The minimum age to join the club or to participate in club activity is 7 on the day
Newcomers under the age of 11 divide broadly into two categories
1) children already inclined to long running - eg. cross-country - and who prefer to explore that first - these must be at least 9 yrs old on the day
2) children not yet sure which activity they enjoy - these must be at least 7 yrs old on the day
Group 1 (“Running only”) trains predominantly on grass under the supervision of a Level 2 Middle-distance Coach, assisted by Level 1 coaches who are dedicated specifically to middle-distance running for children aged 9 and over.
The u11s train alongside teenagers and adults but do a scaled down version of the distance running done by older runners in the group.
Group 2 (“General athletics”) is for the new or undecided.
In this group, children have a go at all sorts of exercises and, in winter, will train and compete predominantly indoors - effectively, they take part in a "run-jump-throw" setup until age 11, after which most will do more event-specific activity, or remain as all-rounders doing events such as Pentathlon and Heptathlon.
- For a number of reasons to do with health & safety and emotional support of the very young, the attendance on the premises of a parent or a responsible adult of each under-11 is required during the whole training session.
General "run-jump-throw" sessions for u-11s
These sessions are all on Tuesdays & Thursdays generally 1 hour from 5.30 to 6.30pm at the Canterbury Academy track :
- in summer this group trains ourdoors, predominantly on the all-weather track
- in winter, this group trains indoors in the school sportshall
- in both cases this includes warm-up, training and warm-down and boys & girls train together in ability groups. Children's attendance is variable, depending on other commitments.
Cross-country and distance running sessions for u11s
These sessions are always outdoors either on grass or in the woods in order to protect growing bones and joints from high impact on hard surfaces like roads and the all-weather track.
Minimum age for this group is age 9 on the day.
- Summer sessions - on the grass field at Blean Woods on Tuesdays & Thursdays - 6pm to 7pm
- Winter sessions - on the grass field at Kent College on Tuesdays & Thursdays - 6pm to 7pm
Intensity of Coaching
Whichever group your child joins, in principle, the club favours group coaching for the very young : we're uncomfortable with the intensity of one-on-one coaching for the young ie. under the age of 15
We don't encourage one-on-one training/coaching until late teens when the athlete is in a better position to make independent, informed choices. Until then, the emphasis is fun among a group of youngsters of their own age, interest and ability.
Trying us out - how to join
The club has a system where you come for a free sessions and "taste the set-up" - after that, you will know if this is for you, and membership is available.
The training fee is £4.00 per session for visitors & non-members. The fee includes access to changing rooms and showers.
No need to book ahead for a taster session –
- General Group - just turn up and state your child's preference to the Coaches in the clubroom which overlooks the finish line.
- “Running-only” Group – it’s best to contact the Lead Coach on 01304-211667
When your child is ready to join, you can either print an application form which you'll find on this site in the MEMBERSHIP tab, or ask for one in the clubroom.
Your child will normally need to bring
- a spare T-shirt and socks (for the journey home on rainy days)
- a bottle of water,
- trainers + sweat shirt + jogging bottoms,
- a light coloured top, for easy visibility - WHITE is best.
No need to spend lots of money on special trainers or spikes until your child really likes the sport and you have spoken to the coach.
Organised competitions for u11s
From April, meetings open to members and also the public are staged on the track at the club - see open meetings tab.
Just turn up in the Clubroom at the track and - for a small entry fee - you may have a go at up to 3 events of your choice.
All these meetings encourage children to try running, jumps and throws.
Starting in October, on the first Sunday of each month until March distance runners have access to 1 Mile cross-country races hosted by Tonbridge AC - click linked text for details.
This group takes part in indoor team events called Sportshall Competitions - selection is done by Coaches of the General Group and dates are normally on the Fixture Tab.