Angel Navarro runs by the track of the athletics stadium of the Turia, in Valencia. Just finished 10 releases of disc at the perfect time: it’s Saturday morning, in the facilities there are very few people, and he can unleash his power, which allows you to launch the metal plate more than 50 metres, without danger of descalabrar to anyone. Navarro, whose brands have allowed him to be champion of Spain in the category of u-18, it has 17 years old, studying an average cycle of Professional Training and living from the Primary without losing sight of the schedule. Follow closely, ensures and corroborate the experts, is the only way for a teen to in harmony with success in studies and activity in high-level sports. Two worlds that live in good as back, which increases the risk of school failure or, more often, to leave the sport.

“I wake up at 6. At 6 and a half I leave home. At 6.50 I catch the Commuter train in Catarroja. And at 8 entered the institute of Gandia, the only one in Valencia where I can study the cycle of Athletics. I get out at 12 or 1, depends on the day. I go home, like, rest, and I’m going to train”. This week, Navarro trains three hours, until 9 in the evening, and the 11 is usually sleeping. Saturday afternoons and Sundays are free.

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“This year the schedule is good, ‘ he says sitting in the stands of the stadium. When I was studying High school ended classes later and from Monday to Friday was, well, an hour and a half, in an academy review. His parents enrolled him after that in first THAT, coinciding with the moment in which he began to excel athletically, I had to repeat the year.

The statistics of the Superior Council of Sports (CSD) do not collect many high-level athletes (whose names are each year published in the BOE) and high performance (a grade below, certified by the CSD or the autonomous communities), support the sporting activity with regulated education non-university. But in the past year 6.975 athletes of school age participated in official tournaments, 3.432 women and 3.543 men. 55% of the population of six to 18 years, picks up on the other hand a study of the CSD, performed physical activities more than three times a week. But the practice diminishes “significantly and progressively” as they grow older and approach the age of majority, the percentage drops below half.

Teachers inflexible

Navarro was lucky: in the college and at the institute found problems for teachers to justify absences, and will change dates of exams to go to competitions. The school standards regional permit centers to give the athletes an individualized treatment, but does not require them to do so, and that generates insecurity, says Carlos Hernando, track coach and head of Sports services of the University Jaume I of Castellón. “The young people leave high-level sport, in large measure, by the pressure of their parents, who ask them to focus on studies. In part because the model is slightly flexible. I’ve found quite a few times with teachers who have refused to facilitate a student to attend a championship. Or that have done so as if you will forgive the life, when it should be something standard, known and accepted by the cloister before the start of the course. It may not be something decided upon by each teacher,” notes Hernando.

“In the ESO and the Bachillerato, which is when the athlete has to learn to combine both activities, the system is not prepared to help them,” says Susana Regüela, head of the training unit of the High Performance Centre of Sant Cugat, in Barcelona. Regüela is of the opinion that in schools the Physical Education teacher should be in charge of accompanying these students, be aware of your calendar and facilitate coordination with the teaching team. “If, in addition to having high-level athletes, we want to encourage young people to be more healthy and may develop other concerns, such as sports, dance or music that involve a high dedication, the educational institutions should facilitate that,” he says.

The system sports also we lack, often, sensitivity. “You should know that there are periods in which there can be no competitions. The european and world championships match many times with the time in which the athletes of second of Bachillerato have selectivity”, regrets Regüela.

Gymnastics and swimming

The layout is more difficult in some disciplines than in others, indicates Manoli Alonso, member of the technical committee of the Spanish Athletics Federation, that has trained hundreds of athletes. “In rhythmic gymnastics and artistic, and in swimming the demand is very strong from very soon. But in athletics or in sports team I think that can be combined, giving priority always the education, without too many problems, at least until they are 17 or 18 years. Sometimes they blame the sport of the poor outcome in the studies, when there is a lack of organization”.

in Addition to the commitment of the kids, combine both careers requires almost always a great delivery on the part of their families. “This stands because the parents contribute a lot financially, emotionally and with their time so that the boy or the girl can pull forward”, says Josep Solá, professor of the Ramon Llull University. Vicente Navarro, who goes by tapping the responses of your son Angel during the interview in the stadium of Valencia, nods: “we Spent many hours driving them, bringing them back and waiting sitting. There is No other”. The man, who himself also was a pitcher, added that thanks to the momentum of the Olympic Games of Barcelona in his time the athletes as he had an economic support from the Administrations, which today, despite their brands, young people like your son do not get.

Leave the house with 14

In Spain coexist two school models for the athletes of high dedication. The integrated centres (there are 52 public in Spain), where students study, train, and frequently reside, allow to best balance. But they require adolescents to waive their school, leave their friends and in many occasions leave to live with their families. In some sports, such as swimming and gymnastics, since he was 14. The models are not integrated are based, for its part, the mainstream offers to the student facilities in the matter of excused absences. In Catalonia, the legislation also provides expressly to adapt the curriculum schoolr.

Josep Solà, professor of the Ramon Llull University that has researched both models, points out that there are cases in which the integrated center, that is the only solution. For example: a very good swimmer emerged in a sports club modesto can be difficult, otherwise, train in a swimming pool of 50 meters. A basketball player, on the other hand, with such of their school to be minimally sensitive to their sporting activity, you will not need to leave it. “The Spanish team has just become champion of the world and none of their players went for an integrated centre of high-performance,” says Solà.

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