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Triathlon clubs, are they fit for purpose
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hammerer
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:54 pm    Post subject: Triathlon clubs, are they fit for purpose Reply with quote

Read an interesting discussion about the club "structure" earlier and are clubs filling the needs of the sport and the athletes anymore. With my own experiences we had a friendly small loyal club, lots of volunteers and a good training attendance, the very best to the 20stone guy trying to lose weight. Then there was massive club growth in 2012 which attracted a new breed of athlete. At first it was great but we then had regular session attendances falling, less people willing to help out, it became very cliquey and not friendly like 10-15 years ago. I just wondered how others felt about the club structure, if their experiences differ and how so and what they would like from a club if the ideal one was set up on their doorstep. Do you think the BTF could improve the set up somehow as well, ie would a better club based race series help (think French Grand Prix but incorporating events for all with club prizes) .
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Jorgan




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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like anything, it depends on what that 'purpose' is. It could be anything from a social gathering to give people training partners, to the development of young and potentially high performing athletes.
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Jgav




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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There aren't any large clubs near me, the nearest is Hampstead Tri and it's a bit far away, so I've never been involved in one.

I don't see how being a member of a tri clubs is better than joining a running club and swim masters. Most of them don't seem to do much in the way of bike training and some don't run their own run training sessions they just link up with the local running club. I do have an informal group of local training partners but getting regular stuff going outside of summer Sunday morning sessions is difficult.

To answer your question, the perfect on your doorstep tri club, would consist of a coached swim session and a group swim per week, sunday training ride/brick and two weekly run sessions. It would also facilitate training partner connections. I've got young kids, so training camps and stuff are a no no.
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Swansea Red




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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think my tri club (Celtic Tri) is great. They have a range of coached and informal sessions across all three disciplines and welcome people of any ability. The number of members also means that there's invariably someone to go running or riding with you if you're so inclined, and good representation at local events. they've also got a very active kids section, which may well come in handy for me in a few years time.

So in answer to the original premise of the thread, yes there's definitely still a place for tri clubs in my opinion.
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stenard




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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jgav wrote:

To answer your question, the perfect on your doorstep tri club, would consist of a coached swim session and a group swim per week, sunday training ride/brick and two weekly run sessions. It would also facilitate training partner connections. I've got young kids, so training camps and stuff are a no no.

That basically describes my club.

4 coached swims per week. In the summer there are informal Friday lido sessions and weekend OW swims.

The running side has Tuesday Track, Wednesday Hills, Thursday Tempo, Sunday long run, and a new Saturday morning session more aimed at higher end HM and M (sub 75/sub3).

Cycling side has lots of coordinated rides, with various morning sessions ranging from Richmond Park and Regents Park, a formal weekly longer Saturday ride for more experienced riders, and more relaxed Sunday rides.

They've also just invested in a dozen turbos for brick sessions to commence next season. In the past it was byo at Battersea Park track.

Plus an annual novice tri programme. "Graduation" is typically the May Thames Turbo race.

As a club there's been a relatively big focus on high turnout at London league races, altho I personally stepped away from them this year due to longer distance focus.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the clubs go in the direction the members wish...and with growing pains, that can sometimes be with some fall out along the way.

I don't think that the BTF should manage races - i don't think the sport is better for Leeds etc...race organisation is the preserve of the clubs and ROs. If they want to put a specific type of race on then fab...if the market is there then it will succeed.

What the BTF and ITU used to do, albeit not always very efficiently, was to run an annual duathlon and triathlon series. They were both very competitive and great fun. Relatively easy to promote and administer, good coverage, great for attracting participants to events and an additional non long distance focus for the sport.
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hammerer
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

explorerJC wrote:
the clubs go in the direction the members wish...and with growing pains, that can sometimes be with some fall out along the way.

I don't think that the BTF should manage races - i don't think the sport is better for Leeds etc...race organisation is the preserve of the clubs and ROs. If they want to put a specific type of race on then fab...if the market is there then it will succeed.

