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The Power Of Ten

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Edirin Okoro runs for his club Birchfield Harriers
World Junior Championships athlete Edirin Okoro - one of Birchfield Harriers top performers

  

Continuing our series of progression articles, this month E-Inspire looks in more detail at the lifeblood of our sport – the clubs – and the impact they have on the Power of 10 rankings.

 

Some might wonder how Power of 10 can engage clubs to improve performance standards, but the beauty of the Power of 10 philosophy means that anyone can play a part in the work it does.

 

For many, the key part of the rankings focuses on the athletes and how they can change/improve and increase their performance in their particular event. If you are familiar with the website the key pages concentrate on the national top 1000 with targets set for top 10 and top 100.

 

Whilst the athlete and their coach might study the website for hours comparing themselves on a national, regional and club level, there are many avenues that can be explored by other parts of the sport.

 

Clubs in particular play a key roll in helping to improve standards and as Andy Paul – UK Athletics Power of 10 Project Leader insists, this is one of the most interesting facets of the country’s most popular athletics rankings website:

 

"Every single club can play a part in the Power of 10,” Paul insists. “It is easy for people to assume that only the big clubs with large facilities can make that difference but they would be mistaken, and in actual fact it is the smaller clubs that can have the biggest impact in driving up the standards in athletics.

 

“For example, a club like Birchfield Harriers which admittedly I am biased towards (!) may be able to boast a good number of athletes in side that national top ten mark across all events, but on the downside it means that improvements are slight and maintaining that standard is one of the toughest challenges we face – particularly as the Power of 10 raises the bar for each event every each year.

 

“There are however hundreds of clubs who may have no athletes or one athlete inside that marker, and for them the growth potential is huge.

 

“If every club worked hard to help just one athlete to reach that next level up then the effect would be significant. And this doesn’t mean every club achieving a top ten position, but perhaps helping an athlete between 100 and 200 to reach the top 100 – there can be a domino effect.

 

“There are also event areas where there are great possibilities too. For example some clubs are stronger for endurance than other areas, so you would be saying to those clubs, work to your strengths, try and get a second and third person above that line, whilst another club in the same region may have a successful throws squad and you would want them to carry on doing what they do best in that area.”

 

Gemma Weetman Indoors 08
Oswestry Olympians have star performer Gemma Weetman achieving Power of 10 marks

 

It is easy to see why Paul is enthused by the project. Coach to a group of talented youngsters at Birchfield Harriers he has seen first hand the way in which Power of 10 can act as a motivational tool for his squad.

 

Tools such as the year on year progression and also the head to head option which allows athletes to monitor their progress against any other athlete (including Olympic medallists at the same age) has given Paul and other club leaders like him the ability to bring a further dimension to their coaching.

 

But equally he is obviously buoyed by Birchfield Harriers sitting at top spot for the 2008 rankings, with 40 athletes achieving those all important national top ten marks. This puts the west midlands outfit ahead of Sale Harriers Manchester (34) and Shaftesbury Barnett Harriers (27) this year and marks an improvement of 33% for the “Stags” who clicked 29 athletes for the 2007 season.

 

But for Paul – who oversees the project for UKA – there is pleasure to be had in all areas of results.

 

“The best part is just seeing evidence of improvement,” he said. “It is excellent when a club maintains numbers as the levels go up each year so they are in effect improving too.

 

“But it actually gives me and colleagues working in the regions and Home Countries even more pleasure when a smaller club appears for the first time in the list with one or two athletes achieving a greater level of performance as it benefits the entire club network to have the marks being met by different types of club.”

 

2007 Top 10 Clubs

 

2008 Top 10 Clubs

 

Sale Harriers Manchester

36

Birchfield Harriers

40

Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers

31

Sale Harriers Manchester

34

Birchfield Harriers

29

Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers

27

Woodford Green & Essex Ladies

26

Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow

25

Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC

25

Woodford Green & Essex Ladies

24

Enfield & Haringey AC

21

Blackheath & Bromley Harriers AC

21

Bedford & County AC

20

Newham and Essex Beagles

21

Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow

19

Enfield & Haringey AC

20

Newham and Essex Beagles

17

City of Stoke AC

16

Liverpool Harriers

17

Herne Hill Harriers

15

 

 

 

 

Total standards reached

241

 

243

 

 

  

To see how you've performed in the UK lists visit www.thepowerof10.info