These include the following:
1. The cutting and marking of playing fields.
2. The painting of lines on hard courts.
3. The rental of lights for various events.
4. The sale of light tokens for use at venues with fixed lighting.
5. Providing bus transportation to and from sessions and events for schools and national associations.
6. The rental of the National Stadium, Netball Stadium, Pavilions and playing fields to associations or groups for the hosting of events of training.
7. The coaching of sixteen sporting disciplines at the junior level.
8. The co-ordination of competitions within each discipline.
9. The provision of administrative and technical assistance to National Associations.
Coaching Programmes In Focus
National Sports Council's coaching programmes involves the submission of information in a timely fashion and more so the cooperation from all those who need coaching assistance.
Prior to the beginning of every school year the Council sends out requests forms to all Primary and Secondary schools, both governmental and privately owned asking them to indicate coaching request. These forms can accessed by community groups, clubs and other sporting organizations from time to time. These forms simply ask for the sport to be identified, the day and time that the coach is needed as well as the number of participants that may be involved. When these forms are returned to the Council the coaches are then assigned. However, the process is not as simple as it may appear. Quite often, especially in the schools, when particular days and times are preferred which usually leads to a compromise between the parties involved, this means that when there is a clash someone will be asked to shift their session to a different time or day.
The situation can be further compounded depending on the location, where the session will be held and in some cases depending on the mobility of the coach assigned. 1n some instances, the National Sport Council wherever possible provides transport for the participants to some particular venues since schools do not have a playing field nearby and it may be too far to walk.
In addition the NSC bus also provides transport for those students who are involved in the Boxing and Body Building programmes to the National Stadium's gym, which has equipment for these specialized sessions that schools may not have.
The smooth running of our coaching programme has been due to the full cooperation of those involved which includes Principals, Physical Education Teachers, Groundsmen, Caretakers and in some cases parents who are called to assist from time to time.
When the programme is in full flow, coaches are required to submit weekly reports on how each particular session is going. From time to time some adjustments may have to be made depending on factors that may affect either venue, transport, availability of teachers or lack of interest by participants. At the end of each school term the overall coaching programme is scrutinized and in some instances changes are made depending on information received.
In this present school year, the coaches would have seen over 14,000 participants in the sixteen disciplines that are offered to the general public. Without a doubt the most popular sports within the school system are the "grass root" sports with football and cricket leading the way with the boys and netball being the dominant game played by the girls.
The statistics also indicate that just under 8,000 students between the ages of 9 and 11 benefit from our coaching programmes. It goes without saying that the most requests are received in football (111), netball (98), cricket (97), track & field (72). swimming (70) and basketball (65).
A closer look at the statistics would also show that the Deighton Griffith Secondary School among the Secondary schools and Christ Church Boys and Luther Thorne in the Primary schools have requested and received the most coaching assistance.
At present the Council is assisting six National Associations with coaches of their respective national teams. A number of community groups particularly in netball, football and track & field are benefiting from the Council's coaching assistance.
Implications of the Statistics
A reflection of these statistics over the years indicates a pattern of the increase of participants on the success or the lack of success at the national level and in some cases new facilities that may become available.
For example the success of local champion swimmer Leah Martindale has almost doubled the request from within the school system, which continues to put an extra burden on the availability of the Aquatic Centre. In track & field the success of ObadeleThompson and to a lesser extent Andrea Blackett also increased the request in this sport so much so that the Council had to employ an additional coach to meet this demand.
In Body Building the Council has embarked on a programme within the schools that targets children from the age of eight to get involved in the sport, which was once thought to be a dying sport. Over the years the interest in the School Boys Body Building contest has surpassed all expectation. On the Boxing front the most recent success of Junior Greenidge at the International level is now starting to bear fruit in the interest shown in the past few months.A new Body Fitness Programme was introduced in recent years and has attracted many young ladies.
It must also be noted that the statistics in cricket can be affected by the performances by both the Barbados and the West Indies cricket teams. During the time that the West Indies team was having a rough transition period between Courtney Walsh and Jimmy Adams' leadership there was cause for concern regarding the failing interest of our National Sport. The Council addressed this situation by having a structured under-13 cricket programme which saw the first group travel to St. Kitts, Trinidad & Tobago and finally to England.
It was at this juncture that clubs embarked on similar coaching programmes across the length and breadth of Barbados. which was due to the increased demand from these youngsters who needed an avenue to express their talents. In the sixteen disciplines offered by the Council all of the coaches are required to have a combined or select squad, these groups of athletes are selected on recommendation by coaches after having shown the potential and ability to go on in this particular sport.
These sessions are either held on an afternoon during the week or on Saturday mornings. (n the sports of basketball. cricket, netball, chess and volleyball over a period of time these combined squads have embarked on overseas tours.
The Council also prepares the older athletes by entering them in domestic competitions where they are groomed for national representation. At present the best example would be the female schoolgirl basketballers called the "Hoopsters" who play in the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association (BABA) competition and the best of the schoolboys called the "Tridents".
In the Barbados Netball Association (BNA) competition the Council has three teams at the under-13 and under-16 level. Last year the Council decided to place Women's football on the list of sports offered and employed a coach to deal specifically in this area. The response has been overwhelming to such an extent that additional coaching assistance has had to be called upon from other members of staff.
In the not too distant future a combined National Team can be expected to take on any opposition that comes this part of the world. The Council's coaching staff is stretched to its limit but they continue to touch the hearts and souls of many youngsters.