Glen Mills JAMAICA NUMBER ONE SPRINTING COACH
Glen Mills OD is a sprinting athletics coach from Jamaica. He was the head coach of the Jamaican Olympic athletics team between 1987 and 2009. He is currently head coach of the Racers Track Club which includes world and Olympic record holder Usain Bolt and the 100 metre World Champion Yohan Blake. Other athletes that he has coached in the past include Kim Collins, Dwain Chambers and Ray Stewart.Mills enjoyed athletics from an early age and, after moving to Camperdown High School, promptly joined the sprinting
team at age 13. After his first year he was dissatisfied with his
performances and gave up on the idea of becoming a professional
sprinter. Despite this setback Mills was still enamoured with athletics
and frequently attended the practice meetings to watch the others run.
The high school coach,
Henry McDonald Messam, noticed his interest and reluctance to
participate and so assigned him various tasks and chores to keep him
busy. Two years after, Mills had learnt well from the head coach and was
given the job of coaching a class of younger track and field
athletes. He retained the job after graduation, progressing to form an
official part of the Camperdown High School coaching staff. The arrival
of a new head of the sports department threatened Mills coaching
opportunities and he was sacked in favour of a more experienced coach.
The move backfired as many of the school’s better athletes chose to
stand by Mills, training with him at his new, unofficial training
ground. Mills was quickly reinstated at the school and went on to train
many successful sprinters, including Olympic silver medallist Raymond Stewart.
By the early 1970s Mills had trained a significant number of male sprinters in the national junior team. The Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association (JAAA) called on him to work on the team, for the CARIFTA Games.
Following this appointment Mills became a prominent coach in the
Jamaican athletics scene. He continued to work on his coaching style and
earned a diploma from the International Olympic Committee training centre in Mexico and a qualification in High-Level Sprint Tech training at the IAAF Training Centre in Puerto Rico. During his time as a coach in Jamaica he has worked with a number of Caribbean athletes including Yohan Blake, Aleen Bailey, Xavier Brown, Leroy Reid and Kim Collins. In addition, Mills also coached British sprinter Dwain Chambers when his athletics ban expired.
Mills was approached by Usain Bolt shortly after the Athens Olympics and he became the sprinter’s coach in late 2004. Bolt was initially a 200 metres specialist but Mills suggested that his young charge should improve his stamina to run over 400 metres. Bolt was more keen on running the 100 metres
instead and Mills promised him that he could run in the event on the
condition that he beat the 200 metres National Record first. At the 2007 Jamaican Championships in June, Bolt broke Donald Quarrie‘s 36-year-old record by 0.11 seconds, running 19.75 seconds.
Mills agreed to Bolt’s demands and let him run the 100 m event. The
acceptance of the request paid dividends for both sprinter and coach as
Mills was impressed with Bolt’s new drive and focus in training.
By the end of 2007 Mills was pleased with Bolt’s performances and the
coaching had improved his technique, particularly with a more efficient
stride frequency and better balancing. In a trade-off the two agreed to a two part training programme in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Mills would help Bolt work on his speed for the 100 m initially then turn his focus to the stamina needed for the 200 m. The programme paid off as Bolt set three world records and took gold in both 100 m and 200 m events in Beijing.
Bolt praised Mills, saying it was his coaching which made him improve,
not only as an athlete, but also as a person. Despite Bolt’s
unprecedented achievements in Beijing, Mills still felt he could improve
if his stride frequency was further reduced and his technique
Mills stepped down as the Olympic Jamaican athletics coach in late
2009, having overseen athletes to 71 world championship and 33 Olympic
medals in his 22 years in the role. He said other prominent coaches
deserved a chance at undertaking the position and decided he wanted to
focus more on his Racers Track Club team.