UK Athletics and its four partner Home Country Athletics Federations (HCAFs) has officially launched the Coaching Strategy for the sport of athletics in the UK.

The formation of the strategy – a significant milestone – has been led by UK Athletics’ Interim CEO and Director of Development Mark Munro and new Head of Coach Development Jackie Newton, along with the respective HCAF coaching leads and follows a period of listening to the coaching community and detailed consultation across the sport.

The ambition is a shared vision for coaching, created by coaches, with exceptional coaching for all athletes at every stage of their athletics experience.

The aim of the strategy is to put coaches at the heart of the athletics community through a shared vision for coaching, with open and transparent communication, high levels of engagement and support, that is coach-focused and develops strong networks and great learning environments for coaches across the UK.

The full strategy can be viewed here.

A presentation summarising the key components for the strategy can be viewed here.

A number of virtual update sessions have been arranged on the evenings of 3rd, 8th, 10th and 12th November – coaches can sign up to attend here.

Jackie Newton said: “Today is a significant moment for UKA in relation to how we work with coaches and partners to really focus on supporting coaches at all levels and putting coaches very much at the heart of our work. Whilst announcing the strategy marks the end of a period of work in listening to, and defining what coaches were asking for and how they are more effectively valued and supported, it is also the start of delivering against the work programme and very transparent timelines we have committed to.

“Coaches are central to increasing, developing and retaining athletes, and it is crucial we both retain and build this great coaching workforce. We’ve heard of the need to focus on how we better support current and future coaches and provide best practice support and resources to clubs. We also acknowledge that many would like to see athletics coaching as a viable career option, and as a very minimum there needs to be a better appreciation of the personal investment made by coaches.

“I’d like to thank the many coaches who contributed to this strategy through the Surveys, focus groups, webinars as well as structured interviews and conversations that took place in the last few months. That input has helped us to build on the initial review work from 2019-20 by Dr Malcolm Brown and bring this strategy to life.”

Mark Munro said: “We have a great tradition in this country of producing brilliant coaches but as an organisation we have taken our eye off the ball somewhat. We must learn from what the coaching community have been telling us and we would like coaches to feel like this is a coaching strategy created by coaches – for coaches. Every step of the way in delivering this plan will be underpinned by the core pillars of our approach. We will continue to use proper evidence-based insight and data, but more importantly we will continue to listen, and we will make sure we invest in people, as well an ensuring everything we do is both inclusive and sustainable.

“Through the working group a number of key priorities have been recognised and identified within the document and there will also be a number of event specific advisory panels established for each discipline with external expertise supporting, checking and challenging progress.

“I would encourage anyone to take time to engage with the full strategy which also outlines a detailed action plan with timings and how success will be measured. It is a comprehensive plan that demonstrates a real commitment to long-term coaching success.”