Saturday, November 28, 2020

New Life Member

Last week we learned that one of our longest serving and most successful coaches, Sheila Atkinson had decided to step down from her coaching duties after 36 years.  We probably shouldn’t have been surprised as Sheila is now 77 years of age and has spent most of her adult life volunteering in one capacity or another.

The current restrictions on track access in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ever changing risk assessments were the final straw for Sheila.

Plans to award Sheila with Life Membership of the club were brought forward and while we can’t make a formal presentation until October next year, we felt she should be aware of how highly she’s been regarded by the Committee, fellow coaches and our membership.

Sheila has been involved in athletics since the age of 12 when she joined the North Shields Polytechnic Club in Tyne and Wear.  Her preferred events were the sprints, long jump and shot put.  She must have had talent because she represented Northumberland in the 80yard hurdles and the long jump at the National Schools Championships.

Sheila worked at the Trustee Savings Bank in Glasgow before she and her husband Brian settled in Torrance to raise their three sons.  She returned to work after the children had grown up and worked as a teaching auxiliary at Campsie View School.

Like many of our coaches, Sheila followed her three sons to Scotstoun when they joined Victoria Park.  All three were talented athletes with Mark achieving success in the 400m flat, Stephen in Long Jump, and his twin Graeme in 400m Hurdles.

Fortunately for the club, Sheila wasn’t going to stand at the trackside and was recruited by the then Secretary Wallace Crawford to join the coaching team.

Sheila introduced hundreds of youngsters to track and field athletics in her dual roles of coach and team manager.  She worked closely with Kate Young and Hugh Baillie in a very successful period for the club.

Her time was well spent and she nurtured the likes of David Martin, Calum Innes and Gregor Innes to success in her specialist events of 110m hurdles and 400m hurdles.

David won the 400m hurdles at the English AAA Championships in Birmingham in 2005 and was part of the gold medal winning 4x400m relay team that represented Great Britain at the European Junior Championships at Hengelo, Netherlands in 2007.  Gregor was 2nd in the 400m hurdles at the English AAA Championships at Don Valley in 2007 and Calum represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, India in 2008.

Her hurdles group was very highly rated and Sheila was mentored by none other than Nick Dakin (head coach, Loughborough) and due to her success, the great David Hemery (Olympic Gold 1968) was encouraged North to work with her group on a number of occasions.

It wasn’t all hard work of course, Sheila enjoyed her annual warm weather training sessions with the group in Portugal, Malta and Tenerife.  Her group was always in the best physical shape so it came as no surprise when out for an evening meal with 10 of her group on Byers Road, she was asked by a waitress to explain her popularity with all these young men.

In 36 years of coaching, Sheila unearthed a few diamonds and shared in their success when collecting silverware around the world but our gratitude is for the hours and hours she spent standing at the trackside, stop watch in hand in all weathers, which made each of her group better athletes and hopefully better well rounded adults.  If they go on to make a fraction of the contribution to our community that Sheila has, we’ll all be in a better place.

Although Sheila is stepping down from coaching, she’ll continue to volunteer as a church elder at Baldernock Parish Church where she’s served since 1968, she’ll continue to serve on the women’s guild committee and volunteer at Riding for the disabled where she has served for the last 20 years.

Congratulations Sheila.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Booking Information

Athletes returning to training at Scotstoun will have to book their sessions via our LoveAdmin system.  The reason for this is to allow the club to create a separate attendance register for each group of athletes.  Athletes will meet and train with a maximum of 10 in their training bubble.  Their coach will be physically distanced throughout the session.

The sessions will be phased in from Monday the 5th of October.  The last groups to resume will start on Monday the 12th of October.

The sessions are in a six month block and will repeat on the same day of the week until you notify our admin team of a change to your plans.

Booking Process

To book yourself or your child onto a session, you should login to LoveAdmin using your usual login information.  You should select “Events” on the menu bar at the top of the page. 

You’ll then see a list of all of the sessions that can be booked.  We’ve added additional sessions from Monday till Thursday for U11’s and U13’s from 5.30pm till 6.55pm, Friday evening from 7.05pm till 8.30pm and Saturday morning from 9.30am till 12.30pm.

We’ve also added a Friday session for U15’s and U17’s from 7.05pm till 8.30pm.

