for the Committee to look towards the future. However, to look forwards is what the Committee is about.
The Club’s themes this year will be consolidation (from 2017) and a recruitment of (more) volunteers. This Club cannot exist without volunteers – otherwise we will cease to exist. We need more people to commit to the Club and give something back instead of taking all the time. What can you do to help? I am sure you have skills to offer on a short-term basis. I would not expect people to spend their leisure time doing what they get paid to do.
We need an Administrative Officer, Child Protection Officer(s), Welfare Officer and Voluntary Helper Officer. We are looking for one or two people to take on the role of Catering Officer for when Jayne steps down at the next AGM. She has forewarned the Club so that whoever is interested can ‘learn’ the role’ from Jayne. Catering is the second most important income stream for the Club and is vital to maintain the Club’s existence. If you are interested please contact a Committee member for further details.
The Track & Field season is fast approaching with the Open Track Meetings each month at Moorways and the Leagues begin later this month. We need volunteers for Catering at each of those meetings. We are desperate for help on 5th May for the Northern League when Jayne is not available.
The members need help with being coached and the coaches need your help to move equipment, rake a sand-pit, hold a stopwatch, etc. These examples ‘free up’ the coaches to do what they have trained to do, i.e. Coach.
At Competitions we need to provide Officials – at YDL we need to provide 7 Officials plus Referees/Chiefs for home matches. 7 Officials give us 35 points provided 1 Field Judge is Level 2 (otherwise we could lose 5 pts) – that scenario would give us a bonus of 20 pts. We would, therefore, start with 55 pts before racing, jumping or throwing anything.
We are focussing on young members to volunteer and the Club is going to subscribe to England Athletics Games Changer programme. The Committee has agreed to open up applications for a Coaching Award – the John Tivey Award – to members younger than 25 years. Applications are open now and need to be completed and handed in to the Chair.
The Club is focussing on promotion from the Northern League in 2018 (we are in Division 2EC) to Division 1. This is the only Club competition which involves both senior men and women. We need Div 1 competition to encourage and attract senior female athletes. We have a team in Div 4 of the British Athletics League (BAL) which is important but is a competition for men only.
In the YDL the Upper Age Group are in Midlands Premier League competing against some strong opposition – full teams are vital for these fixtures. The Lower Age Group aim is for promotion with the first fixture at Moorways on 21st April. Jasmine Cooper and Molly Hudson have earned selection for the East Midlands Mini Marathon team at the London Mini Marathon on 22nd April.
Membership renewals are taking place this month but unfortunately, online payment is not available although we have looked in to the matter. When renewing members have to complete the new Membership Form to comply with GDPR laws which come in to operation in May 2018 otherwise the Club could be subject to a huge fine.
Previous Chats from the Chair
As we are fast approaching the end of this calendar year it has certainly been a ‘Year of Change’ – perhaps not as much as originally hoped but the Club has progressed. The Track & Field season was, on the whole, successful and this winter’s excursions have also been successful. The Road Relays produced some excellent results especially from the Senior Women’s team and the youngsters. The Cross Country Relays were another success with the U13 Boys winning the bronze medal at the National Championships in Mansfield.
Last weekend, the Derbys Mini Cross Country League reached its climax with the Club’s youngsters winning individual and team awards. Derby AC was the overall winners having taken the top Award in 4 of the 6 age group races. The athletes are to be congratulated for their endeavours.
WE also have the Derbys Mini SportsHall league running in parallel and unfortunately the Club is struggling here. We are suffering from not having the opportunity to train over the SportsHall events due to our Sports Centre at Moorways being flattened and now a pile of bricks and rubble. However, the Team Managers are still trying to raise teams and with only 1 match left in 2017 County places are up for grabs which may lead to the National SportsHall Finals in April.
The North Midlands Cross Country League soon reaches its climax with 1 race meeting left 2 weeks in to the 2018 and again the sights have been set high across the younger age groups. The Club is approaching a very busy time with 6 Cross Country Championships in 8 weeks and calls for careful consideration and application for the Coaches to avoid burn-out. These range from the County Championships to the Northerns, Nationals, Inter-Counties and Schools Championships.
Not to be outdone there has been a number of the Club’s members taking advantage of the indoor facilities in Sheffield in various Open Meetings and more Championships in the New Year for the Combined Eventers, sprinters, jumpers, hurdlers and middle distance athletes.
The summer fixtures are beginning to fill up from April through to September with several home matches where the Club needs help to put on the competitions. What can you do to help out? Any offer of help is appreciated and accepted. I was pleased to see at a recent Level 1 Officials course in the clubroom that Derby provided 33% of the turn out with 8 attendees from the 25 present. We are beginning to increase the number of Coaches within the Club but we still need more please.
