Coaching at BMHAC

How We Organise our Coaching

The Club has over 30 coaches who work in groups led by England Athletics qualified Athletics Coaches. They work to the UK Athletics Code of Practice which means that coaches must work to the principles of: Accountability; Integrity; Quality; Communication and Respect. The Code is available here. (

Club training sessions are held at the Down Grange track on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 6 and 8pm and on Sundays from 10.00 am -12.00 noon. Some groups hold sessions on other days.

Athletics can be a hazardous sport, particularly on the track, therefore It is vital that athletes obey coaches’ instructions.

The Club’s Athlete Welcome Pack can be found at: (insert link)

Starting Out

Our two beginners’ groups introduce young people to running, jumping and throwing before they move on to more discipline focused training as they move through subsequent groups.

We have two starter groups.  The first is led by Cheryll Ragan and Liz  Flitcroft for athletes under the age of 11, and includes training in middle distance, sprints, jumps and throws (click on names for further info). More detail is on our Under 11s page at: (insert link)

The second group is led by Sue Pett and is for young people aged between 11-16 and again offers sprints, middle distance some jumps and throws.  This group is essentially a taster group to find which event they prefer, and they are then moved onto the appropriate event group (this is usually within 3 months). The beginners’ groups have contact details to register your interest. We often have waiting lists so please be patient!

Athlete Progression

At Year 6 move athletes on to one of the 11-16 training groups that are more specialised.

The following diagram indicates how our coaching covers all athletics disciplines and ages. However, a diagram can only give an impression; our coaching groups work collaboratively to provide the optimum experience for each athlete.

Our sprints and middle-distance coaches work as teams and keep our young athletes under regular review. Our aim is to ensure that athletes have the best possible training environment which can be determined by coaches’ views of the optimum group for each athlete in terms of performance and the athlete’s view of their training environment. We are also mindful that young athletes need to be feel comfortable in their group.

Occasionally coaches may recommend a change of group which will always be discussed with athletes and parents.  Athletes’ journeys are determined by their interests and ambitions. We aim to give feedback on performance and developing skills which may encourage a change in direction.

Not all athletes are ready to commit to just one discipline. Where possible, we will arrange for athletes to have sessions before or after their main coaching session. Hurdles, jumps and throws sessions are available on other days of the week and at weekends. Middle distance and endurance sessions are available at weekends, depending on the competition schedule.

The decision as to where athletes progress to is a 3-way process that takes into account the preferences of the athlete, their parents and also where the coaches think they would benefit the most.

No move is necessarily permanent, and we strongly advocate that, if an athlete is unhappy, they talk to their coach, or if preferred, the Coaching Co-ordinator (Leigh Henderson). BMHAC coaches work collaboratively to ensure that athletes are in the optimum group for their stage of development.

It is possible for athletes to train in one group on Tuesday/Thursday, and undertaking specific training (hurdles, throws, jumps, sprints, or middle distance) with another coach. It is important to consult coaches when considering this as, coaches know which other group(s) athletes train in and when.

Please note that all members are required to compete for the Club at least twice a year unless a coach considers that there are good reasons not to do so.

Coaching Groups

Starter Group: Primary (Under 11)

Lead Coaches – Cheryll Ragan & Liz Flitcroft

Assistant Coaches – Jez Clarke & Terry Wegg

This is the beginners’ group for younger athletes looking to start in athletics aimed primarily at children in school years 3 – 5. (Under 11s)

The group offers a wide range of running activities to give an introduction to the key sessions in athletics. This includes sprints, long distance, intervals, hill runs and relays to include the whole group.

The coaches also offer an introduction to the vortex throw (mini javelin) and long jump, which are the two main field events available to juniors in the under 11 age group.

The group regularly uses the track but most sessions are on grass.

Starter Group: Junior (Age 11-14)

Lead Coach – Sue Pett
Assistant Coaches – Steve Cawley and Julie Yates

This group is for children in of secondary school age although in the spring/summer term some year 6 children will begin in this group.

The group offers an introduction to training predominantly in sprints, middle distance and long jump (in summer), before the athletes move on to one of the established training groups.

The following groups are primarily for junior athletes aged 11-18:

Middle Distance

The main focus of these groups is middle distance and endurance running with an emphasis over the winter on cross-country races. Relays are an important element of the racing programme in Autumn and Spring.