You should select the training group you would like to join and click on the booking link.  You should select the number of athletes attending (1) and confirm your booking.  You will receive a confirmation email, if you do not, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you’re unsure of you or your child’s age group, when you login to LoveAdmin, click on the drop down menu next to “Viewing form for: ” and the age group should be visible.

Please check the time of your session when booking, some are from 5.30pm till 6.55pm.

This booking will only ensure that your child is training at a set time on a set day of the week.  The group will be divided into bubbles of 10.  If your child has a regular training partner, you can send a request for them to train together to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. although we may not be able to accommodate everyone.

Maximum Sessions

Spaces are limited due to the physical distancing required between groups and the small number of athletes in each group due to Covid-19.  Please, book a maximum of two sessions per week.  If you book a session but are unable to attend regularly, please cancel your booking by email to allow another member to take your place.

Briefing

Prior to attending your first session at Scotstoun, you’ll receive an email confirming how you’ll enter the stadium.  You’ll be given directions to a rendezvous point within one of the stands where you’ll be joined by your training partners and your coach.  You’ll also receive additional guidance on the temporary changes we’ve made to make your return as safe as possible.

Return Dates

U15/U17 Groups will return from Monday 5th of October.

Throws Groups of all ages return from Monday the 5th of October.

Endurance Groups of all ages return from Monday the 5th of October.

U11/U13 Groups will return from Wednesday the 7th of October.

The Disability Group will return from Wednesday the 7th of October.

Event Groups

Athletes who’re part of an event group led by the following coaches should not book into any of these sessions.  You will be manually added to your group’s attendance register and instructions for attending will be sent to you.

The Event Groups are coached by Bill Parker, John Wilson, Moira Jordan, Colin Spiers, Pamela O’Connor and Mick Turner.

The event coaches should send me a list of athletes in their training groups and the dates and times of their sessions.

 

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Finally - Returning to Training

Great News,

After six long months, I’m finally able to say, training will resume at Scotstoun from Monday the 5th of October.  It’ll be a phased return with some groups not starting until Monday the 12th.

We’ve had to make a lot of changes to our training regime to allow us to return to the track.  We’ve listened to local government advice and been advised by our governing body at Scottish Athletics to make everything as safe as possible for our members and volunteers.

Risk Assessment

A full and detailed risk assessment has been prepared for our coaches and volunteers and it can be accessed via our website at:  http://www.vp-glasgow.com/rules/risk-assessment-covid-19.html

We’ve incorporated most of our plans and procedures into this message and shared our plans with our coaches via zoom meetings and shared documents.

Group Size

We’ll be restricting our group sizes to 10 athletes per coach and while the athletes will be allowed to train in the same space as their peers in their training bubble, our coaches and volunteers will have to maintain physical distancing.

The track and infield will be divided into smaller spaces for sprints, hurdles and conditioning while the numbers running in lanes 1 and 2 will be reduced to allow 5m between each of the groups involved in repetitions of the track.

Booking System

A booking process has been introduced through our LoveAdmin system.  No longer will athletes be able to attend sessions without first booking online.  Every athlete can book a maximum two sessions per week.  These bookings will repeat on the same day of the week until cancelled.  Please only book sessions if you’re committed to attending.  A separate word doc will explain this procedure.

Attendance Register

Once you’ve signed up to attend our group sessions, you’ll be added to an attendance register which can be accessed at each session by your coach.  Your attendance will be recorded on the LoveAdmin app and the information will be retained for one month.  Our admin team will be able to access the register should there be any enquiries from the NHS.

Rendezvous Point

Prior to your attending at the track for the first time, you’ll receive an email directing you to a rendezvous point within the stadium where you’ll meet your coach and the remainder of your group.  You should remain physically distanced from your group until you’ve had a safety briefing from your coach.

Your coach will direct you to your dedicated training area.  You should leave any additional clothing and drinks at your rendezvous point.  Please ensure that all water bottles and clothing are labelled.

Equipment

Only coaches will be allowed into the equipment store.  Athletes will be encouraged to use their own equipment if possible.

Starting blocks can be used and if shared, they must be cleaned with anti-bacterial wipes/spray.  The track where the athlete has placed their hands will also be cleaned.