What the BTF and ITU used to do, albeit not always very efficiently, was to run an annual duathlon and triathlon series. They were both very competitive and great fun. Relatively easy to promote and administer, good coverage, great for attracting participants to events and an additional non long distance focus for the sport.


Yes I had the old series in mind when I made my post, things like the London League also. Certainly agree events should be run by clubs not the BTF but maybe them choosing the club events for the series.
It would give a purpose to racing for your club and also bring people back from Ironman's clutches. I'm surprised with the growth of two and how good we are at the elite level that a series along the lines of the French GP hasn't been done yet either utilising the bigger "hub clubs" as they are known in swimming.
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tin pot




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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jgav wrote:
There aren't any large clubs near me, the nearest is Hampstead Tri and it's a bit far away, so I've never been involved in one.
....
To answer your question, the perfect on your doorstep tri club, would consist of a coached swim session and a group swim per week, sunday training ride/brick and two weekly run sessions. It would also facilitate training partner connections. I've got young kids, so training camps and stuff are a no no.


The perfect club for me doesnít need to run or ride weekly, I do all my training in commute time or at work.
Swims have to be local, I have two local pools neither have clubs associated. In fact being run out of Virgin Active might be ideal; coached technique sessions on SBR and strength would be really easy there. One of each per week you could drop into, at any VA I have access to would mean I get continuity when working away from home too.

I donít run or ride with the bike or run club Iím a member of, but I do race with them occasionally. Itís nice to have someone to go to races with, Triathlonís a bit of a damp quib after the finish line on your own - Iíd prefer to party Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stenard wrote:
Jgav wrote:

To answer your question, the perfect on your doorstep tri club, would consist of a coached swim session and a group swim per week, sunday training ride/brick and two weekly run sessions. It would also facilitate training partner connections. I've got young kids, so training camps and stuff are a no no.

That basically describes my club.

4 coached swims per week. In the summer there are informal Friday lido sessions and weekend OW swims.

The running side has Tuesday Track, Wednesday Hills, Thursday Tempo, Sunday long run, and a new Saturday morning session more aimed at higher end HM and M (sub 75/sub3).

Cycling side has lots of coordinated rides, with various morning sessions ranging from Richmond Park and Regents Park, a formal weekly longer Saturday ride for more experienced riders, and more relaxed Sunday rides.

They've also just invested in a dozen turbos for brick sessions to commence next season. In the past it was byo at Battersea Park track.

Plus an annual novice tri programme. "Graduation" is typically the May Thames Turbo race.

As a club there's been a relatively big focus on high turnout at London league races, altho I personally stepped away from them this year due to longer distance focus.


You're in a pretty fortunate location though, I doubt you'd get anything similar unless you were in a big city!
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mattsurf




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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are Tri clubs still fit for purpose, in my experience absolutely

My old Tri Club in Salisbury is great

Twice weekly coached swim sessions

Weekly coached run

Weekly un-coached bike session, it cannot be coached as insurance for coached bike sessions is prohibitive

In the summer they also have informal un-coached open water swim sessions

In the Spring, they also run a 6 week into to tri, which is always very popular

Overall, the standard is very mixed, from Kona Qualifiers, GB Triathletes, to absolute beginners of all ages, shapes and sizes

In Switzerland in my current club, the format is pretty similar, however the swim sessions have a professional coach, who coaches swim teams full time.

In addition the club organizes training weekends and a coaching session with Roy Hinnen, a former pro, in his infinity pool

The club also organizes the annual Zyterm Triathlon, which is one of the bigger events on the Swiss Calendar

I would say that it is less inclusive, where most of the members are already pretty good athletes (but no KQ as far as I know)
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TriSam wrote:
You're in a pretty fortunate location though, I doubt you'd get anything similar unless you were in a big city!


Nope. Derby Tri was pretty similar to that.
Plus, you could complement the training sessions with the local cycling, or running, clubs(s) - there were little to no clashes.

