Coaches play an integral role in the development of athletes, teaching and guiding them through various situations, and enabling them to thrive in the many facets of their lives – not only in sport. Finding the right coach, with a skillset and experience that meets a participant’s needs, is important for their long-term development, and enjoyment of the sport and physical activity.

Find a Coach

What sort of help are you looking for?

Different coaches will be valuable to different people, so finding a coach who matches your needs will help you get the most out of your time in athletics. Some coaches may hold training sessions that focus on fun and skill development, which can be great for those new to the sport and/or private coaching, whereas others may focus more greatly on performance.

When considering a performance coach, it is important to be aware of the skill level required, and to ensure that the training type, frequency, and volume is appropriate to the age of the participant. It is important to be aware that advanced training load in youth may be detrimental to long term development.

Think about what sort of role athletics plays in your life and find a coach who understands that. Be honest and up front with that coach about what you need, and how you are feeling. Ensuring you are both on the same page will create a more positive, long lasting, and sustainable relationship for everyone involved.

In what sort of environment do you get your best results?

Coaches have different personalities. For example, in the training environment, some coaches may be energetic and loud, while others are more softly spoken. One is not necessarily better than the other, but it is important to think about which you best respond to – Don’t be scared to ask questions of the coach, and those who train with them. It is also important to do your research – some coaches may even post about their training on social media.

Finding a coach who works with others of a similar background is a great place to start. Think about heading down to the track and trying out a few sessions for yourself.

What qualifications and experience should my coach have?

When considering coaches, it is important to seek information on their:

  • Qualifications – Coaches should be educated and qualified to lead training sessions. In Australia, Athletics Australia and the Australian Track & Field Coaches Association offer accreditation for the beginner coach through performance level. Their websites offer further information on accreditation levels, and the competitors they best suit.
    • It is important that coaches, where appropriate, hold a Working with Children Check.
    • In a Centre training environment, or as part of LAVic programs, coaches are also asked to agree to a Child Safe Code of Conduct.
  • Experience – Each coach will bring with them a unique set of coaching experiences. Perhaps a coach has been working with development level competitors, or in schools for several years; others may have taken athletes to international championships. Again, one is not necessarily better than the other, just relevant to the level you seek.

Put it all together!

Do your research, have conversations, and don’t forget to be honest about your expectations. Now that you have an awareness of what to look for, it’s time to use Athletics Australia or the Australian Track & Field Coaches Association’s ‘Find a Coach’ functions tools.