Qualifying as a leader or coach is a great way to gain knowledge and to be able to share your passion for the sport with others. The road is not without its bumps but few things beat the satisfaction of making a real difference in someone’s life; whether it’s helping a non-runner become healthier and happier or helping an established runner achieve a PB. You can learn more about the various qualifications on Ucoach.
Leader in Running Fitness
For runners, the first step is to become a Leader in Running Fitness (LiRF). This one day course licenses (and insures) you to lead a group of runners (over the age of 12):
“The course will focus on the safe organization of running activities and how to lead a group of inexperienced runners. You will also discover, the reasoning and purpose behind warming up and cooling down and new activities that can make running a varied and enjoyable experience. Alongside this, the course also covers the core skills of Instruction and Explanation, Demonstration and Risk Assessment.”
For those with a focus on track and field, the first step is either the Leading Athletics Award (14-16 year olds) or Coaching Assistant (over 16s). Coaching Assistant is a two day course which qualifies you to lead sessions under the supervision of an Athletics Coach (unlike LiRFs, Coaching Assistants are not insured to work alone).
“The Coaching Assistant Award provides prospective coaches with an introduction to coaching athletics via a range of run, jump and throw skills and activities. To support the multi event approach for developing athletes, Coaching Assistants will be expected to deliver a range of sessions that develop running, jumping and throwing skills. The course is focused on the initial stages of the athlete development pathway.
The Coaching Assistant Award does not focus on specific athletics events such as javelin, triple jump or steeplechase. Instead it identifies the core principles that enable an athlete to effectively run, jump and throw. This then establishes a sound base for all future athletic activities both in training and competition.”
Coach in Running Fitness
Leaders (or Coaching Assistants) who wish to coach runners in the off-track disciplines should become Coach in Running Fitness (CiRF). This is a year long programme including 3 days of instruction, 1 day of practical assessment, a knowledge test and 3 assessed self-study workbooks.
“The CiRF award provides coaches with an introduction to coaching knowledge and skills relating to running. During the programme candidates will be asked to consider the needs of individuals who have a range of fundamental movement skills and a range of physical fitness abilities regardless of their chronological age. CiRF coaches will work with runners of all abilities and interests, including those new to the sport, returning to the sport or competitive runners.”
Those coaching assistants who what to develop their knowledge of track and field, to plan sessions and deliver them independently will progress to the Athletics Coach course. Like CiRF, this is a year long programme including 3 days of instruction, 1 day of practical assessment, a knowledge test and 3 assessed self-study workbooks.
“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.”