|The best running team ever to leave New Zealand: New Zealand was once awash with running talent|
the few that didnt break went on to greatness.
As a teenager in the eighties can name various runners around my age who totally dominated their events for years , they would race ahead of the rest of the field from start to finish.
Ever heard of richard potts? Phil Staar? Neil Secker? Andrea Wade? Julia Macgregor? Simon Yock?
They were standouts in distance running, few were successful at senior level. most disappeared from the running scene by the time they were seniors..
Phill Staar was the fastest junior mens white cross country runner in the world, seventh overall...
Nick willis is the exception rather than the rule. a successful Junior who came through the american college scholarship system not burnt out. who knows how many of our athletes have had scholarships and failed to be competitive once they became seniors....
There is no system in nz to ensure we can hold onto the talent we have, to try and prevent them from quitting sport or burning out.
Very little of our best junior talent has survived to senior level.... so i would say very few of our coaches know how to develop talent in a sustainable way.
Needless to say our record books for distance running are mainly also history books to the best runners of the past..
There was little point spending money on synthetic tracks, our junior athletes probably struggle to find the energy or enthusiasm to train properly after they have spent so much time working to pay for their education and afford to live in our expensive cities, sure its not necessarily an excuse but it is a factor... students worry a lot about their student loans. and it is a distraction if you're an athlete...
I'd argue young athletes today dont have enough patience to do the volume of aerobic training required to be their best.... too many distractions, or they are cutting the duration and upping the tempo too much instead, kids are used to staring at tv or computers for long hours for stimulation, they struggle more to really find stimulation putting in the hours away from that stimulation to train properly few coaches really understand how to develop them properly...
I saw the start of multiple tv channels in auckland and the start of personal computers and internet, i saw how it affected people... most of my fellow students at tech were more interested in computer games than their studies or exercising. Sport for most people now is about watching it and criticising it...
Here is a report I submitted to the NZ Government several years ago when the Prime Minister's Scholarship underwent it first review. It was investigated and and then completely fobbed off. Most of it is still quite relevant. Are we slow to learn? And is there a reluctance to listen to people who are not within the hallowed inner circle?