In an effort to enhance the National Training Program for its athletes, the AAU Taekwondo Program has initiated a brand new Regional Training Program. “The purpose of this new training program is to bring the elite training experience to the grassroots level,” says national Sport Chair Mike Friello.
So we will establish 6 to 7 Regional Training ‘areas’ headed by our National coaching staff of Masters Greg Tubbs (in Texas), Master Luciano Medina (in the Chicago area), Master Arlene Limas (in the Virginia and DC Areas), and the Midwest under Master Georgie Matinez. National Assistant Coach Fred Estrada will also work under Master Tubbs on the West Coast. Additional centers or hubs will be set up in Florida and the New York/Northeast areas of the country.
To assist this outstanding cast of National Coaches the AAU Taekwondo Program is also establishing a brand new Regional Assistant Coaching Program. This new ‘layer’ of elite coaches will assist the National Coaches in all of their work at the regional level including venue selections, and actual on the floor training.
Through this Regional Coaches Program, we hope to identify and reward those coaches who have demonstrated, not just exemplary support for the AAU Taekwondo Program, but outstanding results with their own students/athletes as well. We have drawn this tier of coaches directly from results of the last three years of AAU Team Trials. This group of coaches has simply placed the greatest number of athletes at Team Trials for the past several years. Our emphasis has been ‘who is qualifying the greater number of athletes for Team Trials—not so much as whose athletes have won most often. We feel our Team Trials, which are conducted in the round robin format, are so highly competitive, that quite often the difference between 1st and 2nd is often quite minimal. All of these excellent coaches who are qualifying their athletes for Team Trials are doing a great job and we want to recognize that. The list of Regional Assistant Coaches will be re-evaluated annually with each New Year’s Team Trials candidates/coaches listing given heavy consideration.
The 2013-2014 Regional Coaches are: Ryan Anarchic (OH), Bradford Carter (GA), Sang Cha (TX), Gianni Giambi (TX), Aaron Morris (PA), John Noyes (MT), Toby Oliver (FL), Norman Snow(VA), Estuardo Teran (TX), Tim Tocco (NY), Rikki Valle (IL), Dennis White (FL), and Gordon White (VT). Several others were invited to join this Regional staff but were unable to make a firm commitment to the Program this year.
“Perhaps the biggest challenge facing those Taekwondo organizations who are involved in the International Olympic sparring environment is the sheer size of our country” says Mr. Friello. In Europe, players easily travel within the geographic boundaries of their country to participate weekly in Team Training sessions. Participating in the great number of top rated Open Championships throughout Europe proves to be no more challenging (or expensive) than what we here might think of as a long bus ride. Not so here in the US.
Trying to get 40-50 National Team Members together for a training session is extremely difficult and very expensive. International travel and competition to Europe and other parts of the world is almost prohibitive. By establishing these Regional training sites and sessions, we hope to make a standardized training program truly realistic.
Through the Regional sessions, local athletes will have the opportunity to train with the Program top level coaches on a regular basis. We’re hoping for at least quarterly training sessions in each of the regions. Once this gets initiated and the response to this opportunity expands the National Coach within the region along with his Regional assistants may just decide to host these monthly!
Everyone wins! Local/regional athletes have the opportunity to train with the best throughout the year. The Regional Assistant Coaching staff garners recognition of their abilities and efforts and at the same time gets to work alongside the National Coaching staff regularly. The National Coaches obtain a full staff of very qualified people to assist them with their work. And the Program raises the level of proficiency for everyone while at the same time offering more benefits and ‘bang’ for the membership dollar. All of which, in turn should result in an even greater success at the International level.
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