IAAF Coaches Education and Certification System

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.

Originally approved by the IAAF Council on 26 November 2015, from January 2016 the CECS features three 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.

Starting in 2018 the operation of CECS will be co-ordinated by the six area associations with their respective IAAF Regional Development Centre(s) (RDCs) under the supervision of the IAAF Development Department. The new three-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 CECS Level I (U16) and CECS Level II (U20) course should contact their national federation directly. Level III (Senior) courses are normally staged at the (mobile) RDCs and are designed for a smaller number of coaches who will have specialist duties within their federation. On the top of the three-level CECS is the IAAF Academy programme which is organised in cooperation with sport universities. For further details of the three CECS levels of award, see ‘Table 1’ pdf.

Level I – U16 Coach

With the introduction of the new CECS Level I (U16) which follows the IAAF Kids’ Athletics (U12), there is the opportunity to emphasise and develop the educational aspects of teens’ / youth athletics for effective work with youth and beginner athletes. The new Level I will produce qualified youth coaches who will be able to train and prepare teens providing the “bridge” from IAAF Kids’ Athletics (U12) FUNdamentals (Run, Jump, Throw [RJT]) 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). The Level I syllabus covers all event groups and emphasises the practical skills of coaching. At the same time, the Level I 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. 

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. The course structure and timetable for Level I courses are flexible (provided certain specified requirements are met) in order to adapt to local conditions. The norm will be for a 12-day residential course. A 10-day residential course with blended learning (ELearning) is in production.

Level II – U20 Coach

The Level II course is designed to be an introduction to performance coaching for coaches who have performed well at Level I and have gained a level of coaching specialisation in one of the following five event groups:

· Sprints and hurdles
· Middle / long distance running & race walks
· Jumps
· Throws
· 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 II participants will continue to Level III. In addition to elements specific to the events group, the Level II syllabus contains core elements which are common to all events. On completion of a Level II 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 micro-cycles and their respective training sessions within the context of an annual training plan. 

To make the most efficient use of resources and ensure the optimum application and activity, Level II courses will be conducted at locations in the countries of Member Federations, using IAAF accredited Level II Lecturers and standardised new course materials (Ebook; Interactive “Coaches’ Eye”). 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 an eight-day residential course. A seven-day residential course with blended learning (ELearning) is in production.

Entry to Level II is open to coaches who pass the Level I assessment procedures, have completed a minimum of one further year of practical coaching experience and have been recommended by their national federation. 

Level III – Senior Coach

The Level III course builds on the experiences of Level II 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 II, the Level III 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 III 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 meso & macro-cycles 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 courses are conducted at the (mobile) RDCs, using IAAF accredited Level III Lecturers and standardised new course materials (Ebook; Interactive “Coaches’ Eye”).

Entry to Level III is open to coaches who pass the Level II assessment procedures, have completed a minimum of one further year of practical coaching experience and have been recommended by their national federation. 

IAAF – Academy Coach

Perhaps the most important educational initiative in the support of 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 Development Department 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 be transferred on the database from their old qualification and eligibility to the new structure and subsequently informed of their new status. The global transfer date is January 1st 2016. ‘Table 2’ pdf illustrates the process of transfer.

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