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.

The CECS features three levels of courses plus opportunities for further education. 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. Operation of CECS is co-ordinated by the IAAF Development Department and RDCs.

Entry to the CECS is through the Level I course which is staged nationally and is designed to train a large number of coaches who can work with athletes in all phases of the Sport Development Continuum at the grass roots of the sport – in clubs and schools. Levels II and III are normally staged at the RDCs and are designed for a smaller number of coaches who will have specialist duties within their federation.

Successful completion of all three levels leads to the award of the IAAF Diploma in Coaching, granted with the authority of the world governing body for Athletics.

Level I

The Level I course is intended to train as many coaches as possible for effective work with youth and beginner athletes. Level I will be the only course the vast majority of participants are able to attend. For this reason, the course must provide more than just an introduction to coaching. The Level I syllabus covers all events, with the exception of the steeplechase and combined events, and emphasises the practical aspects 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.

On completion of the course, the Level I certified coach will be expected to introduce athletes to the rough form of each event covered on the course. The Level I certified coach will also be expected to understand the concept of long term planning of training and be able to plan and implement effective training sessions.

Level II

The Level II course is designed to bring coaches together who have performed well at Level I and have gained a level of specialisation ion one of the following four event groups:

  • Sprints and Hurdles.
  • Middle, Long Distance and Race Walking.
  • Jumps.
  • Throws.

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 one of the event groups, the Level II syllabus contains coaching theory which is 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 training cycle within the context of a long term training plan.

At present, Level II courses are conducted at RDCs. However, as countries are able to build up the necessary infrastructure, organisational ability and trained personnel they will be able to stage Level II courses using IAAF accredited lecturers.

Entry requirements for Level II include a specific profile of achievement on Level I examinations, completion of a minimum of one year practical experience and nomination for the course by the coach’s Member Federation.

Level III

The Level III course, which leads to the awarding of the IAAF Diploma in Coaching, provides coaches with advanced level instruction in the event group they have chosen for the Level II course. As with Level II, the Level III syllabus includes event specific elements and common coaching theory.

On completion of the Level III course, coaches will be able to identify and coach high level and advanced competitors for their specific event or events. They will also be expected to able to plan and implement macrocycles of training for high level athletes within the context of a multi-year plan.

Level III courses are conducted at the RDCs. Entry is open to all coaches who have achieved a specified minimum profile of achievement on the Level II examinations, have completed further practical experience and have been nominated by their Member Federation.

RDC Adelaide, Australia

RDC Beijing, PR China

RDC Cairo, Egypt

RDC Dakar, Senegal

RDC Jakarta, Indonesia

RDC Lisboa, Portugal

RDC Moscow, Russia

RDC Nairobi, Kenya

RDC Salinas, Puerto Rico

RDC Santa Fe, Argentina

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