Hometown: Ellerton, St. George, Barbados
For high jumper and local track and field coach Henderson Dottin, testing gravity has always been second nature, ever since 6’3” Bajan mastered dunking at age 15 on the basketball courts at Deighton Griffith Secondary School. After all that high flying, finally a friend “suggested that I translate my dunking ability in the high jump,” says Dottin.
Since then, University of Texas at El Paso alum hasn’t looked back, with CAC gold and CARIFTA silver under his belt, and a career in South Florida training local top athletes through his High Definition clinic – inspired by the guidance he received from coaches Neil Crichlow of Barbados and Renaldo Salas in Cuba. “They were two of the most inspiring people in my career” says Dottin “Crichlow would always research new techniques to share with me. And once I made it to Cuba, Renaldo really took me under his wing and changed the trajectory of my high jump career.”
For his own coaching, Dottin remains hands-on. “I put a lot of emphasis on demonstrating the techniques, not just talking about them. I want my athletes to work at perfecting the techniques, so it’s about being very visual.”
This direct approach has paid off, with several of his athletes excelling at regional and state competitions. Dottin is particularly proud of his work with middle-school high jumper Zatoria Thompson.
“When we connected last year, she was sometimes not qualifying for meets,” says Dottin. “She went from a 5th place at last year’s AAU Junior Championships to a gold medal and a personal record this year. It was definitely a defining moment, seeing the contribution I can make to the development of the young people I work with.”
And Dottin makes sure to keep his foot in the game. “I always like to stay active, so I plan to compete at the University of Miami Elite Championships in March next year. Then the University of Texas at El Paso Invitational in April.”