Olympic bronze medallists Kelly Sotherton and Goldie Sayers have today officially helped launch British Athletics’ new Athlete to Coach Programme aimed at encouraging current and former athletes to become licenced coaches.
With many former athletes possessing a high level of technical expertise in their own event area during their career, the course aims to acknowledge this prior learning, and athletes are being urged to sign up to the brand new schemes taking place in 2018.
The Athlete to Coach Programme will start with two separate six-day courses in Birmingham and in Loughborough respectively spread across a period of nine months, beginning in March and ending with a final assessment in November.
Any athlete who has represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland or one of the Home Countries at senior level at the Olympic or Paralympic Games, World or European Championships or Commonwealth Games is eligible to apply.
The Programme has been designed to cover the content and competency requirements of the British Athletics Coaching Assistant and Athletics Coach Courses in a manner that meets the needs of athletes with technical and tactical knowledge of their event.
Participants will be challenged to shift their thinking from that of an elite athlete to one of a coach and will be supported in doing so by a team of experienced coach education tutors and former international athletes, who are fully licenced coaches.
Olympic bronze medallists Sotherton and Sayers will be tutors on the course having both been consulted in the development of the Programme along with utilising their links to the UKA Athletes’ Commission for which they are ex-officio and full members respectively.
Kelly Sotherton, who won three Olympic bronze medals, said: “Retired athletes are often told they can’t coach. We want to encourage athletes to stay within the sport whether that is teaching in schools or at clubs, adult or age groups. It is all about learning the art of coaching and applying the knowledge you have, which takes years to build.
“We want a new generation of able coaches with a really good skillset and we know there are people out there who want to be involved. Some might still be in the middle of their careers but they can still learn to be a coach and that might help them become a better athlete.
“I would like to encourage people to share their coaching ideas and experience of good and bad practise, be open and honest and able to challenge each other in coaching forums to help create a different coaching culture that helps our country to be a successful athletics nation.”
Goldie Sayers, who won Olympic bronze in the javelin at Beijing 2008, said: “Elite athletes work with a coach or a number of great coaches over their careers and therefore gain a tremendous amount of knowledge which can be lost from the sport if they are not encouraged into coaching. We need to retain more athletes in the sport and make it more attractive to go into coaching, no matter what level it is.
“Kelly and I completed the British Athletics Coaching Assistant and Athletics Coach Courses and understood that, as athletes, there needed to be something bespoke to meets the needs of those going from being an athlete into coaching.
“Most athletes know what to coach but the challenge comes in how to coach and most importantly how and when to give input. Coaching is equally as challenging as being an athlete and comes with a very different set of skills. For athletes who like helping people, it is certainly a rewarding practise.”
Nigel Holl, Director of Strategy & Partnerships at UK Athletics, said: “We are delighted to officially launch our Athlete to Coach Programme and work with current and former athletes who are interested in pursuing a career in coaching. Kelly and Goldie are great supporters of the Programme and we look forward to having them as tutors and passing on the extensive knowledge they have gained as athlete and now as coaches.
“The Programme does not take anything away from the British Athletics Coaching Assistant and Athletics Coach Courses, it is bespoke to athletes who have elite technical and tactical knowledge but need guidance in how to transfer and deliver this knowledge in a way that is meaningful to others.”
For further details on the British Athletics Athlete to Coach Programme and how to sign up please contact Coaching and Coach Development Co-ordinator Kylie Ferguson on email@example.com. The Birmingham course starts on Saturday 17 March and the Loughborough course starts on Wednesday 21 March.