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Quick Facts

  • Course Name: Athletics Coach

  • Environment: On-Track

  • Age Requirement: 18

  • Assessment: Yes

  • Pre-requisites: Coaching Assistant, UKA Level 1, Athletics Coach

  • Once qualified will I require supervision: No

  • Looking ahead what’s next: Additional Athletics Coach Technical & Assessment Day (for example, if a coach opted for Athletics Coach Jumps, they may chose to re enter the pathway at Athletics Coach Technical and Assessment Day Throws), CPD Events, Event Group Modules

  • Alternatives: CiRF (Coach in Running Fitness) - if you wish to coach purely in an off-track environment

  • Lunch: Not included. (We cannot guarantee that all venues have refreshment facilities so please bring lunch and a drink with you).

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Where does Athletics Coach lie on the UKA Coach Development Pathway?

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The Athletics Coach Award is located on the ‘Coach’ tier of the ‘On-Track’ Coach Development Pathway. This award has been designed to build on from, and develop the knowledge attained in the previous Coaching Assistant Award. So, to qualify for this award you must hold a valid Coaching Assistant Award. (In terms of old levels this equates to at least a Level 1).

As a licensed Athletics Coach you will be able to coach a group of athletes unsupervised.

British Athletics and the Home Country Athletics Associations promote a culture of coaching co-operation and collaboration by providing further opportunities for formal learning and coach development.


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The Athletics Coach (AC) programme is designed for those who want to get involved in coaching athletes in track and field athletics. This programme advocates a multi-event approach in the development of athletes and covers the Foundation stage of athlete development.

Coaches who opt for this pathway will be expected to develop their technical knowledge and expertise across a range of events in relation to running, jumping and throwing activities; this will form the basis of a strong training and competition base regardless of the event-specific choice later in the athlete’s development.

During the programme, candidates will be asked to consider, plan for and adapt training to meet the needs of individuals who have a range of abilities, experiences and fundamental movement skills regardless of their chronological age.

The AC programme is a twelve month development process to becoming qualified and licensed as an Athletics Coach, however, once underway, applicants have up to one year to complete all elements of the qualification from their day 1 start date.

The taught part of the course is three days in duration; however, this should be viewed as part of a longer developmental process which will ultimately lead to a coach being licensed to coach unassisted.

Candidates embarking on this course must do so in the knowledge that it will require an investment in their time to complete the work necessary for success at the assessment stage. The pre-course tasks, supported practice periods, planning, delivering and evaluating training and preparation for assessment all form an integral part of the programme.

What Is The Role Of The Athletics Coach?

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Athletics Coaches have many different roles.

  • To identify, plan for and continually evaluate the development needs of athletes.

  • To supervise Coaching Assistants or Leaders in the delivery of whole sessions or part of sessions.

  • To manage the safety and welfare of those under your supervision.

When qualified and licensed, the Athletics Coach ideally will be operating in a team environment with a range of Coaching Assistants and other coaches in the planning and delivery of these programmes.

British Athletics and the Home Country Athletics Associations promote a culture of coaching co-operation and collaboration by providing further opportunities for formal learning and coach development. The Athletics Coach programme is a formal step towards becoming licensed as a Coach, however, this is only the first step of the coach development journey.

Who should go on this programme?

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Coaches must be 18 or over to embark on the Athletics’ Coach programme. The programme is for those working with all athletes but with a focus on those in the Foundation to Event Group Development stages. Ideally all applicants should be actively involved with groups and have access to foundation stage athletes a minimum of twice a week for a period of at least eight consecutive weeks.

Candidates should have a minimum of a new Coaching Assistant award or an old UKA Level 1 award. It is strongly recommended that coaches have three months minimum practical experience of coaching after the completion of the award before commencing on the AC programme. Candidates may progress quicker, at their own discretion, however insufficient coaching experience may have an impact in successfully completing the assessed elements of the programme.


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Anyone wishing to attend the AC programme will need to complete an application form and sign up to the terms and conditions of being a Coach. Forms should be submitted to the education team in the relevant Home Country. 
In addition to the application to be licensed, Coaches require a current police records check; DBS checks are not transferable between sports and other organisations therefore UKA must have a new check made. The DBS itself is free for club volunteers.

For details on how to arrange a DBS check please click here.

Once candidates have registered for the AC programme the will receive access to their Athletics Coach Resource module on their 'My Learning' section on uLearn. This will be used to provide information about the course, support resources and resources required for assessment.