Throwers will be supervised cleaning their equipment at the start of the session and their hands cleaned using hand sanitiser.  Equipment will be marked with coloured tape and no sharing of throws equipment will be allowed.

A table will be situated at the entrance to the store with anti-bacterial sprays and wipes along with hand sanitiser.  The table will be sprayed and wiped down with anti-bacterial solution.

Hurdles can be used but must be cleaned with anti-bacterial solution or wipes before the session and Hurdlers must clean their hands regularly throughout the session.

Anyone handling equipment of any kind should clean their hands regularly.

At the end of every session, all equipment will be cleaned once again before it is stored away.

Long Jump

The long jump pits will be covered when not in use.  Athletes should sanitise their hands before their first jump and after each subsequent jump.

Only the coach or a selected athlete will handle the measuring tape or rake during the session.

After every jump’s session, the sand will be sprayed with sterilizing fluid and the sand raked and turned.  The pit will not be used for a period of 15 minutes before the next session begins.

Toilets

We’ll be using the toilets at the east end of the small North Stand.  Children are advised to go to the toilet before they attend but if they need to go, they should ask their coach for assistance.

Only one person is allowed access to the toilets at a time and hands should be washed with soap and water or anti-bacterial solution before returning to their group.

Covid-19 Symptoms

Before attending any of our sessions at Scotstoun, members or their parents should ask themselves the following questions:

  • Are you experiencing a persistent (dry) cough, fever or a lack of taste or smell?
  • Does anyone in your household have a persistent (dry) cough, fever or experiencing a lack of taste or smell?
    1. If the answer is ‘yes’, to any one of the above questions or conditions, do not come to the stadium, please stay at home!
    2. In addition, if you are shielding ensure that you follow the advice on your letter which you should have received from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO).   

 

  1. In addition, everyone will be requested to ensure that they wash their hands for at least 20 seconds before coming to the stadium.

Stadium Access

Only athletes who’ve received attendance instructions via email should attend at Scotstoun.  They will have been informed of their rendezvous point and had this confirmed on the stadium map.

Anyone entering the stadium will do so via the main gate to the right of the main entrance.  This gate will be controlled by a Glasgow Life leisure attendant.

The immediate footpath outside leading up to the gate will be suitably marked off in 2m intervals to encourage a safe physically distanced queuing system although we hope that athletes will be able to enter without any queuing.

No access is allowed in the main building or inside track.  Parents are not allowed into the stadium.  They can observe our activities from outside of the perimeter fence at the east end of the stadium.

We’ll have a volunteer in position inside of the main gate to answer any questions and to direct athletes to their rendezvous points. 

Payments

No payments for track access will be taken on arrival.  Members will need to restart their direct debit for track access and coaching fees through our LoveAdmin system.  Members will also receive a reminder if their annual memberships have lapsed.

 Leaving The Stadium

At the end of our sessions, members will leave via the same gate at the east end of the stadium which will be manned by a Glasgow Life leisure attendant.

Any junior members whose parents are not immediately visible outside of the gate should wait with our coaches until collected.

Safety

I’m sorry if the details in this email cause you any concern but we’ve made these plans to make the training environment as safe as possible.  Trust in our coaches to do everything they can to make the sessions fun while they develop our athletes for performance and good health.

We expect these restrictions or an amended version to affect us for at least another six months.  We’re determined to do as much as we can to keep our athletes fit and healthy and be prepared to enjoy a great summer of sporting activity in 2021.

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Scotstoun Access

We had hoped to bring everyone some good news regarding Scotstoun but unfortunately, we've still to reach agreement with Glasgow Life.
 
We're hopeful that a return is imminent but until the start date is confirmed and we know how many hours we’ll have access to the facility, we’re unable to make bookings for track access.
 
We have however been busy with our own preparations. This weekend, we’re starting to roll out our updated risk assessment and training plans to our coaches and we’ll give a full update to our committee on Sunday evening.
 
One piece of good news is that Scottish Athletics have relaxed their rules for areas affected by local restrictions and when we return, athletes will be able to train in close proximity to those in their training bubble. No physical distancing will be required.
 
It’s now been six and a half months since our last training session at Scotstoun and I appreciate that everyone is keen to return but I’ll have to ask you once again to please be patient.
 
I’ll update everyone as soon as I can.
 
Gordon Innes
Club Manager - 07983360804