The Vancouver Thunderbirds is a young club, but we are quickly becoming recognized at the National level. A major reason for this is the strength of our parent volunteer base. Without you, coaches would be required to put greater energy into administration and less time into coaching itself. As such, the Executive expects that parents can be called upon for assistance at a minimum of two club functions per year. The more we can share the workload, the easier for all, and the more coaching your children can receive. Further to the volunteer expectations, the Vancouver Thunderbirds emphasizes to parents that your children participate in track and field for their enjoyment – not yours – and we expect that parents will be active in espousing the philosophy of pressure-free participation at the junior development level for young athletes. Sometimes the source of pressure is from athletes themselves (not the parents), and it is important for parents to support the club philosophy that athletes in grade 7 and under do not seek specific personal training – it is better to leave a young athlete wanting more track and field experience than to give them too much.
Our expectations for attendance at practice are based on the Long Term Athlete Development Model. Coaches would like to see athletes at most practices, but there are no ‘cuts’ for absences. While we are here to help athletes improve, the coaching staff understands that children have many activities. There is, however, a strong correlation between attendance and athletic improvement. For more information on attendance, consult your coach – there are different expectations for different age groups. For example, at the ‘grade 11 and over’ age group the correlation between practicing and improving becomes stronger, and the principle of training specificity is an important ingredient for success. Therefore, the expectations at this age group are more rigid than they are for our junior development athletes. At all competitions, it is expected that club members will wear the Vancouver Thunderbirds singlet. Other pieces of clothing can be purchased, however only the singlet is mandatory. For sizing and cost and inquiries about other track and field garments, please contact Allison deVisser (phone and email listed under ‘club contacts’). Behavioural expectations include: appropriate use of language; enthusiastic participation in all practice activities when in attendance; respect for other athletes’ right to learn and participate, respect for coaches’ efforts and directions; and respect for oneself.
Parents and athletes can expect that coaches will provide a safe environment for athletes in which to train. Further, coach conduct is governed by the same rules as athlete behavioral expectations (read above).
The Vancouver Thunderbirds continues to expand, and as we grow we revisit and enhance our athlete support policy. In addition to what the club provides, we are on an ongoing search for funding in the community for club athletes. The funding policy does not apply to any athlete who leaves the club before the end of the membership year, nor to athletes who have received a membership discount or are seasonal members. The current policy provides for athletes to receive the following:
Age Group Coaching Days Offered BC Age Group Championships National Age Group Championships
13 & Younger 4 / week Up to 4 events paid N/A
14 – 17 years 4 – 5 / week Up to 3 events paid Entry fee paid*
18 – 19 years 5 – 6 / week Up to 3 events paid Entry fee paid*
20+ years 5 – 6 / week Up to 3 events paid Entry fee paid*
* If athletes do not make a provincial team but do make the meet entry standard and choose to attend the National Age Group Championships as a club member, The Vancouver Thunderbirds will pay the entry fee.
*Athletes who have not committed to the volunteer efforts of the club will relinquish their right to club funding.