Athletics 365 is a multi-event, young people development programme, which introduces athletes to the fundamental skills of athletics (vital to every sport). It is aimed predominantly at 8-15 year olds, but the resources can easily be adapted for use with younger athletes.
Athletics 365 focuses not only on how fast someone runs or how far someone jumps or throws but also, more importantly, on developing the technical skills (‘how’ to run, jump and throw) required to perform at full potential and move like a champion. In addition to technical skills, Athletics 365 also looks at an athlete’s physical, mental and emotional development, as well as their lifestyle and social development.
The Athletics 365 programme is broken down into nine progressive stages. Each stage provides athletes with new and progressively more difficult challenges appropriate to their stage of development. Athletics 365 encourages athletes to learn all the skills and events of athletics, and reinforces the importance of a good all round skill base.
The stages can be seen as similar to progression in other sports, such as the martial arts ‘belt system.’ Through Athletics 365, England Athletics believe young people will develop the skills and confidence to excel in life; not only in athletics, but in other sports and other life pursuits.
As well as coaching qualifications in which the Athletics 365 principles are embedded there are also a range of workshops that we run on Youth Development.
The film below provides coaches, athletes and parents with and introduction to Athletics 365, the England Athletics Club-Based Youth Development Programme. It provides a brief explanation of the programme, how it works and some examples of the programme in action. Toni Minichiello (coach to Jessica Ennis-Hill) and Peter Stanley (formerly National Coach Mentor and former coach to Jonathan Edwards) also share their thoughts on the programme.
The four development sections:
Beginner: New to an Athletics 365 programme and under assessment; no assigned Athletics 365 stage.
Developing – Stages 1 (red) to 3 (green) of Athletics 365: Learning and developing new skills. Able to undertake simple skills; similar to a novice.
Practising – Stages 4 (purple) to 6 (black) of Athletics 365: Has mastered the simple skills and is now practising more complex skills. Able to undertake progressively more challenging and event specific skills; similar to an intermediate athlete.
Emerging – Stages 7(bronze) to 9 (gold) of Athletics 365: Has mastered semi-complex skills and is now practising complex event specific skills. Able to undertake progressively more challenging and event specific skills; similar to an experienced or maturing athlete.
More about Athletics 365
When to start Athletics 365?
Most clubs will offer athletes an initial induction period, approximately 8-14 weeks in length. Within this induction period, the athlete should be introduced to all the athletics events, delivered in a fun, activity based programme which is appropriate to their age and stage of development.
The coach will use this induction period to assess the athlete’s skills and stage of development against the Athletics 365 stages. At the end of the induction period, the coach will then assign the athlete to the most appropriate stage of Athletics 365 based on their observations.
In order for the athletes to miss a stage and start further along Athletics 365 (e.g. miss Red stage and start at Yellow stage), the young person must complete all of the previous stage challenges competently.
The athletes will therefore be placed by the coach at a stage which is appropriate to their stage of development, and which provides the appropriate level of challenge.
How does the athlete progress through Athletics 365?
In order for the athlete to progress from one stage to the next, they will need to complete all of the challenges within the particular stage. This means in order to receive a Stage 2 (Yellow) Award, the athlete will need to complete all of the challenges in the Physical Conditioning, Running, Jumping and Throwing sections, as well as the Lifestyle and Support and How they Think and Behave sections for Stage 2 (Yellow).
What if the athlete progress through the running, jumping or throwing challenges quicker than all the others?
Athletics 365 has been split into four development sections (see below) which allows the athlete to progress through three stages at a time in any given event. This means the athlete may be signed off by a coach at Stage 3 (green) for running, Stage 2 (yellow) for Jumping and Stage 1 (red) for everything else, but they will not receive their Stage 2 (yellow) or 3 (green) awards until all the challenges for every area are signed off. This is to help athletes develop their all-round skills, improve their conditioning, and offer them a greater choice of events in which they can progress.
What is deemed as a competent challenge?
In order for an athlete to be signed off as competent for any challenge or skill, they must be able to demonstrate the skill at least 80% of the time, as well as during an assessment day/evening. A coach will observe this over a minimum of one term (or multiple weeks). The athlete should ensure they have learnt each skill or challenge prior to progressing onto the next stage, as the challenges become progressively harder. The athlete needs to remember that learning a skill is not as simple as demonstrating the skill once in front of a coach, but multiple times as required.
Recording completion of Athletics 365 challenges
Within the athlete pack, the athlete will have a ‘Record of Achievement Chart’ for each stage of Athletics 365. As they complete the challenges, and they are agreed with their coach, the athlete should tick them off on their ‘Record of Achievement Chart’. Once all of the boxes are ticked, the athlete should give this chart to their coach for them to confirm that they have completed this stage of Athletics 365, and sign the athlete off.
What does the athlete receive on completing an Athletics 365 stage?
This very much depends on the club and how they wish to award the Athletics 365 programme. England Athletics suggests that on completion of a given stage (e.g. Stage 4 – Purple) the athlete should receive a 365 award.
Why does the young person have to do running, jumping and throwing to complete Athletics 365, especially where they may only want to participate in one of these event groups?
Athletics 365 is a multi skills/multi events based programme designed to develop the all round athlete.
Some of Britain’s most successful athletes started by running, jumping and throwing, such as Jessica Ennis, Christine Ohuruogu and Steve Backley. England Athletics believe that through Athletics 365, athletes will have a greater choice of events and sports in which to participate and succeed, both now and later on in life. Developing a better conditioned athlete will increase the athlete’s performance and minimise the likelihood of injury.
The athlete will still be encouraged to participate and compete in those events they enjoy the most, at the same time as allowing them to experience new and exciting challenges and events.
If coaches specialise athlete’s training too early, there is a greater chance the athlete can develop repetition related injuries. This is particularly an issue while athletes are growing, such as when they are going through puberty, as this may affect their physical development.
How does Athletics 365 fit alongside the existing competition formats for young athletes?
Athletics 365 encourages athletes to strive for new personal bests and to perform in a competition. England Athletics recommends that at the end of each term (school terms i.e. Christmas, Easter and Summer holidays), the last week of the Athletics 365 programme is dedicated to competition. Clubs will, where possible, provide competitions which recognise personal bests.
We would like to thank Create Development for their support in the development of Physical Conditioning, Lifestyle & Support and Psycho Behavioural sections of the Athletics 365 curriculum