Pilot seminar explores how federations can best support coaches

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Recognising that coaches play a key role at all levels of athletics and that support provided to coaches is important for the sport and its development, European Athletics staged its first-ever coach management system seminar in Reykjavik, Iceland, from 4-6 November.

Thirteen participants from five Member Federations, among them general secretaries, administrators and leading coaches, examined the coach management and support systems in their countries and developed plans for addressing identified weaknesses and improving effectiveness.

Among the system elements studied over the intense three days of lectures, workshops and group presentations were the recruitment of new coaches, coach education and continuing development, communication, quality control, recognition and rewards for good work.

On the first day of the seminar, the participants were welcomed by Einar Vilhjálmsson, the President of Iceland’s athletic federation, which co-hosted the event together with Reykjavik University.  Mr Vilhjálmsson also attended parts of the second and third days of the seminar.

The seminar lectures included two presentations by Julian North, PhD, of Leeds Beckett University in Great Britain, who introduced a framework for analysing coach management systems and shared findings from research projects in this area that have been conducted in Britain, Ireland and South Africa.

Also presenting was Malek El-Hebil, the Director of the IAAF Development and Member Relations Department, who spoke about development strategy in athletics before focusing on the IAAF Coach Education and Certification System (CECS).

On their return home, the participants are expected to continue detailed planning of change projects for their systems working together with the leadership in their federations. 

For its part, European Athletics will follow up by monitoring changes implemented in the participating federations’ systems over the coming year in order to assess the impact of the seminar and by providing advice and other assistance where appropriate.

European Athletics will also review the seminar contents and participants’ feedback to see how the concept can be developed and rolled out to other federations starting in 2015.

More information on the seminar can be obtained by contacting European Athletics Head of Development Bill Glad (

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