The Club’s Officers are always pleased to receive offers of help to run the Club even if for 1 hour a month. 2018 is to be the “Year of Consolidation” following on from 2017.
It now leaves me to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous, healthy and successful New Year.
Where has the summer gone? I never intended another 4 month gap between my chats but everything has been fairly busy.
The track & field season is now history with the Club taking huge strides forward. The Northern League team earned promotion to Division 2EC by winning their 3rd Division matches. The next aim is win promotion again to the 1st Division. However, as these fixtures involve both genders the Team Management need total athlete support in all events.
In the YDL fixtures the Upper Age Group won promotion to Midlands Premier which again was the result of total commitment from all the team members. The Lower Age Group won a place in the promotion match but unfortunately did not quite make it to the Premier Division but not through the want of trying.
The BAL team were hampered through a lack of numbers willing to compete and as a result the joint team (joint with Mansfield) were relegated to Division 4. There was a very long discussion (at the September Committee Meeting) over whether the Club should leave the BAL with immediate effect. The vote was very close but it was decided to continue in 2018. That leaves us with a slight dilemma – do we concentrate resources in to the BAL or the Northern League?
The Club’s shortage of Officials created problems especially if the Club loses team points in a League as a result. The Club MUST have more Officials so that there is less reliance on those already heavily committed Officials (e.g. I attended 68 competitions plus 54 other days in track & field and 23 days at Cross Country & Road Racing. 145 days in total). It is time for some other younger people to start to assist the Club by learning how to be an Official. There is a Level 1 Track & Field course in our
Clubroom on Sat 4th November.
The winter season has started when several of the coaches (and athletes) continue to want to improve. The Club was successful in the Northern Road Relays and the National Road Relays while the first cross country event takes place at Markeaton Park on 14th October. The fixture list on the website gives a fairly detailed list of matches and competitions including cross country, road races and indoor competitions.
We are still very low in numbers of Coaches – the sprints group is progressing with Keith Bullock leading the group and ably assisted by Paul Blakey and Angie Bourne. We are desperate for helpers to assist the coaches – holding stopwatches, raking pits, collecting throwing implements, general encouragement – few technical skills are necessary but would allow the coaches to coach.
The Clubroom refurbishment has been completed in terms of painting and new tables & chairs. It is still not complete as we would like it but work is going ahead behind the scenes.
The Club’s second most important income stream is Catering. Now that the track & field season is over this would be a great time for volunteers to help behind the counter while there is little to no pressure. Jayne and Jenny would be more than willing to help teach people their ‘tricks of the trade’.
This time of year also means Annual General Meetings for the various Leagues and Derby AC should be represented at all the meetings.
Your Committee does not have all the answers to making progress and it is willing to listen to other people’s views. Please do not sit and chatter and moan – talk to the Committee members. By the time you read this the Club should have celebrated a successful year at Morley Hayes. The athletes, the most important people within the Club, have been very successful and ably supported by the Team Managers, Coaches and, of course, the many parents. I congratulate and thank everyone for their continued efforts and enthusiasm. 2017 has been a ‘Year of Change’ let’s make 2018 a ‘Year of Consolidation’.
Chat from the Chair – June 2017
I start with an apology. I have not written anything since the turn of the year in January and we are now half-way through 2017. Not sure about you but this year is flying by.
There have been many changes within the Club during the year. 2017 was dubbed the “Year of Change” for Derby AC.
At last the Clubroom has been refurbished – walls re-painted in all rooms, new flooring throughout, new stackable tables and chairs bought and in use. The idea was that with the Moorways Sports Centre closed and about to be demolished (as well as the Swimming Pool) we can clear the clubroom and use it as an indoor training facility for conditioning work for the youngsters. The Club has spent about £11k on the refurbishment.
There is still ongoing work in the Clubroom around the ‘bar area’ and the Trophy cabinet is in place and in use.
The photographs will soon be restored and put back on display. We are hoping to put up some more modern photos to reflect that progress is being made within the Club.
Athletically the Club is progressing. The Endurance teams were winning trophies during the winter starting with the Derbys Mini League and the County Championships and members selected for the County Cross Country teams in March. Pride of place must go to the Club’s first-ever Senior Men’s English Cross Country Champion, Ben Connor. Not only that but 2 members were selected to represent Great Britain in Cross Country – Ben Connor and Hugo Milner in the European Cross Country Championships in December. Hugo later went to the World Cross Champs in Kampala, Uganda in the U20 race.
