Introduction to youth programmes

Marshall Milton Keynes is committed to a policy of long term athlete development. This is a long term approach to maximising individual potential and encouraging long term involvement in sport. Amongst other things this means:

  • The nature of the growing child and early stages of development are central
    considerations in our approach to coaching
  • There is an early focus on mastery of fundamental movement skills and broad
    athleticism. This is introduced in a fun way, relevant and accessible to this age
  • The focus of coach education is to equip coaches to design and deliver sessions and programmes appropriate to youngsters
  • We seek to avoid the pitfalls of premature, narrow specialisation and delivering adult style sessions

A key element in this is the schemes developed by England Athletics for young athletes. The enclosed video provides a flavour of the Athletics 365 experience:

We run sessions for athletes as young as 4 years using an England Athletics scheme called Funetics. From the age of 8 years athletes can join as members. This is the stage when we believe we can offer appropriate support and training and, in particular, can start encouraging progression based on mastery of defined skills.

The youngest athletes following Funetics will follow a game based curriculum that is age appropriate and focused on fundamental movement skills that underpin all athleticism. This is developed further when they join as members and follow a broadly based introduction, building on fundamental movement skills to provide a foundation in running, jumping and throwing.

The next stage will be a move through to the Youth Development Programme. This is designed to continue the broadly based training, but provides progressive introduction of physical conditioning and event specific training. There is a lot of choice in terms of event focus. However, pursuit of a range of disciplines is encouraged.

Once in the programme athletes are encouraged to gain mastery of skills that are important to performance in athletics and, indeed, other sports. Progressively, there will be the opportunity to work with an increasing range of coaches and move towards increasingly individualised training.

From an early stage we aim to provide you with a specific coach who will help guide you through this process.