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King wants feeder programmes

JUSTIN MARVILLE, [email protected]

King wants feeder programmes

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John King isn’t leaving the future to chance.

The Minister of Sports is on a definite youth movement, having called for federations to attach feeder systems to all their top flight clubs, particularly those in domestic cricket.

King made the plea in a wide-ranging interview with THE NATION after expressing serious concerns over the declining numbers of young people involved in local sports.

“I want to get all the disciplines that currently exist to look seriously at what they call their feeder programme because we have to start asking ourselves what are we doing at the very beginning in terms of how early do we get our children involved in sports and how do we train them,” said King.

“It is my contention that every Elite cricket club should have a feeder programme where youngsters from the neighbouring schools are encouraged to be members of those clubs and are trained to be the next generation of Elite cricketers so you can track their progress club by club all the way up to representing West Indies or professionally in the various T20 leagues.

“That is something that should be a staple for all disciplines so we have to ensure that all of our first division clubs are connected with physiotherapists, with dieticians, with strength and conditioning coaches, with sports psychologists because we cannot just leave it to chance anymore where a fella has a certain amount of talent and that is all that will take them through,” he added.

The comments are just part of an overarching plan that will hopefully see domestic sports become a viable source of revenue for aspiring athletes by 2030.

As such, King has called for the creation of semi-professional leagues in mass-based sports like cricket, football, basketball and netball in an effort to develop professional sportsmen for export.

But for that to happen King believes the various disciplines must return to their community roots to be able to identify prospective young talent.

“We have got to make more use of the communities because if we’re looking for fast bowlers, then where are our scouts? Who are the people entrusted with spotting early talent and getting into programmes where we can shape and get the talent to blossom?” King asked.

“The answer as far as I know is no one and part of that problem is having everything happen in St Michael when we can simply empower our clubs to do what they have to do within their respective communities.

“We have to get to a situation where if certain schools have great programmes in terms of producing athletes, then we must find ways where they are linked with universities all across North America and Europe.

“So I know that if this child comes from Princess Margaret, and Princess Margaret is well known for having long distance runners, that once you hear overseas that this child went to Princess Margaret in Barbados it means this is a certain standard of athlete,” he added. (JM)