The first three months of the year are the busiest for people taking coaching and leading qualification courses, whether they’re new to running and athletics or are already part of our England Athletics family. We’re marking the half way point of our #GoCoach campaign by encouraging our 1,400 affiliated clubs to spread the message about coaching and leading courses in their communities. During the #GoCoach campaign period (October 2018 to date) 5,517 individuals have attended a coaching or leading course.
Every England Athletics club can access a personalised letter to send to member parents, ex-members, community groups and local fitness professionals, for example, to invite them to consider coaching and leading volunteering at their local athletics and running club. Included in the letter is a link to the 89 entry level qualification courses scheduled across the country between now and the end of March 2020 to help encourage registrations.
With volunteer coaches and leaders playing a vital role in the sport, the second phase of the campaign is backed once again by 200m World Champion Dina Asher-Smith and her coach John Blackie.
The aim of the #GoCoach campaign is to ensure that people of all ages and abilities can access athletics and running nationwide, by introducing 10,000 new coaches and leaders to the sport by the end of 2020.
2019 World Championships triple-medallist, Dina Asher-Smith, has supported the campaign since its launch. Asher-Smith, who has trained with her coach John Blackie since she was nine years old, said:
‘It’s fantastic to be able to help clubs with the England Athletics #GoCoach campaign. I know, personally, how important it is to have a good coach. As well as the effect a coach can have on an individual athlete like me, it’s also vital for clubs to recruit new coaching volunteers so they can encourage more people of all ages to take part in the sport. If there’s someone who you think would make a good coach tell them about the #GoCoach campaign – or give it a try yourself!’
John Blackie, who coached Dina Asher-Smith to World Championship glory, but who also works with athletes of varying ages and ability, said:
‘I’m delighted to be supporting #GoCoach to help bring new coaches and leaders into our sport. As a coach, it’s really encouraging to see fresh faces coming into the sport as I know the benefit they can bring to clubs and how they can support and work with existing coaches. Coaching can be so rewarding and such a positive experience.
‘Anyone getting involved in coaching, at any level, has the opportunity to make a real difference to people of all ages within the sport. I’ve seen people of all backgrounds become coaches and surprise themselves when they realise how much they have to offer and how much difference they can make to a club and to individuals. Why not be one of the 10,000? Get involved, help your local club and see how rewarding coaching can be!’
As well as encouraging new sign-ups to coaching qualification courses, over 4,500 existing and newly qualified coaches have completed development sessions since the launch of #GoCoach. Existing coaches and leaders can also find out about coaching development opportunities here.
The #GoCoach campaign aims to highlight that people from all walks of life, not just those with a sporting background, can enjoy a personally rewarding role as a volunteer coach or leader whilst bringing significant value to both individual athletes and the club environment. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer coach or leader within athletics and running can visit our website to find out more about the coaching pathway and qualifications on offer.
Chris Jones, CEO at England Athletics, added:
‘High quality, safe and enthusiastic coaching and leadership is fundamentally important in a sport like athletics and running, whatever the age, ability and motivation of the participant and performer. Our sport has a rich history and heritage in this specific area with some exceptional people already doing outstanding work in clubs, schools and communities across England, but we need more people to help build on this success and to increase capacity in a sport that continues to grow in areas such as running.
‘Equally, if we are to retain participants and enhance performance levels in track and field athletics then coaches are vitally important to that goal, and as a sport we need to encourage the ongoing development and progression of coaches from entry level upwards. This country has produced some of the finest athletics and running coaches that the world has known. They serve as an inspiration to others and we hope that the #GoCoach campaign encourages others to follow in their footsteps.’