Gonzales trusting the process with Papine High
Olympian Jermaine Gonzales is under no illusions about the difficulties of cultivating a culture of excellence in his role as Papine High head coach. But in his quest to provide that platform, he is seeing signs that his charges are slowly realising what it takes to raise their game to the next level.
Gonzales will make his ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championship (Champs) head coaching debut next March hoping to build a programme that will produce quality athletes for the future. The growing pains there for the 38-year-old who said that he has had difficulties in getting across the message of consistency and dedication to their craft for success. Slowly but surely, however, he says the athletes are understanding that message with every meet they compete in this season.
"They don't understand what they need to do and that is one of the biggest problems that I am having with most of them. They don't understand the commitment, determination, the consistency that it's going to take for them to improve. Slowly a couple of them are getting it. But I am hoping that by now they would have grasped what they need to do: turning up for training, being punctual, and putting in the work every day," Gonzales told STAR Sports. "When you bring them to the track meets and they see how fast some of these athletes are then they realise that they are far off from where they need to be. A couple of them have come to me after the meets and say 'coach, I need to work hard because I see it is not easy.' "
Papine's latest competition was at last Saturday's Queen's/Grace Jackson Meet at the National Stadium. Success for him at Champs will be seeing his athletes make personal best times as he is confident that some of his student-athletes possess a great deal of potential. But he is preaching patience, knowing that for some, it will be their first time competing at this level.
"I have seen a few of them who have potential but the problem is that most of them are new to the sport. They don't know what to do and that is what I am there for. I am having fun with it and the guys are listening and trying their best, I know that in a couple of years you'll see Papine High School producing some good athletes," Gonzales said. "I'm hoping that the more track meets we go and the way they see the traditional schools are running, that they realise they have a lot of work to do and they will improve."