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A few months ago I was approached by a grandparent and asked if I would coach his grandson, I jumped at the chance and said yes. I have been coaching him for about 3 months now. The athlete has done really well and has been chosen to compete in the schools county champs cross country in January I'm really proud of his achievements and looking forward to him competing in January. The athlete is a 13 year old very talented young man however I feel he has still has a lot of training as regards his fundermental movement skills.
2 weeks ago on a Friday afternoon I received a call from the athletes mum stating that Finley had been ill with flu like symptoms and that he was competing in the cross country on Saturday, mum stated that her son had a temperature and had this for 2 days. I advised the parent not to let him run as this could make him worse, lower his immune system even more which will take him longer to recover. I thought this was the best advice I certainly wouldn't allow my children to run whilst ill.
On the Saturday morning I received a call stating the athlete was on his way to cross country to compete, I was a little concerned for him and his health as it was extremely cold 1- degree and had snowed a few days previously. I know from my own experience of running in -4 degrees what impact it can have on your health. I drove to the cross country to give him my support, he advised me that if he didn't run he would get disqualified, unsure if this information was correct I was a little shocked. The athlete did run well however after he ran he laid in the snow with minimal clothing on I asked him to get up other wise he was going to make himself worse. I asked " have you other clothing like a jumper, coat, joggers?" the answer was no I advised the athlete to go home get warm and rest. I received a call on the Sunday stating that the athlete was ill again and will not be able to train, I advised mum not to let him do any training until he had made full recovery.
Firstly (I'm a swimming coach and athletes routinely turn up without warm clothes, sadly) I think you have to take each circumstance individually regarding illness. As a general rule, if it's above the neck it may be ok to compete. If it's in the chest then my answer would be no, however I would always err on the side of caution. So, in my opinion, your original advice was correct.
As Mum clearly did not listen to your recommendation I'd sit down with them and explain why you suggested not to compete but also, and possibly more importantly going forward, work out a plan of campaign for future instances. I'd also agree a 'minimum' kit bag inventory to be taken to every event and make the athlete responsible for packing it as well as having warm up and cool down protocol to be followed.
The athlete is still relatively new, from what I read in your post, to the sport so has a steep learning curve to follow.
At the end of the day, 'You can lead the horse to water but.....'
Just my thoughts for what it's worth
Thanks for your advice, I'm a bit of a stickler when it comes to being prepared as a coach and athlete, I'm only hoping that they both learned from their experiences, like you said you can lead a horse to water.
I will sit them both down together and talk about being better prepared for his next event in January. Hopefully this time they will listen to my advice what the do with is is up to them.
It's a tricky one ... especially as I am constantly training my kids in the freezing cold! :) But, as a 13 year old myself, I would have been adamant that I compete - possibly the mum said no but he was wanting to run? The lack of clothes is a typical teenager thing I think - I know the amount of kids that turn up to the rink at 6am / 7 am and have 1 layer on and moan they're cold! - but it wouldn't harm to sit with them over a coffee or something and explain that sometimes training when ill will exacerbate the issue and he could be out longer but also layers are a must! It might just be that they're scatty and unorganised (again, Ive plenty of children and parents alike like that!) Good luck!
Thank you for your reply Dannielle. I have advised on 2 previous occasions to make sure they bring warm clothing, like you say its probably teenage and the lack of experience. I think they have learnt due to the athlete becoming ill after the event.
Just a follow up, how is the athlete and the relationship with the family?
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