Juvenile Snapshots

The first ever AIT AC Juvenile AGM took place on the 4th December 2014 at 8pm in the Earl of Ross lecture theatre in the AIT. It was a well attended meeting.

The following committee was elected:

Chairperson : Maire Mulvihill

Secretary : Catherine Clancy O'Connor

Treasurer : Mairead Faller

Child Welfare Officer : Maeve McCay

Designated Liaison Person : Jude Lohan

Coaching Co-ordinators : Ted O'Brien and Paul Fitzgerald

Club PRO : Ronan Gately


Short-Distance high-intensity Running

Sprinting distances for juveniles range from 60 meters up to 400 meters. Although 400 meters is probably more closely aligned to an endurance (middle-distance!) for a young child. Sprinters need to be able to use starting blocks which helps them propel themselves into the first "drive phase" of the sprint. Key skills in the sprints events that need to be worked on include reaction time off the blocks, drive phase, transition phase into the maximum velocity phase and finally the famous dip for the line.

High Jump

The high jump is one of those field events that requires lots of patience and focus. Its a very technical event but all children can benefit from high jumping training as it requires them to lift those knees up and develops great flexibiltiy.

High jumpers must clear a crossbar that is approximately 13 feet long. The jumper runs towards the crossbar, then leaps upwards over the bar, either face down or face up. Each jumper may attempt a height three times. After the jumper clears the height, officials raise the crossbar. If a jumper hits the crossbar or knocks it down, the jump does not count.

Pole Vault

One field event that provides great rewards for those children that have an interest in it and the dedication to work hard to learn the skills needed to jump over a bar at a relatively scary height. An event that is growing in popularity and in Athlone we are very fortunate to have the indoor arena where we can use the pole vault all the year round safely.

Athletes in pole vault competition attempt to clear a crossbar by propelling themselves up and over the bar using a long, flexible pole, measuring 13 to 16 feet for leverage. The athlete runs down a short track and plants the pole into a box on the ground, then bends the pole and swings her body up over the crossbar in a position that resembles a handstand. The athlete gets three attempts to clear each height, and officials raise the bar after a successful vault.

Shot Putt

Another throwing event that the young ones seem to love. This push throw event requires children to listen carefully and follow coaches instructions to ensure that they can master the shot-putt holding and throwing techniques.

The shot put event requires the athlete to throw a metal ball as far as possible. Male athletes throw a shot that weights 16 lbs., and female athletes throw a shot that weighs 8 lbs. 13 ozs. The athlete places the shot against her neck and turns facing away from the field, then slides backwards towards the footboard and turns and pushes the shot forward. Shot putters get three attempts to throw, with the farthest throw counting as the official score. Athletes who touch the top of the footboard or step over it lose the score for that throw.

Hammer Throw

The hammer throw requires athletes to throw a ball attached to a wire and handle as far as they can. The ball weighs 8 lbs. 13 ozs. for women and 16 lbs. for men. The athlete stands still and rotates the ball behind their body to build momentum, then releases it in an upward arc. Each athlete has three attempts to throw the hammer and the farthest distance is the official score.


An event which combines sprinting with jumping.

Endurance Running

Endurance running includes middle and long distance events.

From 400 meters (for younger children 400 could be considered an endurance event) right up to 3000 meters for juvenile athletes are considered endurance events. Training for endurance events requires athletes to get used to being on their feet for extended periods of time (running ! ) but should also incorporate some speed and speed endurance training. Even an endurance athlete will need speed for that "kick": going down the final home straight !


As with the Javelin, children really relish the thought of being allowed to throw something as far as they can. Learning the correct and best technique early on is vital and with some patience and hard work most children progress very quickly and can improve immensely in this event..

The discus is a round object made of wood or metal that weighs 2 lbs. 3 ozs. for female athletes and 4 lbs. 6 ozs. for male athletes. The thrower grips the discus in the palm of his hand and stands in a throwing circle. The athlete holds the discus with is palm facing downwards and spins in the circle to build momentum, then releases the discus forward onto the throwing field. Athletes may not place a foot outside the throwing circle and all throws must land with in the boundary lines drawn on the field.

Long Jump

Another field event that requires a mix of running and jumping.

Most long jumpers tend to be strong sprinters as they will need speed on the run up. Most juveniles are instinctively attracted to the long jump, perhaps its similarity to a sandpit might explain some of the attraction... But they love it and its a great event to develop good running and jumping technique.

The long jump requires jumpers to catapult forward as far as possible into a sand pit. Jumpers take a running start toward a takeoff board and when they reach the board they must jump forward. If a jumper's foot crosses the end of the takeoff board, the jump does not count. Each jumper gets three attempts and the farthest distance is the jumper's official score.


Juveniles throw the turbo Javelin in this very enjoyable feld throwing event. The children love throwing things... and a fast arm can be found in the most surprising of young athletes. Size doesnt always translate into strong javelin throwers. You won't know who has that fast-arm potential until you place that javelin in their hand and let them throw.....

The javelin event uses a long, thin spear that has a minimum length of 7 feet 2 ½ inches for female throwers and 8 feet 6 ¼ inches for male throwers. The women's javelin weighs a minimum of 1½ lbs. and the men's javelin weighs a minimum of 1 ¾ lbs. The thrower takes a running start toward a check line, leaning back with the javelin behind them. At the check line, the thrower quickly propels the javelin forward as far as possible. The athlete's foot may not cross the check line, and the javelin must land within the established boundaries of the throwing field.


Everyone likes Relays...

A great way to build team-spirit and team-work amongst young people. Relays for juveniles are usually 4X100 meters and require lots of practice perfecting the baton hand-overs and tactically working out the best leg to place each athlete. The child with the best reaction time might be most suited for leg 1 (fast out of the blocks), some athletes are better than others at running bends and the strongest 200 meters runner can be cleverly used to run 120 meters on leg 2. Lots of variations and more than any other event practice, practice and practice again is the key component.