Superman!
Bennett explains how he manages to coach giants Hydel and Calabar at same time
BENNETT...credited for guiding Hydel girls to unprecedented heights (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

If Calabar High were to break Kingston College's dominance and win their first Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Boys' Athletics Championships and Hydel High won their first, Corey Bennett, who took on the mammoth task of coaching both contenders, says he would "resign with immediate effect".

Bennett, who made the Hydel High girls' programme one of the best in the island with top-three finishes in the last three or four stagings, raised some eyebrows when he took on the Calabar High job last year.

With the unpredictability of sports and possibilities of an unprecedented double, two separate schools led by the same coach winning the titles at the same staging, Bennett told the Jamaica Observer that "Wolmer's Boys' enjoyed a fairy tale Champs in 2010 and for many reasons I don't see that kind of Championship repeating itself".

"Winning either of those championships this year would be a fairy tale, winning both I would resign with immediate effect," Bennett said.

BENNETT...I had to make a lot of personal adjustments to ensure that both teams got equal attention (Photo: Observer file)

Whether he was serious or not is left to be seen as he down played the chances of Hydel High winning the girls' title, but warned that, if given a chance, any openings, the 'Lions' of Calabar could roar once again.

Speaking about Hydel High's chances, Bennett said: "I really don't think we are in the position to [win] and, again, that's not our goal. You need depth to win a championship where you're able to put athletes in all events, and that we are not able to do. We will again continue to focus on individual event performances."

However, on the boys' side, Bennett said while he did not see them right now as contenders, "what I know is that we are going to compete to the end".

"Our competitors will know that we are present, and we will make it a real competition; not a sports day. We have come a far way but I do believe a lot more is required to win a championship…but be careful how many inches you give us, we may just take 'the mile'," he noted.

HOW DOES HE DO IT?

Asked about the thought process of taking on the job of coaching two contenders at the same championships, given the difficulties of preparing just one team, and whether it was ego or just a personal challenge, Bennett responded: "It really has nothing at all to do with ego, and I'm really not sure what ego would have to do with this, but some of my recent experiences working with national teams, as well as my former involvement with coaching boys in football made me really want to see if I could do with boys what I believe I have done with girls."

Curiously he added: "I also believe that my trust in the loyalty of some of the girls that I have developed and prepared started to wane a bit, and so I believed that boys would be a welcomed distraction."

Taking on the challenge, however, has forced him to rethink how he went about what he does.

"I had to make a lot of personal adjustments to ensure that both teams got equal attention, by changing training schedules and adjusting my involvement in frequent development meets," but said, "It has been a lot better now than when I just started".

Contrary to what many thought, Bennett explained that "both teams don't train at the same venue. Hydel trains at their field in the mornings and Calabar trains at Calabar in the afternoons".

Coaching any team is never a one-man job, and Bennett said he was grateful for the support staff that he has for both teams.

"I have two groups of assistants that work with separate groups and they definitely play an integral role in this process. This would definitely not have been possible without their knowledge, involvement and support."

An average day for Bennett would see him getting up at 4:00 am, then "head to training by 5:15, train until 7:00 am, head back home and get ready for work [regular job], head to Calabar by 3:30 pm then train until 5:30 pm, then head home".

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

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