Knutsford Tri training times are either too early, or too late, for my current working practises Sad
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hammerer
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mattsurf wrote:


Weekly un-coached bike session, it cannot be coached as insurance for coached bike sessions is prohibitive



club and coaches insurance with the BTF covers bike sessions which is covered in the £100 a year membership fee for clubs (coaches have BTF insurance via membership). If coaching "on the road" you must be stopped to give technical feedback though. We run weekly velodrome and also use places like the cyclopark or even school tennis courts for the youngest to coach bike.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Triathlon clubs, are they fit for purpose Reply with quote

hammerer wrote:
Read an interesting discussion about the club "structure" earlier and are clubs filling the needs of the sport and the athletes anymore. With my own experiences we had a friendly small loyal club, lots of volunteers and a good training attendance, the very best to the 20stone guy trying to lose weight. Then there was massive club growth in 2012 which attracted a new breed of athlete. At first it was great but we then had regular session attendances falling, less people willing to help out, it became very cliquey and not friendly like 10-15 years ago. I just wondered how others felt about the club structure, if their experiences differ and how so and what they would like from a club if the ideal one was set up on their doorstep. Do you think the BTF could improve the set up somehow as well, ie would a better club based race series help (think French Grand Prix but incorporating events for all with club prizes) .


The French Grand Prix series is just the top layer. Each team that is in "D1" (division 1 obvs Wink ) needs to have qualified through D3 then D2 to get into D1. Likewise, clubs who finish in the bottom 2 or 3 (varies depending on number of clubs in the division) will be relegated.

D1 and D2 have a specific number of clubs racing at that level and then D3 is regional, building up to a national final. The races that qualify as a D3 race are nominated by the regional league and the national final by FFTri. The races that have D1 or D2 races submit a profile to be awarded the race. So the race isn't an FFTri organised race but it is given the race by the FFTri.

There are some qualification requirements and rules around the teams involved in each level but then there are also some benefits to racing in the leagues. With allowances and cash prize funds available in all the leagues. Similarly the federations regional groups have designated junior race series across all formats of multisport running throughout the year, and clubs again get benefits for involving more kids and improving results.

Personally, I have no experience of UK clubs as I've just not carried on my triathlons enough in the UK. I get different reactions from different people. I see that BTF are trying to do more to promote the team aspect of triathlon, but maybe this is a key difference between French and UK clubs and how you get the most out of people in clubs.

Also, France have different rules regarding safeguarding children. Obviously they have important safeguards in place but their adult to child ratio means it is far simpler to manage more children in the club. The clubs are also heavily funded if they have a well run junior section. There's a lot of work required to manage a junior section but the funding makes it worthwhile. A child also never pays an entry fee for a race.

The team aspect, and the full inclusion of the family are to me (in my opinion) the key areas where the French get the club structure right. It's about grassroots and making sure everyone is active. This despite the supposed complications of a medical certificate etc.

So to answer your question - would a better club based race series help - possibly. Promoting cohesion. But it may only be part of it. Promoting family involvement and investing back in the clubs is also a big part of it.

However, I can say that no matter which country you're in you get the same club politics no matter what. Cycling club in SA, tri + cycling club in France, and a running club in UK, it is always the same. Only a select few offer to volunteer at every race, a select few that tell others how things should be but never help out, a select few where the training sessions are never to their liking, a select few that you just never see, accusations of cliques, and then a core group that do all they can, make the most of training sessions, and have a great time.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Triathlon clubs, are they fit for purpose Reply with quote

awildt wrote:
hammerer wrote:
Read an interesting discussion about the club "structure" earlier and are clubs filling the needs of the sport and the athletes anymore. With my own experiences we had a friendly small loyal club, lots of volunteers and a good training attendance, the very best to the 20stone guy trying to lose weight. Then there was massive club growth in 2012 which attracted a new breed of athlete. At first it was great but we then had regular session attendances falling, less people willing to help out, it became very cliquey and not friendly like 10-15 years ago. I just wondered how others felt about the club structure, if their experiences differ and how so and what they would like from a club if the ideal one was set up on their doorstep. Do you think the BTF could improve the set up somehow as well, ie would a better club based race series help (think French Grand Prix but incorporating events for all with club prizes) .