This track & Field season the progress has continued – in the YDL (both Upper and Lower). Indeed as I write this both teams have earned a place in the re-vamped Midlands Promotion matches on 15th July and 23rd July. Congratulations are in order for all the team members and the Team Managers who have worked hard to ‘persuade’ members to compete. Much of the success has been due to the coaches – of which we are still short of numbers. Can anyone help to coach the athletes please? Any small amount is gratefully received.
The Northern League team are planning to earn promotion from Div. 3EC and are well on their way. However, the BAL team has had some disappointing results – mainly due to a lack of interest – and the Committee is considering withdrawing from the BAL in 2018.
Many Club members won medals at the County Championships in May and the County Schools Champs in June – several of whom have been selected for the English Schools Champs on 7th & 8th July in Birmingham.
I have the pleasure too to announce that your Chair has been selected as a Track Judge/Umpire at the World ParaAthletics Champs in the Olympic Stadium, London 14th – 23rd July and the World Champs in the same stadium 4th-13th August.
I have reported on the Club’s recent successes but we are in need of more volunteers – in many areas of the Club. Your Club needs You. We need more coaches, Officials (we lost 25 pts in 1 YDL match this year), helpers, Catering and ideas. What can you do for Derby AC? Parents are an important key – after all the Club is doing its utmost for your child – how can you help us to help your child?
I will try not to have such a long break from chatting in the future.
Chat from the Chair – January 2017
It has been some time since my previous communication in October. But first let me wish everyone connected with the Club a very Happy New Year and a successful 2017 in whatever you aspire to achieve.
2016 had its highs and lows in athletics terms. Since October the Club has been involved in the North Midlands Cross Country League and the younger age groups are setting a very good example in terms of team and individual performances. With 1 more race left to run let’s hope that they continue to run away with it.
The Derbyshire Athletics Cross Country Mini League proved very successful and the Club was overall winners and Valentina Costa won the U13 Girls title with 3 first places (in the 3-race series), and Amy Rouse was 4th; Alice Crane was 4th in the u15 Girls. The boys were not outdone either – Corey Rose and Billy O’Sullivan finished 1st and 2nd respectively and Jack Davies was 4th in the u13 Boys; and in the u11 boys James Rouse finished runner-up and Stanley Lowe 4th. In the team races the u13s proved too strong for the opposition. Credit can be attributed to the runners who supported the races and the Team Manager Paul Martin for his continual encouragement.
The Sports Hall Mini League continues but the Club’s success is limited due to the unfortunate low numbers supporting these events. The numbers have varied from a peak of 25 to a low of 12.
The County Cross country Championships saw in excess of 40 Club runners in Nottingham but only 4 Senior Men entered their Championship. 18 athletes have been selected to represent the County in March. Several individual titles were won plus 5 team titles. Well done to all the athletes.
Ben Connor followed his European Cross Country Team Gold medal in December in Italy with selection for the GB team at the Edinburgh Great Run on 7th Jan along with Hugo Milner (U20). Congratulations to both athletes.
We have had to adopt a waiting list for new members joining the Foundation Course due to the lack of coaches – we need more Coaches – the few are feeling the pressure! Can you help please even if it means holding a stopwatch or raking a sandpit. Every little helps.
A universal membership fee has been suggested starting in April 2017. We would welcome the Club’s views on this proposal please.
We were saddened to be given a final figure of between £4000 and £5000 to recommission Moorways Sports Hall for the winter (originally it was £400-£500). Needless to say we declined this offer.
The Club has a busy schedule for summer competitions and will need much support in terms of Team Management, Officiating and Catering. The latter is extremely important because it is the Club’s second largest item in its income stream (the first being Membership fees). Catering also plays an important role when it comes to other (non-Club) matches at Derby – schools fixtures, other clubs, County Champs, etc. Even if it is for an hour Jayne would be very grateful for your help. She also needs help on Thursday club nights – any volunteers?
We are planning on holding an extra fixture in April – a mid-week evening and using electronic timing (Photo Finish). The Athletics Festival is planned for 10th September and the Club needs assistance – planning begins now. Anyone prepared to assist please contact a Committee member – we are willing to teach anyone the skills needed to organise a Track & Field meeting. You could learn a new skill and it would help to reduce our work-loads.
Good luck to our athletes, team management and Officials in the huge number of Championships fast approaching – Derbys Schools, Northern Cross Country and Indoor Track & Field, National Cross Country (in Nottingham), English Schools Cross Country, Northern and National 12 & 6 stage Road Relays.
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