ESAA provides a pyramid of competitions and activities for athletes through the county associations. They hope athletes will gain transferable skills through the process of training and competing. This year’s championship would have been held on the 11 July; on that day in 1955 athletes selected for the Staffordshire Schools’ team took part in a three-day training course run by teachers in the association who volunteered their time.
The programme shows that young athletes attended coaching sessions for their own events, as well as a range of academic and cultural subjects including “Out and About”, “Make-Up” and youth hostelling. The day was carefully regulated and finished with cocoa and biscuits at 9 pm. Which skills should today’s county athletes hear about?
It isn’t just the athletes who learn from county competitions and courses. Coaches, officials and volunteers benefit too. Sometimes you can become involved without even meaning to.
I got into athletics by mistake as I was merely keeping a friend company when she went to a course on judging Field Events and we discovered at the end of the course that we were supposed to take an exam. A month later we judged at the Kent Schools Championships. I then got involved with team managing the Kent teams at various ESAA events, although I couldn’t manage at the Track & Field Championships as I had already been selected as a judge from 1972 when they were held at Crystal Palace. Through my judging I got to know virtually all the members of the ESAA committee and Kent put me forward for election in the early 1990s, I was elected at my second attempt and I have been on the Committee ever since.