The National Stadium is home to a variety of sporting campers this summer as part of the National Sports Councils summer camp and although they are building muscle, by the end of the camp they should also be mentally stronger.
The sports held at the national venue are cheerleading, boxing, body building, track and field and cycling. Barbados TODAY managed to interview many of the counsellors of the different disciplines this week while training.
Camp Supervisor William Layne said that the camp has been going well, with the children learning how to properly develop themselves in the multiple sporting disciplines.
“We have a good group of children here who are willing to learn… We have a lot of talent here; it is just that we want them to be harnessed in the best way that they can be.
“The problem however comes with the continuation after camp and the parents showing interest in their children from early when they reach a certain level, giving them that opportunity to move on. Also they must be nourished in every sense of the word — right amount of training and right amount of food and the discipline must be there until they reach their peak,” Layne said.
He added that in Jamaica the facilities for those pursuing athletics were not much different, however they have the passion for success that some Barbadians lack.
“I think that passion would be lacking because the parents go all out to give the children what they think they need. I think the problem comes because we pamper our children too much and make them believe that they do not have to strive that hard so if they have that kind of mindset then they would not strive that hard,” he stated.
Body builder and assistant counselor of the weight lifting programme, Myekelti Clarke, said that his campers were given a well rounded feel for body building in terms of using the machines, health and fitness, flexibility and body care.
“We also teach them the different poses of the males and females in body building so that they would have an idea of the whole sport. The beginners are still full of energy but they are getting the hang of it. They have a bit of challenges because they believe that the weight we start them at is too light but we try to slowly ease them to the heavier weight,” he added.
Cheerleading coach Malisa Parris, who was busy getting her girls to perfect the “High V” pyramid spoke to Barbados TODAY between yells of detailed instructions to the girls who were apparently enjoying the cheers.
Parris said that she would also be teaching her campers dances, cheers and stunts which she said most girls naturally enjoy because of the nature of the whole situation of wearing girly shorts, screaming cheers and dancing. “Cheerleading
also builds you mentally because you have to multi-task and do a lot of different things. The challenges come because my class is 40 children and they are only two of us counselors — dealing with the different age ranges and the attitudes of the females can be difficult,” she noted.
Next door the total opposite to cheering was taking place. Twenty campers, under the guidance of coach Gary Bowen were going through their boxing routines. He said the interest of Barbadian children generally towards boxing was at an all-time low because many persons believe boxing was for a particular category of people.
“There are some people who tend to think that Mohammed Ali is what he is today because of boxing … and it is going to be very hard to re-educate them about boxing…
“There is so much talent in Barbados and if we would tap in on this talent we would have a lot of good boxers, for apart from athletics, boxing is the only sport that could bring a medal at the Commonwealth, CAC and Pan American Games,” Bowen added. michronrobinson@ barbadostoday.bb