Prior to attending day one of the course the Welcome Pack and Pre-Course Tasks should be read. It should only take around an hour to read but it is important that this is done prior to day 1.

Throughout this programme individuals will be required to work in conjunction with a Support Coach. This role is vital in each candidate’s individual success on the programme. Information about what this entitles can be found in the Support Coach Information pack found on your 'My Learning' section of uLearn.

If a candidate’s club is unable to provide a Support Coach they should contact their Regional / National Coach Education contact who will be able to signpost them to appropriate Support Coaches in their area.

What’s The Structure Of The Course?

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The course structure is summarised below: Before attending the course it is important to:

  • Identify a Support Coach
  • Read the Welcome Pack

The course itself is made up of a number of elements including:

  • Pre-Course activity and Course Delivery (3 days)
  • Homework activity between days 2 and day 3
  • Assessment elements

The assessment elements consist of three distinct parts:

  • Technical Knowledge Test – completed online on uCoach
  • Practical Assessment Day – day 4 of the programme (this will include discussion regarding the development period plan i.e. mesocycle)
    • Safeguarding online course and knowledge test

Once all the above elements have been attended, completed and satisfactorily passed at the required level you will receive your Coaching License.

Prior to booking onto the course, candidates should identify a Support Coach to mentor and assist them throughout and beyond the programme. Athletics Clubs, Athletics Networks or Club/Coach Support Officers should be able to provide advice on Support Coaches in your area.

The first two course delivery days are run over the course of a weekend, with the third day following approximately six weeks later. Candidates will be provided with an On Course Workbook to record any learning on the course days, please remember to bring a pen.

Each of the days will run from 9am-5pm. (There should be a morning and afternoon break. Please note lunch is not provided. Please bring a drink, as we cannot guarantee refreshments will be available at all venues)

To pass the course, candidates are required to attend all three days and complete the Homework activity. The programme combines classroom-based activity and practical sessions so candidates should come dressed for light exercise, which could take place indoors or outside, and should be prepared for all weather conditions. If there are any medical reasons why an individual cannot take part in activity they should let the tutors know at the beginning of the day.

Prior to Day 4, candidates will complete an Online multiple choice test paper on uLearn. This will cover the underpinning technical knowledge across run, jump, throw and physical preparation covered throughout the programme.

On Day 4, candidates will deliver two parts of a session while being observed by an assessor. They will also be required to play the role of an "athlete" in the assessments of fellow coaches (where possible). If a candidate is physically unable to take part they should inform the Home Country when their assessment day is confirmed and the assessor at the beginning of the day.

A document entitled "Assessment Guidance for Athletics Coaches" is available. It is strongly recommended that candidates who are considering getting involved in this programme should read this document to raise their awareness of the requirements of the programme in advance of booking. This will help to ensure they are booking on the correct programme for their development needs and for the environment they will be working in.

Once all of the above elements are completed and a DBS form has been submitted you will receive your coaching license.

Pre-Course Material

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Pre-course material is available after booking onto the course, through your 'My Learning' section of uLearn.

Post Course / What Next?

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Having completed Athletics Coach (and returned a valid DBS check) you will be licensed to coach the seven core events/areas covered on course:



Endurance including Walks & Steeplechase

Long Jump

High Jump



You will also be licensed to coach the additional events covered in your technical day. For example, Athletics Coach Throws will be licensed to coach Hammer and Discus.

Coaches who took their Athletics Coach qualification pre April 2018, if you wish to coach Triple Jump, Pole Vault, Discus, Hammer or Wheelchair racing you will need to undertake the relevant Athletics Coach Technical and Assessment Day to achieve the full insurance coverage for these additional events.

What Resources Are Available?

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Access to the AC supporting resources is available through your 'My Learning' section of uLearn once you have booked on your course. While some of these resources are not freely available online, they include:

  • Pre-Course Welcome Pack
  • On Course Workbook
  • Mesocycle Template
  • Assessment Guidance for Candidates
  • Course PPT presentation
  • Health and Safety Powerpoint
  • On Track 4 Cards
  • On Course Technical Video footage
  • Assessment exemplars and blank assignment templates

I have still got some more questions!

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If you have still got more questions that need answering - click here to read our Frequently asked Questions on the Athletics coach Award

How do I book?

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The course can be booked through your Home Country Coach Education contact. Refer to the relevant Home Country Athletics Association website for course dates and details.