Information for parents_

Information for parents

We accept junior athletes from the age of nine upwards. New athletes are invited to try three sessions on our club night, which is Wednesday, before committing to joining. There may be a waiting list for juniors. Please email if you want to try a session.

Our approach to training is based on the progressive long term development of the individual athlete. We take a long term view for the good of the child, both as an athlete and a person and therefore deliberately restrict training for the younger athletes.

Training for 9 to 14 year olds is held at our club night at Withdean Stadium on Wednesday evenings at 5:30pm. Athletes are split into small groups based not only on their chronological age but also their biological age (physical and emotional) and training age (time training). At this age training is about learning how to train, having fun trying different activities and learning fundamental movement patterns.

As athletes develop and show commitment and ability they will be invited to progress through groups and eventually start to specialise at events. Athletes are then invited to training groups at 6:30 on Wednesdays. Additional training is also held on Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays at different times and venues, due to limited coaching resources this is by invitation only based on ability and commitment. When athletes are considered ready specialist strength and conditioning sessions are also available at different times of the week.

All sessions start with warm up and drills to prepare the body for the main training session. The younger groups are taught the warm up and drills that they will do as they progress to seniors, as the athletes get older they will be expected to warm up and drill by themselves.

The club has a number of international athletes, many of whom have progressed through the club and the older junior training groups often have combined training sessions with these athletes, which can be very inspirational and educational for the junior athletes.

The club believes that competing is important as it helps young athletes to develop both their athletic and life skills. Although we encourage our younger members to try competing in different events they will only be asked to compete in events they feel comfortable with and will never be pressured to compete in events just to gain points for the club. If an athlete does not want to compete they should speak to their coach/team manager/child welfare officer.

We have athletes regularly competing in events around the region and nationally from the U11 age group upwards, with the emphasis on enjoyment and personal development.

In the summer the club enters local U13 and U15 track leagues, giving members the opportunity to compete as individuals in a team environment. Members also compete in open meetings and regional and national championships. See (link to info on summer training)

In the winter the club competes in the Sussex x-country league as well as Sussex indoor sportshall league. Members also compete in regional and national x-country races as well as indoor athletic open and championship events. See (link to info on winter training)

A race list can be found in Fixtures.

All our coaches are volunteers have a number of years experience in athletics and are UK Athletics qualified and are DBS checked. Coaches are supported by assistant coaches and parent volunteers.

The club only exists due to its volunteers and any offer of help is always welcome be it coaching, team management, officiating or any other task. Experience is not necessary and the club will pay for any training required. Please speak to a coach or club official if you would like to offer your help.

Athletes should attend training and races properly dressed to suit the potential conditions for the time of year. Warm clothes when the weather is cold – gloves, track suit and hat, and in cool clothes when the weather is warm – shorts and T-shirt.

Club vests should be worn for all competitions if competing for the club.

The younger athletes should normally only wear trainers on their feet for training, only as they get older and requested to do so should they wear spikes.

Spikes – these are shoes with removable spikes on the base. As children get older they are beneficial for racing/training. For track/field completion and training 6mm spikes should be used, for grass/x-country training and racing in wet/muddy conditions 9 or 12mm spikes should be used. Please speak to your coach regarding the need for spikes before you purchase them.

Track and field equipment – athletes should only use equipment such as javelins, discuss, high jump area etc under the supervision of a coach.

Track discipline/etiquette

  • Only go on the track if instructed by the coach.
  • Be aware at all times, never stand chatting etc on the inside lanes. Pay particular attention when crossing the track as athletes running at speed cannot stop
  • If you are on the track and someone behind you shouts "Track!" it means move out of your lane towards the outside of the track to let them through.

Junior club rules

All athletes will:

  • abide by the club rules
  • strive to achieve individual potential
  • take pride in being a member of the club
  • respect the coaching staff and helpers
  • listen and learn from the coaching staff, officials and helpers
  • respect other club members & those from other clubs
  • show due regard to the safety of others and to oneself
  • show correct behaviour when representing the club and at training
  • wear the club vest/sweatshirt/hoodie at club associated activities/events
  • attend training regularly
  • compete in club matches

Code of conduct parents/carers

Parents, carers and guardians will be expected to:

  • Encourage your child to learn and abide by the Code of Conduct for Athletes, the rules of the sport
  • Discourage unfair play or any arguing with Coaches and officials
  • Help your child to recognise good performance, not just results
  • Never force your child to take part in sport
  • Set a good example by recognising fair play and applauding the good performances of all.
  • Never punish or belittle a child for losing or making mistakes
  • Publicly accept Coaches and officials’ judgements
  • Support your child’s involvement and help them to enjoy their sport
  • Use correct and proper language at all times.

Child protection policy

Our Child Protection Policy is run in line with UK Athletics’ rules.

All coaches are checked regularly by the government's Disclosure and Barring Service {DBS} Also, all coaches have individually signed up to the UK Athletics code of Coaching Conduct.

Nerine Standen, Child Welfare Officer         
Andy Bone, Child Welfare Officer
Bruce Warren, Child Welfare Officer

If you need advice or have any problems with misconduct within the Club, please contact our Child Officers.

Food and drink

  •  Children should bring a bottle of water, whatever the time of year. Sugary drinks are discouraged.
  •  Children should be adequately fuelled before training/racing. Food should be easily digestible and a good source of energy and ideally consumed more than one hour before training. Food should not be eaten during training.
  • Children should not eat at training sessions.


  • Athletes/parents or guardians should inform their coach if they are injured or have a health condition that may impact their training/racing or need to take medication such as inhalers.

Personal property

  •  Athletes are responsible for their own personal property and any property the club lends them.

Mobile phones and headphones

  • Mobile phones or personal headphones should not be used during training without the permission of the coach, such items are bought to training at the owners risk.

Track etiquette

  • Warm-up in the outside 3 lanes (clockwise)
  • Do not hold discussions on the track.
  • Check for runners before you cross the track, an adult can be travelling very fast and cannot stop instantly if you step out in front of him/he. (Not quite as bad as a car but you will get hurt)
  • Never leave your equipment on the track.  
  • Always walk around the outside of the track, then cross where you need to be.
  • DO NO CROSS THE GRASS INSIDE THE TRACK (unless instructed by a coach).
  • If you are running in lane one and someone shouts ‘TRACK!’ you are to move out to lanes two and three. The overtaking athlete(s) will overtake you on the inside. If no one shouts ‘TRACK!’ carry on and the athletes will run around you.
  • Don’t stop suddenly in lane one or sit/stand in lane one after you have finished a rep. There are other athletes on the track. Don’t hang around lanes 1/2/3/4 talking and never sit in them.