Juniors Training at GSAL 2024

GSAL athletics track map

updated 1 March 2024

We plan to resume training at GSAL on Tuesday 2 April 2024 and we have booked 12 dates at approximately 2-weekly intervals. On the other weeks we will be at Leos, except one on ?? July when we will be at the Golden Acre Relays and we will possibly book 2 sessions at the Brownlee Centre.


  • All parents must park in the back car park (staff car park). In no circumstances may parents drive their cars along the road to the athletics track, even for drop off.
  • All children, whatever their age, and even if late arrivals, must walk from the car park to the athletics track and be accompanied by their parent/guardian for the night. Anyone not doing this puts themselves at risk and also is breaking the terms of my agreement and risk assessment so puts at risk the rest of our sessions for the summer.


Please click https://www.valleystriders.org.uk/general-information-for-juniors-2024/


Survey to book for the next month’s sessions

please click https://www.valleystriders.org.uk/booking-junior-training-sessions/


and hopefully not cancellation

  • I will publish groups and names (based on survey responses) by Friday noon
  • If you want a place you must confirm (via Facebook) by Monday 6pm (but preferably by Sunday 10pm, PLEASE)
  • I will publish the “final” list of groups and names late Monday evening
  • If you haven’t confirmed by Tuesday 2pm and the session is overbooked we’ll allocate your place to someone else and let you know by text.
  • If you’ve confirmed your place but then need to cancel you can do so up to Tuesday 2pm with no penalty – this will allow me to contact reserves to see if they want to take up the place
  • If you’ve confirmed your place but cancel after Tuesday 2pm you will have a lower priority for booking for the “following” week i.e. if your session is overbooked you won’t get a place, but if a place then becomes free you will get it (although it may not be your preferred group)
  • If you’ve confirmed your place but cancel less than 10 minutes before the start of your session (or you just don’t turn up), you won’t get a place for the “following” week.
  • Cancellations should be by Facebook post or by text to my mobile if you’re not on Facebook. Do not use email or Messenger to cancel.
  • Definition of “Following” – if this session is a GSAL session, it will apply to the next GSAL session

IF there are circumstances that cause us to have to cancel the session, a message will be posted here by Tuesday 4pm to confirm or otherwise. If we can’t use GSAL, we may go to Leos, with the same groups the “early” GSAL group at Leos at 5:30 and the “late” GSAL group at Leos at 6:15.


Although we are now free of CoVid regulations, we still have a duty of care, this is why we are continuing with small(ish) groups and asking for everyone to take care.

When we are at GSAL …

  • There are two timeslots – 6:00pm-6:55pm and 7:00pm-7:55pm in GSAL term time (6 dates in 2024) and 5:30pm-6:25pm and 6:30pm-7:25pm in GSAL school holidays (6 dates in 2024)
  • There are four groups each ideally with 10 and maximum 12 junior athletes
  • There will be a 5th group on the early session only for school years 2 and younger (maybe some year 3’s) see note below
  • Therefore a maximum capacity of 60 at the early timeslot, 48 at the second, 108 in total
  • There are 4 activities – sprinting, long jumping, laps and shot putting
  • The timetable allows for 10 minutes to meet and warm up, then 10 minutes on each activity
  • There will be 8 parents who will be group leaders – they will collect their group together and be responsible for them being in the right place for the rest of the evening
  • There will be 8 parents / volunteers who will be activity leaders – they will manage the activities
  • Most of the rest of the parents INCLUDING THOSE WHO SAY THEY AREN’T ABLE TO HELP will be asked to assist with the activities, e.g.
    • sprinting – allocating runners to races, starting, judging 1-2-3, timekeeping, recording
    • long-jumping (2 teams) – runway control, checking for no-jump, marking landing point, raking the sand
    • laps – running (including back-marker), timing, keeping finishers in order, recording
    • shot (2 teams) – keeping athletes safe, calling up to putt, assistance with style, retrieving shots
  • Please note that dogs are not allowed on the GSAL site, not even to be left in cars in the car park

All those assisting will be briefed with what to do. None of it is technical (the most technical job is to recording 6 times on a phone) and no athletics ability is required except for some of those helping on laps

It is possible that someone from the GSAL staff will come and observe the session. It is therefore vital that you tell your children to always follow the instructions of their group leader and always stay within their group.


  • for school year 2 and younger
  • would do activities in the centre of the field “Extra Activity Area” e.g.
  • V S relays
  • standing long jump
  • might be able to long jump into the spare pit (if in good condition)
  • short sprints on the outside lane of the back straight
  • shot put using tennis balls from the javelin runway


We envisage the earlier timeslot (6:00 term time / 5:30 school hols) being oversubscribed and the later timeslot (7:00/6:30) possibly being undersubscribed.

