Coach Network Conference May 2024


Over 60 coaches from all across Ireland travelled to TUS Athlone for the first Athletics Ireland Coach Network Conference of 2024. This was a day for coaches to network, meet new people and hear from experts in their field.

Women in Sport Lead Anna Grealish, started the morning welcoming our female coaches and launch the new Women in Coaching Network. The WiC network will be developed over the year with a mixture of on-line and regional coaching events to support female coaches at all levels. The Network will create a link between Athletics Ireland’s Women in Sport Lead and female coaches around the country at all levels. It will provide female coaches the opportunity to meet, give feedback and ideas for plans for the future and explore their own coaching philosophy. 

The conference then kicked off with Steve Macklin giving an excellent talk on The Art of Coaching and how we can improve our coaching ability. 

Key takeaways from Steve’s talk were: 

  • To listen to our athletes and create that open communication channel with them. 
  • Look at what can be learnt from other sports and other professions and put it into coaching - the business leaders of the world, the arts and music. 
  • We can all get better and strive to master our craft - ask questions, look around and learn from others. 

Next up was PhD candidate Cherianne Taim discussing her research on The Female Athlete. Cherianne’s research looks at raising awareness of the effect the menstrual cycle has on female athletes and how we must looking after our athletes using a holistic approach - sleep, nutrition, stress and training regimes. We want to encourage athletes to talk more about the issues around female health and menstruation. Cherianne’s research will provide key insights to our athletes, parents and coaches. 

Rounding out the guest speakers was Jonas Dodoo, head coach and founder of Speedworks Training. This talk looked at how we can build better, stronger athletes who can then perform the event tasks asked of them. We want to build an athlete to perform rather than coach the event. Key focuses on strengthening our glutes, core and torso to provide stability. 

Jonas also then delivered an excellent practical session on robust athlete development with a group of our U17-U23 jumps athletes. The session focused on building better mechanics for running and plyometric drills with the athletes. The session was excellently received by all attendees from the athletes, the parents and the coaches. Jonas was supported on the day by multiple National long jump champion turned coach, Adam McMullen. 

The day was put together by Coach Education Manager Conor Wilson, Athlete Development Manager Grace Lynch and the Development Team. Thank you to all those involved organising, a big thank you to our speakers Steve, Cherianne and Jonas and finally a special thank you to all the coaches and athletes who attended the day. 

Words can’t describe how much energy and enthusiasm was generated by this forum. We look forward to welcoming you to our next network day this Autumn!

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