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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?


So What's the Structure of the Course?

Pre-Course Material

Post Course/What Next?

What Resources are Available?

How Do I Book?

There are two different coaching qualifications available:
Athletics Coach (for Track and Field Club Athletics)
Coach in Running Fitness (for Running clubs )


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.


  • 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 Leaders, 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.


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 an old UKA Level 1 award or a new Coaching Assistant 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. 


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. For courses run by England Athletics you can register and book via uLearn. For courses in the other Home Countries, 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 the will receive access to PebblePad, an online e-portfolio system. This will be used for assessment and communication purposes throughout the 12 month duration of the programme. Additional resources maybe found on uLearn.

Prior to attending day one of the course the Welcome Pack and Pre-Course Tasks should be completed, these can be found in your PebblePad account. Candidates should begin work on this documentation as soon as they have booked onto the programme and it must be completed prior to the first day of the course. It should only take around an hour to complete but it is important that this is done prior to day 1. 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.


The course structure is summarised below:

Before attending the course it is important to:

  • Identify a Support Coach
  • Read the Welcome Pack
  • Complete the Pre-Course Tasks, ensuring you print and print the relevant pages with you to day 1 of the course

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

  • Pre-Course activity (Welcome pack and tasks) Course Delivery (3 days)
  • Supported Practice ( two periods between days 2 and 3 and 3 and 4)
  • Assessment elements

The assessment elements consist of three parts:

  • Coaching Diary – 3 written workbooks completed via PebblePad
  • Technical Knowledge Test – completed online on uCoach
  • Practical Assessment Day – day 4 of the programme

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 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.

Workbooks within the Coaching Diary can begin to be submitted after day 2 (usually 2 weeks after). The assessment timeline has been devised this way to split the written assessment up into more manageable chunks and provide candidates with early feedback as to their progression. This content of the workbooks will be based on their experience during supported practice and delivery to their profiled athletes. The complete Coaching Diary should be completed prior to the Observed Practical Assessment Day. Candidates should progress to the OPA day without its successful completion but will not pass the course until the written elements have been successfully addressed

Prior to the OPA day, candidates will complete an online multiple choice test paper on uCoach. This will cover the underpinning technical knowledge across run, jump, throw and physical preparation covered throughout the programme. 

On the OPA Day 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.


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 will also need to watch videos to help you complete your pre-course tasks 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:



Endurance including Walks & Steeplechase

Long Jump

High Jump



However, if you wish to coach Triple Jump, Pole Vault, Discus, Hammer or Wheelchair Racing you will also need to complete the relevant online module. Each module is comprised of video and written material and ends with a multiple choice test, which carries a 75% pass mark. 

Following a review of the criteria required for insurance in these events as of the 5 January 2014 you will may need to undertake a practical assessment to achieve the full insurance coverage for these additional events. Further details on this will be released shortly.


Access to the AC supporting resources is available through:

While some of these resources are not freely available online, they include:

  • Welcome Pack
  • Pre-Course Tasks
  • On Course Workbook
  • Coaching Diary (3 workbooks)
  • Assessment Guidanc for Candidates
  • 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


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. For courses run by England Athletics you can register and book via uLearn. For courses in the other Home Countries, forms should be submitted to the education team in the relevant Home Country. Refer to the relevant Home Country Athletics Association website for course dates and details.


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