The French Grand Prix series is just the top layer. Each team that is in "D1" (division 1 obvs Wink ) needs to have qualified through D3 then D2 to get into D1. Likewise, clubs who finish in the bottom 2 or 3 (varies depending on number of clubs in the division) will be relegated.

D1 and D2 have a specific number of clubs racing at that level and then D3 is regional, building up to a national final. The races that qualify as a D3 race are nominated by the regional league and the national final by FFTri. The races that have D1 or D2 races submit a profile to be awarded the race. So the race isn't an FFTri organised race but it is given the race by the FFTri.

There are some qualification requirements and rules around the teams involved in each level but then there are also some benefits to racing in the leagues. With allowances and cash prize funds available in all the leagues. Similarly the federations regional groups have designated junior race series across all formats of multisport running throughout the year, and clubs again get benefits for involving more kids and improving results.

Personally, I have no experience of UK clubs as I've just not carried on my triathlons enough in the UK. I get different reactions from different people. I see that BTF are trying to do more to promote the team aspect of triathlon, but maybe this is a key difference between French and UK clubs and how you get the most out of people in clubs.

Also, France have different rules regarding safeguarding children. Obviously they have important safeguards in place but their adult to child ratio means it is far simpler to manage more children in the club. The clubs are also heavily funded if they have a well run junior section. There's a lot of work required to manage a junior section but the funding makes it worthwhile. A child also never pays an entry fee for a race.

The team aspect, and the full inclusion of the family are to me (in my opinion) the key areas where the French get the club structure right. It's about grassroots and making sure everyone is active. This despite the supposed complications of a medical certificate etc.

So to answer your question - would a better club based race series help - possibly. Promoting cohesion. But it may only be part of it. Promoting family involvement and investing back in the clubs is also a big part of it.

However, I can say that no matter which country you're in you get the same club politics no matter what. Cycling club in SA, tri + cycling club in France, and a running club in UK, it is always the same. Only a select few offer to volunteer at every race, a select few that tell others how things should be but never help out, a select few where the training sessions are never to their liking, a select few that you just never see, accusations of cliques, and then a core group that do all they can, make the most of training sessions, and have a great time.


that's a great insight, thanks. This sounds like a good structure. Its something that i feel would benefit the sport over here. I suppose we have the BUCS champs for the main universities with elite triathlon programmes but perhaps this could be improved incorporating clubs

and yes politics, the issue with all volunteer led sports. Its such a shame as most of the people involved do it because they care and then it just becomes a lot o BS for no gain. When i started running the club that was it, right no more, which worked for a while but it reappeared eventually, usually by caused those who have the biggest mouths but giving the least effort.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My old one really helped me get started in triathlon. Joined it in 2005 not being able to run 4k. Great support got me though Wimbleball and then IM UK in 2006. Had a great time in swim sessions, the odd social ride, regular club nights, team kit, club championships, etc. Then after a few years it changed, and I stayed with it. Then it changed a bit more and I left. Now?

1. Swim sessions - None. I think they stopped in 2007 or so (up to then we had borrowed a lane from the swim club).

2. Bike sessions - None. I think there used to be a bank holiday easter group ride until 2009 or so. May be one or two later. One summer we even rode to the lake and did a swim but that didn't last too long.

3. Run sessions - None. Although a few did regular runs and invited others.

4. Turbo sessions - Yep. Once per week in winter.

5. Brick sessions - They happen occassionally over the summer. When I looked at emails about it though it seems that there are very, very few people who take part (as you had to be home from work relatively early to be able to do them).

6. Club website - I was going to say yes, but on checking it says "Access denied" (I think that may be a work thing though).

7. Club time trial - used to be three a year that were well attended. Then they disappeared. Then in 2015 someone organised one but the number of club members who rode it was quite small (may have been one from memory). Then disappeared.

8. Overseas club training trip - Yep, but you get really disapproving looks if you mention that you might go for a swim or a run.

9. Club race - never although it once got to the organisation stage (2011?).

10. Monthly meetings - let's not go there. Actually, that seems to be most people's attitude to them before I left.

I think that is a real shame as I used to enjoy the club and being a member of it.
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