Athletics Teaching Made Easy: Book Review by Carl Broome

Athletics Teaching Made Easy

Athletics Teaching Made Easy

Athletics, you might argue, is one of the purest forms of physical activity and is a staple of PE curricula across the world with its rich history and culture. Helping youngsters to be the highest, fastest, or strongest they can be on the track or field means sharing the most effective techniques and how to avoid falling foul of the numerous rules and regulations that govern each discipline. PE teachers therefore are required to juggle acting as official, teacher and coach while also knowing how to keep pupils safe in the presence of spears and 4kg cannonballs.

Athletics Teaching Made Easy is a book released by two athletics enthusiasts, Carol Collins and Vicky McKinnon, who know what life is like at the chalkface (which is always appreciated). As the title suggests, the book aims to make life easy for teachers to deliver athletics in a way that has them be the coach, official and H&S supervisor rolled into one. Sections for each discipline incorporate the rules, lesson set-up ideas and safety considerations. Techniques are shared with both text and images, most of which are clear and helpful; although I do wonder if there’s a way to supplement the purchase of the book with short video clips to help teachers to visualise the techniques.

Experienced teachers of athletics will find most of the content in this book is very familiar as the fairly standard way PE teachers deliver athletics. However, I would still definitely find this book useful to have around the PE office as a reference for those specific details that just won’t commit to memory… “What weight of shot should Year 9 boys use, again?” I also like the inclusion of the ESA standards to give pupils different levels to work towards and I think the task sheets for each event would be great for quickly printing off and giving to non-doers to keep them involved in the learning. Similarly, there are ready-made score sheets which might prove useful to busy teachers. All these are things you could find or make yourself, but it’s great to have them neatly together in one place.

The ‘dead fly’ analogy for teaching high jump is nice, and I found myself wishing there were a few more of this type of fun mnemonic devices to help pupils remember the various techniques. No mention of ‘hip-to-lip’ or the world’s greatest thrower Tony Chin?! It’s the type of nugget you might hope to get from experts in teaching athletics and something that all PE teachers would benefit from, even those with established teaching practice.

For PE teachers starting out in the profession and lacking experience of teaching athletics this book will be a helpful guide. All the nuances of the events can be found in here and teachers will benefit from the diagrams suggesting how lessons can be set-up in a safe manner, including indoor lessons should they be required which is a nice touch. It is clearly laid out into the separate disciplines and allows teachers to easily find what they need to know for each lesson, extra-curricular club and of course, those balmy summer term athletics meets.

Athletics Teaching Made Easy contains everything a novice teacher will need to get up to speed with the way athletics is taught in schools and I would recommend it to teachers starting out in the profession. PE departments will benefit from the ready-to-print resources and it will prove a handy time-saver. This book is going to help ensure the next generation of PE teachers pupils continue to deliver athletics correctly and safely in schools and keep this purest of activities alive.

Finally, they offer some really useful free resources to get you started. View and download these resources by clicking here.

Carl Broome
Head of P.E. & Games
Sherborne Senior School

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