Participation in athletics has grown considerably in recent years, with a report in June 2016 revealing a 45 per cent growth in membership of Scotland’s athletics clubs.
With so many runners, jumpers and throwers taking their sport seriously, it creates an increased demand for coaches, and not only for more coaches but also for a better standard of coaching.
This demand is being met by effective partnership working between sportscotland and scottishathletics, whose National Coaching Conference at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on September 24/25 will provide a perfect opportunity for coaches to meet and share tips on how to turn mass participation into mass progression.
Something for everyone
The conference is not only of use to elite coaches, but the presence of some very established elite coaches on the speaker list gives the event a sense of universal appeal. So too does the programme, which promises to offer something from coaches from every level of able-bodied and disability sport.
The event, which consists of practical sessions, workshops and seminars, has a range that stretches beyond athletics, and beyond the boundaries of Scotland. Vern Gambetta, the world-renowned strength and conditioning coach, will be the opening speaker on September 24.
Jared Deacon, another of the keynote speakers, coached Emily Diamond to a 4x400m relay bronze medal alongside Scotland’s Eilidh Doyle at the recent Rio Olympics, while husband and wife team Trevor Painter and Jenny Meadows will lead one of the endurance breakout sessions.
Others on the guest list include Robert Hawkins (right), whose sons Callum and Derek ran the Rio Olympic Marathon with Callum finishing 9th, and Aston Moore, who coached Stef Reid to her third Paralympic silver medal in the long jump in Rio.
Raising the bar
David Somerville, sportscotland institute of sport high performance manager and former national performance coach at JudoScotland, said: “It is clear that scottishathletics are really trying to raise the bar with the size and the quality of their annual coaches conference.
“Although this is a sport-specific conference, with aspects that are event-specific, there is a lot of content in the programme that is transferable.
"That will make it appeal to coaches in other sports, thus achieving genuine collaboration and impact.
“The scope of the programme is very impressive with coaches from all of the environments of the Scottish sporting landscape covered extensively, from clubs and communities, schools and education to performance sport.”
A cascade effect
Iain Kennedy, sportscotland lead manager (coaching and volunteering), said: “The scottishathletics National Coaching Conference is an example of good practice that makes an important contribution to the world class sporting system we have established in Scotland.
“Through its National Coaching Development Programme, scottishathletics has demonstrated a firm commitment to people development by giving coaches the best possible platform to achieve positive outcomes in participation and progression.
“The consistency of this approach cascades down to athletes to produce the kind of excellent results we have seen at international level this summer culminating with the Rio Olympics and Paralympics.
“The annual conference features high-calibre speakers and illustrates the value of the coaching-specific funding that forms an important part of sportscotland’s overall investment in athletics.”
David Forbes, sportscotland partnership manager (coaching and volunteering), said: “Having attended last year’s scottishathletics National Coaching Conference I know that this is an extremely well-run and professionally delivered event with first-rate speakers and an ideal venue at the Emirates Arena.
“This year’s conference promises to be even better, and it is especially pleasing to see equalities and inclusion at the forefront of the programme, with discussion topics and sessions relevant to coaches of disability athletes.
“This event has traditionally been well received by coaches from other sports because it shows the cross-sport learning that can be achieved when coaches come together to share ideas and information and create links.”
Find out more
For more details of how to get involved in sport coaching in Scotland visit the coaching section of the sportscotland website.