THE National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe (NAAZ) is working on plans to form clubs from cluster level in a move aimed at enhancing grassroots athletes development.
Athletics as a sporting code has the potential to win the country medals at international competitions, only if talent is identified and harnessed at grassroots level.
NAAZ youth director, Briad Nhubu said: “As a strategy to improve athletics development in the country, NAAZ has adopted the fundamental principle of grassroots athletes development through initiating clubs from cluster level in all districts in Zimbabwe.”
He said Manicaland is now a step ahead after coming up with a club system in all the seven districts of the province.
“As such, as a province, Manicaland has also come up with the club system in all the seven districts. The idea is to tap all potential talent from kids, cadets, youths throughout junior and senior levels,” he said.
Nhubu said special attention is being given to qualifications of trainers.
“All the clubs are being manned by qualified coaches, most of them who had done international and national coaching courses. The athletes are mostly from primary and secondary schools. We have a few from tertiary level.
“The strategy enables us to implement Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) where fundamental skills are nurtured from grassroots levels through to the podium performance levels. This strong foundation will help us to give all potential athletes opportunities to explore their talents,” he said.
Nhubu said LTAD enables coaches to work with athletes cognisant of the sensitive windows of trainability which is very critical for training, competition and recovery planning of programmes.
“As the mother board of athletics in Zimbabwe at national level, NAAZ is working in tandem with the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC)and the Athletes Commission in the implementation of LTAD and talent development in an endeavour to create a pathway that will see our athletes benefiting from childhood, adulthood and sports for life.
“In pursuit of this, we have programmes whereby all potential athletes are put in the database from cadets, youth, juniors and seniors. These athletes regularly get training programmes that are strongly supported by ZOC and SRC,” he said.
The LTAD strategy responds and reacts to new sports science and sports – specific innovations and observations and is subject to continuous research in all aspects as it is a continuously evolving vehicle for change and high level performance.