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Coaching At St Marys


18 December 2009

Article as seen in Athletics Weekly by Tom Crick - UKA Coaching Professional Development Manager

As part of UKA's commitment to creating a long term coaching legacy the existing coach education stucture has been overhauled and a new coach qualification pathway developed.

The new format is devised to support the work being delivered across the Home Countries and will recognise the various ways in which a potential coach may come to require formal education. One of the major advantages for our diverse sport, is that it tailors the development courses to fit the likely athletes requiring coaching.

This means an aspiring coach can focus on three distinct roles in their first stages of development;

1. A children / club leaders award for those who work with young athletes using modified equipment and task card activities

2. An Athletics Assistant Award to promote working with athletes across event group development stages

3. Athletics Coach award working with athletes across disciplines, delivering session, developing technical expertise and supporting assistants and leaders.

This seperation of the likely field of work means that the technical content can be varied in the way it is delivered to the audience and recognises that one-size does not fit all. Therefore the course can provide different types of coaches with the knowledge and confidence to deliver athletics with competence.

As important as this is the fact that the new system clearly demonstrates that all roles will be valued equally. There is no hierarchy of coaching, but is instead role focused acknowledging that coaches of all levels have an essential part to play in taking athletes towards senior success.

Having qualified as a coach, individuals can then choose to focus on event groups areas and then specific event requirements. For those individuals who wish to challenge themselves, the Master Coach award is offered. Master Coach will not be a specific course, but a syllabus of studies for coaches to complete in their own time supported by resource from uCoach and other sources.

Regardless of the choice of award and the variance in delivery, some principals remain the same across the entire coaching qualifications structure. All courses will include a greater emphasis on technical content; technical ability will be combined carefully with coaching process skills e.g. the ‘how to coach’ part of the equation.  Improvements in technical competence is vital for all roles and although a specialist coach will take longer to learn the event specifics, this technical strength is required across the board.

The new coaching qualifications outline can be viewed on uCoach (www.uka.org.uk/coaching), where you can also find all details of other development courses, masterclasses and coaching led events.

To download the Coaching Q&A Podcast follow this link