The IAAF Coaches Education and Certification System Introduction
Recognising that the resources and effort involved in developing an education programme may be beyond capabilities on a national level, the IAAF operates a Coaches Education and Certification System (CECS) which is available as a service to Member Federations which would like to make use of it.
As from March 2007, the CECS features five levels of courses operating in seven languages, English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Portuguese. For each course level the IAAF provides a standard syllabus, qualified lecturers and the necessary learning support materials. Financial resources for the system come from the IAAF and its Area associations, Olympic Solidarity and other partners on the international and national levels, as well as self-funded options at the higher levels.
Operation of CECS is co-ordinated by the IAAF Member Services Department (MSD) and the IAAF Regional Development Centres (RDCs). The new 5-Level CECS structure has been created to specifically address the following areas (see ‘Fig.1’ pdf and ‘Fig 2’ pdf).
Please note: Individuals interested in attending a Level I or Level II course should contact their National Federation directly. Level III and Level IV courses are normally staged at the RDCs and are designed for a smaller number of coaches who will have specialist duties within their Federation. The Level V is the IAAF Academy programme which is organised in cooperation with sport universities. For further details of the 5 Levels of award see ‘Table 1’ pdf and below:
Level I – Youth Coach
With the introduction of the new Level I in the CECS, there is the opportunity to emphasise and develop the educational aspects of Kids’ Athletics and Teens’ Athletics. The new Level I will produce qualified Youth Coaches who will not only be able to train and prepare young children for Kids’ Athletics competitions (7-12y old) but also provide the ‘bridge’ to ‘real’ athletics. Youth Coaches will be competent and able to take the kids through to the youth programmes of training and competition relevant to Teens ‘ Athletics (13-15 years of age). To make the most efficient use of resources and ensure the optimum application and activity, Level I courses will be conducted at locations in the countries of Member Federations, using IAAF accredited Level I Lecturers and standardised course materials.
Level II – Assistant Coach
The Level II course is intended to train coaches for effective work with youth and beginner athletes. The Level II syllabus covers all event groups and emphasises the practical skills of coaching. At the same time, the Level II course provides a theoretical base which is sufficient to allow coaches to continue learning, either through their own efforts or within the structure of the CECS. Entry for the Level II is granted to successful and active Level I coaches.
To make the most efficient use of resources, Level II courses will be, as for Level I, conducted at locations in the countries of the Member Federations, using IAAF accredited Level II Lecturers and standard course materials. The course structure and timetable for Level II courses are flexible (provided certain specified requirements are met) in order to adapt to local conditions. The norm will be for a 14 day residential course.
Level III - Coach
The Level III course is designed to be an introduction to performance coaching for coaches who have performed well at Level II and have gained a level of coaching specialisation in one of the following six event groups:
- Sprints and Hurdles
- Middle and Long Distance Running
- Race Walks
- Combined Events
With this specialisation they can begin to meet their country's need for high level coaches. It is anticipated that the majority of Level III participants will continue to Level IV. In addition to elements specific to the events group, the Level III syllabus contains core elements which are common to all events. On completion of a Level III course a coach will be expected to be able to identify and coach the basic competition model for each event within an event group. The coach will also be expected to be able to plan and implement a series of appropriate training sessions within the context of an annual training plan.
Level IV – Senior Coach
The Level IV course builds on the experiences of Level III and can be thought of as the development of performance coaching, providing coaches with advanced level instruction in their chosen event group. As with Level III, the Level IV syllabus includes event specific elements but more of the common core elements are now studied with a specific application to the event group context. On completion of the Level IV course coaches will be able to identify and coach high level and advanced competition models for their specific event or events. They will also be expected to be able to plan and implement macrocycles of training for high level athletes within the context of a multi-year plan. These plans should lead to the achievement of potential, elite performance and competitive results. Level III and Level IV course are conducted at the RDCs. Entry to Level IV is open to coaches who pass the Level III assessment procedures, have completed a minimum of one further year of practical coaching experience and have been recommended by their National Federation.
Level V –Academy Coach
Perhaps the most important educational initiative in recent years to support the development of key personnel in Athletics was the introduction of the IAAF Academy in 2004, providing professional education of the highest level. To achieve this the MSD has created partnerships with respected and recognised universities worldwide to offer courses which blend academic rigour in the sport sciences with the practical experiences of the most elite of IAAF experts. The IAAF Academy currently offers the following courses:
- Chief Coach
- Youth Chief Coach
- Elite Coach (head coach for events group)
- Coaching Development Director
The Academy aims to provide the coach with the relevant professional knowledge, understanding and practical experience to create an environment capable of delivering high levels of individual and team performance at specific events, or the development of innovative coaching development environments, over multiple seasons.
Transfer from the old system
All coaches who are active will require transfer on the database from their old qualification and eligibility to the new structure, and subsequently informed of their new status. The global transfer date will be January 1st 2012. ‘Table 2’ pdf illustrates how this process of transfer will take place.