RITCHIE CONFIRMED AS SCOTTISH NATIONAL JUMPS MANAGER
26th November 2007
Having been announced in March as a Bank of Scotland National Staff Coach for long jump and triple jump, former Great Britain and Northern Ireland long jumper and current Scottish record holder (8.01m) Darren Ritchie has been appointed as Scottish National Jumps Manager.
Along with a team of event specialists, Ritchie will work to develop the athlete and coach pathway throughout Scotland.
His brief will include not only horizontal jumps - for which it is intended a Bank of Scotland Specialist Squad will be developed in mid-2008 with a plan to recruit Peter Stanley, coach to triple jump World record holder Jonathan Edwards - but also vertical jumps and combined events where he hopes to utilise Jamie Quarry in support of National Combined Events coach Marek Anestik.
A strong emphasis will be placed practically on boosting the number of coaches capable of taking athletes to the elite level, providing support to athletes and coaches on the Scottish Performance plan as well as extending the new national squad level activities with agreed objectives in line with the UKA 5-rings long-term athlete development (LTAD) model and the international aspirations of Scotland.
Ultimate success will be measured through the number of athletes attaining GB selection and World Class Plan status while key measurement criteria for progress will include increases in the number of Scottish senior, under-20 and under-17 athletes attaining UK (in particular) as well as Scottish Power of 10 targets; the number of personal coaches supporting and engaging in activities and an increase in the number of coaches actively working within the event.
Over the course of 2007 Ritchie has been involved heavily in the Scottish squad set-up, building on his personal experience with valuable coaching development and experience. He said:
"I am really excited and proud to be part of the team at scottishathletics and welcome the responsibility of developing the event group for Jumps and Combined Events towards the countdown to 2014.
"In this managerial post I look forward to working closely with the Performance Development Manager and existing National Event Managers (NEM's), drawing on their experiences to maintain a strategic overview of event group management within scottishathletics.
"I am delighted to accept the role as NEM for Jumps and Combined Events (CE) and look forward to pulling on our National resources, utilising valuable coaching experience from Peter Stanley and this year's awarded Podium and Performance Coaches John Scott and Kevin Maguire respectively, to lift coaching and athlete standards in all disciplines and generally raise the bar - literally, towards 2014!"
Nigel Hetherington, scottishathletics Performance Development Manager stated:
"Scotland is currently enjoying a purple patch in some of the jumps events through the efforts of our coaches. However, this must not be seen as an opportunity to sit back but rather a time for further resolve and commitment - there are event areas where things are simply not up to scratch so there is a great deal of work still to be done.
"When we look at combined events - with one or two notable exceptions - it really is time to go back to the drawing board and to define a performance development strategy - thankfully we have the starting point for youngsters with the new run, jump, throw initiatives and the Giant Heptathlon competition but we must generate strength in depth here for the future.
"The appointment of Darren Ritchie to drive the Jumps/Combined Event group forward is crucial. In Darren we now have a dynamic, energetic and athletically very experienced individual who displays a huge passion for the overall success of our sport balanced with knowledge of what makes it tick. Darren has been on a steep learning curve in recent months since his retirement but has the pragmatism to be very effective in his new management role.
"While success in 2010 remains a commitment the 2012/2014 generation must now also be given the opportunity to come through and be supported. The UK World Class Plan has the London 2012 talented athletes from Scotland already on its books but there are many, many more talented Scots just outside this focused radar who can be major players over the next seven years and beyond. With investment for new facilities largely confirmed, staffing in place, talented athletes and a ready, willing and able coaching workforce we will be poised, through great teamwork and management to achieve the strategic goals we have set for our sport and our nation."
Responsible to the Performance Development Manager (PDM), the NEM's will work closely with all national, regional and local partners to ensure strategic targets for the event group are delivered at all levels.
NEM's will maintain a clear strategic overview on event group management within scottishathletics with respect to the athlete development pathway. NEM's will produce, implement and manage the delivery of event group plans operating on a regional, national and international level leading to increased retention and development of performance.
NEM's positions will cover the four main event groups of Sprints and Hurdles, Endurance, Jumps (including Combined Events) and Throws (including the Highland Games).
Bank of Scotland Specialist Squads
There are currently five Bank of Scotland Specialist Squads: the Liz McColgan Endurance Squad; the Tommy Boyle Middle-Distance Squad; the Allan Wells Sprints Squad; the David Hemery Hurdles Squad and the Alan Bertram Hammer Development Squad.