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UKA Coach Building A Better Coaching Environment

Athletics Coach Award

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Key Sections


Role of the Athletics Coach

Who should go on this programme?

Are there any prerequisites?

What does the programme cover?

What's the structure of the course?

Pre-course material

Post Course/ what's next?

What resources are available?

How do I book?


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 six month development process to becoming qualified and licensed as a UKA Athletics Coach, however, once underway, applicants have up to two years to complete all elements.

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 induction process, home study, supported practice periods, planning, delivering and evaluating training and preparation for assessment all form an integral part of the programme.


• To identify, plan for and continually evaluate the development needs of athletes 
• To supervise Coaching Assistants or Athletics 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 Athletics Leaders, Coaching Assistants and other coaches in the planning and delivery of these programmes.

UKA 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.


Coaches must be 18 or over to embark on the Athletics’ Coach programme.  The programme is for those working with athletes in the Foundation to Event Group Development stages and 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.

Coaches will need to profile the athletes they work with in addition to their development as part of the assessment element of the programme.  Candidates should have a minimum of an old UKA Level 1 award or a new Coaching Assistant award plus three months minimum practical experience of coaching after the completion of the award. Candidates without this prior experience will have applications rejected. 


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 UKA 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 they should access uCoach to view resources relating to the programme and the Coach role. Prior to attending day one of the course an Induction Pack should be completed. Candidates should begin work on this documentation as soon as they have booked onto the programme and it must be completed in the two weeks leading up to the first day of the course. Candidates will be at a disadvantage if they have not completed this pre-course preparation as tutors are unable to spend time reviewing subject areas that have not been addressed though pre-course study.

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.

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.

So what’s the structure of the course?

The course structure is summarised below:

  • Before attending the course you must; identify a Support Coach, read the Pre- Course material and complete the Induction Pack.
  • Attend Day 1 and Day 2 (over the course of a weekend)
  • Attend day 3
  • Submit Coaching Diary
  • Attend Assessment Day
  • Submit DBS form.
  • Once all the above elements have been completed you will receive your Coaching License.

Prior to booking onto the course, candidates must 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.

Before attending the course all candidates are expected to read the Pre-Course Material and complete the Induction Pack. It is extremely important that candidates carry out these tasks and familiarise themselves with the programme resources.

The first two contact days 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 participate in two periods of supported practice. 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.

Once the third day has been completed, candidates will be required to complete and submit a written Coaching Diary for assessment. This will be based on their experience during supported practice and delivery to their profiled athletes. The Coaching Diary must be successfully completed to secure the subsequent place on the Observed Practical Assessment day.

On the practical day itself, candidates will complete a multiple choice test paper on material covered on course including an assessment of underpinning technical knowledge. After the technical test the Observed Practical Assessments will begin and 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.


• Technical basis of running for speed, endurance and over obstacles, jumping for height and distance, push and pull throws
• Skill development
• Fundamental movement skills
• Athlete Profiling
• Athlete Development
• Energy systems
• Factors influencing performance
• Elements of planning and delivery
• The role and responsibilities of a Coach
• The core coaching skills
• Physical preparation
• Flexibility
• Integrated coaching

Pre-Course Material

Please use the right hand navigation menu (scroll to top of this page to view) to find details of the pre-course revision material. You may also like to look at the on course videos before attending. 


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

  • Sprints
  • Hurdles
  • Endurance including Walks & Steeplechase
  • Long Jump
  • High Jump
  • Shot
  • Javelin

However, if you wish to coach Triple Jump, Pole Vault, Discus, Hammer or Wheelchair Racing you will also need to complete an additional short online module. Each online module is comprised of video and written material and ends with a multiple choice test, which carries a 75% pass mark. For more information regarding the online Modules please visit the Access LEARN page on uCoach (click here).

Following a review of the criteria required for insurance in these events as of the 5 January 2014 you will also need to undertake a practical assessment to achieve the full award - more details of which will be released shortly.


Access to the AC supporting resources is available through the Qualifications>Athletics Coach Award>Athletics Coach Award Resources from the right hand Navigation Menu.  While some of these resources are not avaliable online, they include:

Induction pack
• On course workbook
• Coaching Diary
• Assessment guidelines
• Course PPT presentation
• Role of Coach video
Health and Safety Powerpoint
• On Track 4 Cards
• On Course Video footage
• Assessment exemplars and blank assignment templates


UK wide implementation of all three courses started in September 2010 - see your Home Country Athletics Association website for course dates and details.


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