Most training is on grass, although some sessions are on the track. Key sessions are held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. However, weekend sessions and group runs are held according to the time of year.

Progression through the groups or elsewhere is subject to the wishes of the athlete and suitability as specified by the coaches.

Lead Coach – Leigh Henderson and Sue Pett

Assistant Coach – Jason Sutton

Jason works with athletes of between 11 and 16 who are not ready to train with the intensity of other groups. Leigh and Sue are on hand to provide support as necessar

Lead Coaches – Jo Breeds & Dave Ragan

Assistant Coach – Caroline Slimin

Lead Coach – Leigh Henderson

Assistant Coach – Donna Mulholland

These two groups have young athletes from 11-c16. They hold joint training sessions regularly and some athletes may join older groups occasionally, according to their capacity and progress.

Lead Coach – Ian Byett

Assistant Coach – Steve Ladhams

Ian and Steve have a group of 16 year old and upward athletes focusing on cross country and 800m to 3000m on the track.

Lead Coach – Dave Ragan

Dave coaches a group of male athletes from 16 up to senior level who are focusing primarily on track distances up to 5000m with cross country as an important element of preparation

Lead Coach – Rod Finch
Assistant Coach – Tracey Joseph

A group for older teenagers and adults with an emphasis on middle distances of 400m up to 5000m on the track, half marathon and marathon on the roads and on cross country over the winter months.


Sprint Groups (11 and upwards)

Lead Coaches– Pete Bolton, Andy Sleap

Assistant Coaches- Lisa Hedderly, Neil Barton and Karen Jakes

The primary goal is to teach basic sprinting technique including sprint starts in preparation for moving onto our older training group’s whilst trying to still keep the “fun” aspect. The training takes place on the track and grass areas around Down Grange with distances ranging from 50 – 400m, however longer distances are involved within conditioning sessions, especially in winter months. Entry into competition is strongly encouraged.

Sprints Group (c14 upwards)

Lead Coaches – John & Debbie Davis 
A group aimed at athletes across the 100 / 200 / 400m sprint events, by developing their acceleration, maximum velocity and speed endurance capabilities. There is also an emphasis on the technical requirements required to progress through the various age groups coupled with mobility, coordination and movement skills in order to produce a competent speed athlete.

Sprints Group (13 – Adult)


Lead Coach –  Ben Hazell

The group has a wide range of ability offering a competitive but fun group. These sessions will allow you to develop your speed, speed endurance and accelerate your understanding of how to warm-up, train and compete.

Multi Events (11-17)

Lead Coach – Andy Sleap

This group offers athletes the opportunity to train in a range of disciplines geared towards multi-events or simply adding one or more events to their repertoire.

Club Tuesday and Thursday training sessions (track and grass) cover sprints. In addition, Andy offers further Monday and Wednesday evening sessions in the track season plus all year weekend sessions geared towards hurdles, jumps and throws.

These extra sessions are also open to athletes in all other training groups. 
Regular attendance, especially in the winter, is essential as most of the technical work is done in this period with tweaking during the track season. 
For jumps and hurdles the sooner the athlete starts the better, so if any year 5s are interested please speak to Andy.

All members of the group are required to compete for the club.

Throws Group (Age 11+)

Lead Coach – Deborah Montgomery

Assistants – Scott Addington and Aimee Slimin

Secondary school age and above for beginners to competitive level throws.

Club Tuesday session focus is Shot & Discus; Thursday session focus is Javelin; and Saturday session is invitation only on Hammer and Discus from the cage. 

The winter sessions are a combination of conditioning and technical throw drills

Senior Multi Events 
Lead Coach – Rafer Joseph

Adult group for athletes of a high competitive standard at multi events with a strong emphasis on jumps and throws. 

Senior Road & Trail Running Group 
Lead Coaches – Terry Wegg, Don Powell, Ray Gartland, Andy Cullen, Andy Goddard, Jenny Froud and Michael Hickey.

A mixed adult group of all ages and abilities, with the focus on road and trail running over distances of 5k up to marathon and beyond. The group also take part in cross country, fell and hill racing.

Road training sessions

Held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings with day time sessions available too.

Track sessions are held on Saturdays between March and September.

Marathon Group led by Terry Wegg & Andy Goddard
An 18 week training schedule from December to April.