Interested in Competing? Your questions answered:
Why should I consider competing?
Competition is the best way to see if your training is working. Whilst everyone feels nervous, it can be very exciting and rewarding to have a personal best (PB) which you may use as a goal to help focus and work hard in training. Competing for the club in a league event is fantastic fun and the shared excitement and support of fellow teamates helps many athletes achieve things they are proud of. For some athletes, competing is a way of ensuring selection to the county team or individual national events, such as English Schools.
I’m interested in competing, how do I start?
Chat to your coach or even your parents about which event you enjoy most and which you think you might like to compete in. Ask your coach if there is an opportunity to represent the club at a team league event, as this can be an easier transition into competion. If there is an event in which you’d like to compete, you will need to affiliate to England Athletics and have a 'competition licence'. More info in Affiliation FAQs
Are all competitions the same? What are the options ?
There is a variety of athletics competition depending on the discipline and time of year, with the main types explained below;
- Individual Competitions: These are called Open Meetings. Clubs freely and independently organise these meetings. As long as you are affiliated, you can enter.
- Schools Competitions: Your teacher/school should let you know any relevant events.
- County Championships : Any affiliated athlete can enter any event in their age group at the Warwickshire County Championships .
- Team Competitions: A club must be part of a league to enter an event as a team. LAA is part of the league called Heart Of England League (HOEL) Children from U9 -U17 can represent LAA, events held at various venues and last all day.
- Indoor Sportshall: Young athletes 9-16 compete as a team at this indoor event. Individual events include sprints, jumps, throw and there is a team relays
- Cross country (XC): Schools run XC events and LAA is part of the West Midlands Young Athlete Cross Country League (WMYACCL) with events are held monthly across the winter from October -March. These events are usually no more than an hour drive and are held around various locations in the midlands. Chilly but fab fun and very often goodies!
Why do I need to affiliate to England Athletics ?
As an athlete registered with England Athletics, your registration fee not only helps England Athletics invest in the sport you love, it also gives you access to a wide range of benefits and services via England Athletics, including access to the national ranking website Powerof10.
If you wish to represent LAA or compete in Open meetings and / or County Championships, you must affiliate to England Athletics.
If you only wish to compete in school competitions, it is likely that affiliation will not be necessary. BUT always check
How do I affiliate to England Athletics ?
You can do this via our website. Simply select Competition > Affiliate. It costs annually (£15 + £1 admin) to update this licence and you must do so if you wish to compete.
Your club will contact EA to affiliate you and will send you the Unique Reference Number (URN) for affiliation. This s your number for your lifetime in athletics! You use this to enter events and your results will go on a national ranking website called Powerof10.org
2: My athlete portal on England Athletics
Once you have your URN, you will have your own log in/Portal and EA will send you the details to sign in and create a password. This Portal has all your personal details related to athletics
How long does my affiliation last?
Affiliation applies to your competition year. The competition year starts on April 1st and runs to 31st March the following year.
What does affiliation cost?
If you are U11 you affiliate for free. If you are in U13+ age groups you must pay to affiliate. Affiliation for 2021/22 currently costs £15 + a £1 LAA admin charge. Your affiliation licence will need to be reviewed annually if you wish to compete.
Power of 10
The event asks for indicative times / distances etc, how do I find / know this?
If you are new to athletics, you can estimate a time or you can ask your coach to help with this. If you already have a personal best (PB) for an event, you can use that. If you have competed previously, you may have results held in the Powerof10 ranking website.
What is the Powerof10 website and where do I find it?
This is a national ranking site for athletics. Results are recorded at qualifying events by an official who inputs it to Powerof10 - regardless of your finishing position! This site helps you track your progress in the sport as you compete across your age groups.
It can be found here: thepowerof10
Competing for the club
What are the opportunities to compete for the club?
As LAA, we compete as a team in Sportshall and West Mids XC league during the winter season and as part of Heart of England Track and Field league in summer. Due to COVID there are fewer events at this present time. Please get in touch if you would like to compete as part of the club team or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How do you select the teams for club events?
For our U9 and U11 age group, we select based on who wants to compete and who has or hasn’t had a go so far. We do not select based on ability for this age group. Instead we look to give everyone an opportunity who wants it.
Once athletes are U13-U17, it is a balance of ability and enthusiasm. We like to encourage anyone who would like to try competition as it can be the catalyst to motivating an athlete in their training.
Sometimes athletes may be asked to compete for the club in events which are not their first choice. We don’t like to but as LAA is a multi-event club, athletes will have had a go at all Track and Field events as part of weekly training.
We will always ask first. If we have an athlete who is happy to compete for team points, we will select them, regardless of their ability. We will never force an athlete to compete!
I am nervous about competing or it may not be my event
Whilst we have limited access to the track, the club will occasionally arrange Competition Practice sessions and invite the team members. An athlete can also ask their coach during their weekly session if they can practice their preferred event for a competition. Any affiliated athletes actively competing will be allowed this ‘choice’ across the summer months.
Just try your best and be proud of your achievements. What else can any of us do?! We are proud to share the love of athletics with young people, irrespective of medals and podium finishes. Sport is a fantastic forum for personal growth and self-efficacy. All opportunities are about self- learning.
Types of event and specialising
What types of event should I enter and why?
Entering events is a personal choice and your coach can help advise and guide. If you enjoy training at a particular discipline and want to improve, that may be a good place to start. Competing in an event may help you feel motivated to train harder to get results. If you like sprinting then 100, 200, relays and long jump may be advisable. If you like distance running, then 800 and 1500m maybe a comfortable way to test yourself.
Goal Setting for Competition
Always have two or three outcomes you want from each event/race, e.g:
I’d like a good start for my sprint race. I’d like to pace myself well to have a sprint finish in my 800.
I’d like to not do too many no-jumps in my long jump.
After that set yourself a performance goal, e.g:
I’d like to jump within 10cm of my PB.
I’d like to improve my 400m by 0.5 secs. I’d like to achieve English Schools entry standard.
What is Quad Kids?
Quadkids is a multi-discipline event for younger athletes, usually U9 & U11. Lasting around 2-3hours, during which each athlete takes part in four disciplines: 80m, 600m, Long jump and Howler throw.
Points are awarded for each performance. Athletes’ points are totalled and the winner is the one with the highest overall score.
When should I start to specialize in a given event (s)?
All research shows it is best to remain multi-event into your teens. Around 14-15years old, most athletes show a preference. This may be for sprinting over longer distances or throwing over jumping. At this point, it may be advised that they practice their preferred discipline more often, but never solely one event at this age.
An athlete should not train in just one event until they are 16+ years old. Overuse injuries and boredom result in early drop out from the sport. Many world class athletes do not specialise until their mid-twenties.