Committed to coaching - investing in the future


Committed to coaching -  investing in the future

Athletics Ireland has been developing its coach education from the grassroots up to the elite level over the past decade.

In December 2015 following discussions at the coaching and high performance committees, a coaching strategy group was set up to continue the upskilling of coaches to the highest level.

It was agreed to begin High Performance Coaching Initiatives including high level workshops, mentoring of high level coaches and Open High Performance and Development Network Events.

The objective of the initiatives was to upskill coaches, in particular coaches working with elite athletes.

The Endurance Coaching Network (ECN) was the first outlay of collective learning. There have been three conferences to date as well as 10 master classes with ECN 4 to take place on April 1st and has guest international speaker Robert Hawkins, coach to Callum Hawkins, from Scotland attending.

Previous ECN events have utilised international speakers such as Chris Jones, Martin Rush, Andy Hobdell and Honore Hoedt. To date the total attendance at the 3 ECN events stands at 310 coaches with an average attendance at each master class of 25 coaches per night. These master classes aim to have a smaller group of coaches and delve deeper into topics that have been presented at the ECN event. The initiative has been extremely well received and has spread to other event groups also.

ECN 1 Presenters:

Darragh Sheridan

Joe O Connor

Chris Jones

Steve Macklin

Joe Ryan

Richard Rodgers

ECN 2 Presenters:

Martin Rush

Liam Moggan

Noel & Niamh Richardson

Colin Griffin

Mark Kirk

Laura Kerr

ECN 3 Presenters:

Peter Francis

Andy Hobdell

Colin Griffin

Donal Hennigan

Eamon Harvey

Pat Hogan


Sprint, hurdles and jumps initiatives began in April 2016. The following events have taken place and are set to be conducted:

April 20th 2016: Sprints / Hurdles / Jumps HP Network Athlone IT  - 130 Participants

Keynote Presentations & Workshops.


 Tom Crick  -  Speed , Richard Wheater  - Creating a HP Culture , Deirdre Ryan  - HJ & Plyometrics , Ciaran McDonagh -  Long Jump

September 3rd 2016 : Sprints / Hurdles / Jumps  Development Network Athlone IT  - 70 Participants

Keynote Presentations & Workshops.


Paul McKee - Dynamic Warm-up; Brid Golden – Hurdles, Eamon Harvey S&C, Pat Ryan – Planning, Daniel Kilgannon – Relays, Speed Development Case Study , David Murphy – Triple Jump , Brigid Corrigan – High Jump

September 17th  2016 : Sprints / Hurdles / Jumps  HP Network Athlone IT  - 100 Participants

Keynote Presentations & Workshops. 


Paul Mckee, Case Study, Volker Herman Hurdles & Speed Development, Femi Ademinsaya Long jump, Hayley Harrison 400m Hurdles & Planning, Jim Alexander - Pole Vault

October 29th  2016 : S& C  & Combined Events HP Network Athlone IT – 70 Participants

Keynote Presentations & Workshops.

Julie Hollman – Combined Events, Barry Walsh – Combined Events, Volker Herrman S&C


Mentoring is another key feature of workshops and coaching networks. These are being into practise as highlighted below: 

  • Hurdles Mentoring Workshops (Volker Hermann) – Institute of Sport 3 workshops with invited athletes and coaches from the 2016 performance list (September 16th 2016, October 28th 2016, January 20th 2017).
  • High Jump Mentoring programme with Deirdre Ryan and Niall Wilkinson (coach to Sommer Lecky)
  • Long Jump Mentoring Workshop (Ralph Mouchbahani) with open invite for athletes and coaches – Santry 4th March. Follow-up workshop planned for May 7th 2017.
  • HP Sprints / Jumps / Hurdles Network Day planned for April 30th 2017 in Athlone IT. Michael Afilaka guest presenter.   
  • Michael Afilaka also to do some elite mentoring in addition to Network Presentations.

Throws High Performance Coaching Group

In December 2016, Vesteinn Hafsteinsson (coach to over 20 major medallists including World Champion in the Shot Put and Olympic Champion in the Discus) came to Ireland for two weekends and worked with the top 5 Discus and top 5 Shot Putters along with their coaches. These coaches were obliged to mentor at least one other coach as a result of benefiting from this upskilling. The two weekends covered Technical , S&C and Mental Preparation aspects of top level performance. Significant gains have been seen from a number of competitors since this event even though we have only had an indoor season and a couple of outdoor competitions.

As a result we had 7 athletes competing at the European Winter Throws Cup (our biggest entry ever).

Further exposure to these coaches over the coming months is planned and we aim to maintain a long term relationship with them and Irish Athletics. The next stage will be to spread the learning among other coaches with the initiation of a Coaches Network over the coming year.

Video Education - AAi Coach

 A Coaching Video Education AAi Coach is an interactive coaching resource with phase one nearing completion. The first focus is relays as the subject matter and is being developed by Daniel Kilgallon. This will be made available to all coaches going through our Coach Ed programs and possibly a wider audience.

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