If so, priority will be given to

  • those who are members vs. those on waiting list
  • those who compete at track and field vs. those who don’t
  • those who joined prior to 31 June 2023 vs those who joined afterwards
  • those who compete in general (including parkrun) vs. those who don’t
  • those parents who help vs. those who don’t
  • those who reply to surveys early vs. those who reply late
  • those on full membership vs. those on “limited training”

But the overriding rule for priority is that those who in the previous week have booked a session and then fail to turn up without notifying will be the lowest priority for the current week and those who booked a session and cancelled after 2pm on the day will be the next lowest


There will be 4 activities

  • Sprinting
  • Long jumping.
  • Endurance running (laps of the track)
  • Shot putting. Youngest children (up to year 2) will “put” tennis balls, year 3 will “put” boules (each weighs about 800gm which is less than half the weight an 8 year old would use in competition) to practice technique, years 4 and 5 will use boules or 2kg shots, years 6 and above will use 2kg or 3kg shots.
  • We may do shuttle relays as an alternative to one of the above four

You can see videos of how to do long jumping and shot putting

Each group will spend 10 minutes on each activity.

We will have a group leader to look after each group (as we do at Leos), and they will receive the children at the designated meeting point when they arrive, move them between activities and be responsible for social distancing and safety.

We’ll also have an activity leader to look after each activity for the whole timeslot and some activity assistants to help the leader

  • for the sprints, we’ll have a starter (who will also be the leader), a false start judge, a timekeeper and finish line recorder.
  • for the long jump, we’ll have a runway checker, a take-off judge (who will also be the leader), someone to record where the jumper landed and 2 rakers. From 2023 we need 2 teams
  • for the laps, a starter (who will also be the leader) and a timekeeper, also hopefully a couple of parents to run including one to be back-marker.
  • for the shot, a technique judge (who will also be the leader) and an assistant to look out for safety. From 2023 we need 2 teams


In GSAL school holidays (e.g. 30 May) you should arrive 10 minutes before your session timeslot is due to start. You must park in the Staff Car Park.

In GSAL term time (e.g. 9 May) you must not arrive on site before 5:50pm. In previous years you’ve been allowed to park in the visitors car park but under GSAL CoVid rules, those attending external activities are prohibited from site until 5:50pm.

For all sessions, you must park in the Staff Car Park.

From the roundabout on the A61, go down the main drive and turn left at the barrier. Press the GREEN button. The barrier will go up automatically when you press the button. It won’t go up before 5:50pm in term time (go away and come back later), but will go up at all times in the school holidays. If the barrier doesn’t go up, press the buzzer.

NB don’t try to tail-gate after another car through the barrier. It comes down quickly. I saw someone try it a couple of years ago and it resulted in a damaged car (and a damaged barrier),

Having parked, make your way to the track and find your meeting point.

Children must not warm up / play on the track, nor in the long jump area. They may warm up on the grass round the outside of the track but must obey social distancing while doing this (parent’s responsibility)


For parents

  • Only park in the designated staff car park
  • Take care when walking from the car park to the athletics track, there is traffic e.g. buses turning round at the roundabout and maintenance vehicles near the track
  • You MUST accompany your child to the meeting point
  • On arrival at the meeting point, please leave your child with the group leader
  • Group leaders will remain with their group for the duration of the session. If they feel they need to wear masks they should do so
  • Activity leaders and assistants will remain with their activity for the duration of the session. If they feel they need to wear masks they should do so
  • Parents not allocated to a group or activity must stay by the side of the track while activities are taking place in case your child needs attention
  • Parents not allocated to a group or activity must stay at least 5 metres away from all activities unless requested to attend to their child and must practice social distancing and grouping according to current government rules
  • NB Dogs are not allowed anywhere on the GSAL site

For children

  • Obey social distancing at all times
  • Do not touch any equipment
  • Follow your group leader’s instructions to move between activities
  • Follow your activity leaders’ instructions when taking part in activities
  • Do not cross the track except when instructed to do so
  • Do not scuff the track or track markings (we want to keep it in best condition). A warning will be issued if this is done deliberately

Note regarding Standing Triple Jump If for any reason the long jump pit is out of action, we’ll be doing Standing Triple Jump as an alternative https://youtu.be/idm5DuQqf7I / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoJEXxm1pjY&t=1s / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u73K45, 5:30, 6:15