Performance Pathway

Athletics Ireland’s Performance Pathway Programme aims to support the identification and development of athletes (ages 16-20) who have the potential to progress into successful senior athletes. The programme offers support to the athletes, their personal coaches and their parents.

The objectives of the pathway are:

  • To work with young athletes & their Personal Coaches to help them to progress and develop in order to achieve success on the senior international stage.
  • To provide performance support to complement their existing training & support services set-up
  • To support Coaches of young athletes
  • To help provide guidance to Parents of young athletes
  • To work with athlete’s existing support networks to ensure a holistic approach to their development
  • To increase the number of talented athletes medalling at youth, junior and senior internationals.

The Performance Pathway programme will complement the work being done by the respective National Event Co-ordinators and work with them to encourage athletes and coaches to develop their technical abilities. Both the Pathway Performance programme and the National Event Co-ordinators provide Mentoring and upskilling opportunities for the Coaches, and help them to develop their own Performance environment.

The athletes are encouraged to attend and develop physically & mentally through a series of workshops and testing and information sessions.  The needs of the athlete at this stage of development are broader, requiring technical and sports science support, coaching and coach support, personal support, medical and physio support, third level transitioning support, as well as career advice and professional development.

Recognising that Parents are a big influencing factor to young athletes, support, workshops and information are made available to the parents/guardians of the athletes.


A typical year for Performance Pathway student athlete will broadly comprise of:
January & February (Mid-term)

Workshops & Performance Pathway Day for Coaches, Athletes & Parents

Testing Days

Indoor season & Qualifying opportunities (where relevant)

Easter Easter Camp with educational, developmental and training aspects
May – August

Qualifying deadines.Outdoor T&F competitions.

Key identified Prep Meets for both U/18 & U/20 athletes with Q stds
Competition Season

Either (alternate years)  European or World U/20s, European U/18s or EYOF

Ongoing support and asistance and access to performacne services                                                                                         

Pre-International Team Day for the respective competition to inform athletes & coaches
September Season Review & Planning & Testing
October Carding applications and decisions. Annual Plans due
November & December

Workshops & Performance Pathway Day for Coaches, Athletes & Parents

National Squad Days with Event Co-ordinators

Coach Mentoring under auspices of relevant National Event Co-ordinators 


Diagram with thanks to AAI Physio, Declan Monaghan 

With the above diagram in mind, we endeavour to help the Performance Pathway athletes to find a balance in their school/college & sport life, and to add some extra tools to their repertoire to complement the hard work they do in their weekly training with their Personal Coaches.

For more information on these workshops visit our page HERE.

Now is the time to review and plan. If you are an athlete who has excelled nationally in 2023, and hope to join the Performance Pathway Programme this autumn, the Performance Pathway Standards can be found here.  


Parallel Pathways for Athletes & For Coaches

The pathways for both athletes & coaches and the principles which underpin their development are obviously very closely interlinked.

Performance Pathway aims to complement the existing training and competition plan of individuals by giving them support in other key areas.

Criteria for inclusion in the Performance Pathway Programme is available to view here. If you/your athlete meet these cirteria, please contact the Performance Pathway Manager to be added to the Pathway Programme. 

Athletics Ireland High Performance Unit solicited applications for 2023 (performances in 2022) Athlete Carding, known as the Operation Gold Performance Programme or ‘OGPP’.

Selection Policy and details are available HERE

The Performance Pathway captures athletes tracking towards major championship u/18 and u/20 and first year u/23 & offers them support. Both Carded Athletes and non-carded athletes are part of the Performance Pathway Programme. Therefore athletes born 2003 - 2008 who do not meet the Carding Criteria as per the OGPP, may still be part of the Performance Pathway Programme, receiving support and assistance as they prepare for World U/20s, European U/18s, & European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) 2022 & European U20s & European U23s 2023.



The Performance Pathway Programme supports Athletics Irelands anti-doping commitment and athletes, coaches & parents receive Anti-doping education regularly as part of the Programme. Full information on anti-doping can be found HERE.

Athletics Ireland’s Performance Pathway athletes all must also complete the European Athletics anti-doping education programme

European Athletics launched the ‘I Run Clean’ anti-doping e-learning platform after two years of work with athletes and experts in the fight against doping. It is a supplement and support for the anti-doping education programmes offered by federations, national anti-doping agencies and other organisations.

The easy to use interactive ‘I Run Clean’ programme comprises eight units, starting with Values and Decision Making, and a curated knowledge base, which together provide everyone with an understanding of the rules, procedures and other information they need to be responsible for their part in the fight against doping. All athletes are invited to stand up for their sport and make the ‘I Run Clean’ pledge by completing the programme and earning their diploma.

Since 2018 the diploma is a mandatory qualification for European Athletics’ age group championships and since 2020 for all athletes.


For any further information or queries about Athletics Ireland’s Performance Pathway Programme, please contact the Performance Pathway Manager, Jacqui Freyne

Newsletter sign up

Sign-up for the Athletics Ireland E-Zine with exclusive interviews, coaching news and offers!

Which of the following best describes you?