For the month of July aspiring jumpers in track and field will get the opportunity to work with a jumps legend.
Fletcher Lewis, who made his mark on the world as Long Jump and Triple Jump competitor, is set to host his very own Jumps Clinic in conjunction with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.
The Olympian will spend the first week of the month-long clinic (July 9-13) teaching young athletes in High Rock from 9:00 a.m. — 1:00 p.m. Afterwards, the clinic will shift down to the Freeport area and be staged at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex starting July 16 – 27 at 9:00 a.m., Monday — Friday.
The free clinic is geared toward boys and girls ages eight and over.
Clinic participants will get tips in the mental approach, run ups, take offs and landing in both jumps. In addition, athletes will be guided in their hop steps, step and jump phases of the Triple Jump.
For Lewis, hosting a Jumps Clinic was something he aspired to do for some time now and he voiced to this daily that he is excited about the opportunity to help young athletes achieve their goals.
“I’m very excited to get started here in High Rock,” the jumps legend said, “I’ve been helping out here and there but I would like to give them one week and then come into the Freeport area and just get the ball rolling.”
Lewis was a spectator at the Grand Bahama Primary School Athletic Association (GBPSAA) All-Island Track and Field Championships. He added that as he watched the athletes compete he saw a big need for the younger athletes to receive “some sort” of training in the jumps. While Lewis credited the coaches for doing all they can with the athletes he voiced that sometimes it takes someone who knows the ins and outs to further the athletes along.
“I think the coaches are doing the best they can but you can only teach what you know. And if you don’t know the finer nuances with long jumping then you can’t lend it to the kids. So, I’m very excited at this time to get it started.
“The first-day here in High Rock we only had seven children but it was enough because as time goes on when I get in the Freeport area; if the coaches and athletes respond it should be a tremendous few weeks coming up.”
Of the number of aspects of the camp, Lewis said being mentally prepared is one of the important aspects of jumping. He also added that a jumpers’ approach is important, especially when running down the runway.
“It’s not the same as just running the 100 meters. It’s almost a more artistic way you have to run. There’s also a certain way you have to have your body positioned when you’re taking off. And of course, you have the landing which is the most important because I see when a lot of kids land they are falling backwards. They have to learn to project their body in a way so when they land they would go forward.”
Lewis is especially proud to help the athletes in High Rock and was happy to see an athlete find some success at this year’s All-Island Track and Field Championships.
“I feel real proud to lend back to these kids up here. One of the athletes that I trained for the primary school track meet actually won the Under Eight or Under Nine long jump, and his jump was actually better than the age group above him. He then went into Nassau for Nationals and won third place. So that made me feel extremely proud.
“This is why hosting the Clinic up East is first and foremost, I’m very proud to able to do that...There is a glaring need. They (East Grand Bahama athletes) are always excluded from almost everything pretty much and this opportunity to give something to them will hopefully open some of their eyes and being more active in sports.
“I wish I was able to go down in Hunter’s because I’m from there and get them to be a part of this program as well. Hopefully, some of them will come out to the camp.”
Lewis made note of The Bahamas’ history in the jumps from Lewis himself who was the first Bahamian Olympic finalist in the long jump, Frank Rutherford, who was the first track and field Olympic medalist in the triple jump, Phil Robins who was indoor and outdoor champion for a number of years, Steve Hanna who became an NCAA champion and even Raymond Higgs. Still, Lewis hopes to see a growing desire for athletes to strongly consider making a mark in the jumps field.
“The names go on-and-on-and-on. There are more of us out there...If we could get some more of these athletes to focus on it because you can now earn a living. I would like to see some more us come up along that way. Eventually, my goal is to go into Abaco and Bimini and maybe Andros and do some camps as time goes on before the next track and field season comes along because the need is there. And now that my blood is boiling, until it cools down I want to give as much as I can,” he closed.”