THUNDERBIRD PROGRAM OFFERINGS
The Vancouver Thunderbirds has something for everyone. We espouse three philosophies, depending on the age of our members.
GRADE 7 AND UNDER:
For this age group we are a community based, grass roots track and field club that encourages athletes to try new events, improve ones that they are already good at, and to participate in many activities outside of our sport. Cross Country programs are offered from September to November. Indoor conditioning practices run from December to Spring Break, and outdoor track begins in March. The club emphasizes that at this age specialization and personal training is strongly discouraged. Sometimes it is the young athlete who is requesting the additional training, and it is up to the parent to hold the athlete back rather than risk ‘burnout’ by ‘giving them what they want’. Performance is not the focus of this age group, and studies show that successful performance for athletes grade 7 and younger has virtually no correlation to success at older ages. The purpose of the practices for this age group is to develop basic competency in each event so that they may have a more fulfilling experience at track and field meets. For more information, read our Junior Development page.
GRADE 8 – 10:
We are a provincially recognized club that splits its training groups into endurance and power/speed categories at this intermediate level. Practice times and days vary depending on the event group. At this age group we place an emphasis on fun and participation, coupled with the potential for highly competitive provincial and national competitions. There is opportunity to represent regional teams and for team travel. It is important to consult the coaches about the events you want to do and the practice times that are appropriate for your events. More specific training is available at this age group, and athletes tend to start to focus on one or two event groups (ie jumps and sprints, or middle and long distance). More information on our Midget, Youth and Junior page.
UPPER HIGH SCHOOL, UNIVERSITY AND OPEN:
Highly specialized training regimes, periodization and year-round training have helped to put our athletes on teams that travel throughout North America, Europe, South America and Asia. These athletes aspire to the pinnacle of the sport. Consultation and planning with the Thunderbirds’ coaches is required at this level. While not all our athletes in this age group are elite, it is expected that athletes of all abilities are highly committed to training and competing. For more information, on our Midget, Youth and Junior or Senior pages.