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This First-of-Its-Kind Coaching Module Will Give Indian Athletics a Major Boost!

In athletics as in any discipline, a great coach can work wonders with prospective talent.

A coach is the most important individuals for a sportsperson.
Even Sachin Tendulkar, the God of Indian Cricket always credits his childhood coach, Ramakant Achrekar, for helping him in his formative years, before he went on to become a legend.

Even in the case of athletics, the picture isn’t any different. Coaches have been instrumental in helping athletes reach their potential.

The coach is vital for guidance, help and providing direction to athletes, be it any sport. Image Credit: Facebook.
The coach is vital for guidance, help and providing direction to athletes, be it any sport. Image Credit: Facebook.

Well, it is only advantageous for coaches, that the International Association of Athletic Federation (IAAF) with the Athletic Federation of India (AFI) decided to conduct its Coaches Education and Certification Systems (CECS) Level 1 Course, in Chennai and Ranchi from May 2 to May 13th. Around 24 candidates attended the crash course in Chennai.

2018 will also see this conducted in Patiala, Bhopal, Guwahati and Himachal Pradesh.

According to AFI Secretary, CK Valson, the IAAF has listed out ten courses. The AFI Secretary told the New Indian Express that they aim to have the course across India. However, with just 24 candidates enrolling per course, there is a shortage of faculty.

For the May batch, around 240 candidates applied. Another admission window is opening up in September, for which the registration will be Rs 25,000, which includes accommodation and food.

With this coaching certification, former athletes are finding a viable second career option. For athletes, support in India is largely lacking, and many of them find themselves fighting to stay financially afloat after crossing the finish line.

One cannot forget the story of Sita Sahu, a two-time bronze medal winner in the Athens Special Olympics, who was selling chaat for a living. Her story reflects the plight of several athletes, who have faded into oblivion.

Well, this coaching certification programme will ensure that athletes have a viable career choice for them. It hence makes sense that former Olympians and athletes will be given priority while selecting applicants for the coaching programme. High jumpers Sahana Kumari and Nalluswamy Annavi also underwent training at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai.

According to Sahana Kumari, the IAAF certification will help augment the standard of coaching.

High jump champ Sahana Kumari feels the certifications shall augment the standard of coaching. Image Credit: Facebook
High jump champ Sahana Kumari feels the certifications shall augment the standard of coaching. Image Credit: Facebook

Kumari elaborates and claims that former athletes know the intricate workings, due to their prior experience. She credits the AFI in its initiative to encourage people to take up coaching. She feels this is a better initiative than spending a year to undergo the level one coaching course at the National Institute of Sports.

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She had enrolled in the 2015 batch for the Level 1 course at NIS but left after three months as the programme didn’t allow her to participate in international events, as an athlete. In contrast, the IAAF certification is conducted for just 12 days, and won’t hamper athlete schedules. Kumari finds this useful, as it allows her to compete, as an athlete, and still work as a coach.

The initiative to formulate a standardised coaching programme is to generate quality coaches, and consequently champion athletes.

From spotting the talent to developing it, a coach plays a vital role in the athletics ecosystem. Image Credit: Facebook.
From spotting the talent to developing it, a coach plays a vital role in the athletics ecosystem. Image Credit: Facebook.

The athlete coach ration as of now is 100:1. One coach cannot possibly groom 100 quality athletes, which is why the AFI wants to plan a Level 2 course in the next few years.

Since January 2016, the Coaches Education and Certification System of the IAAF has three levels of courses across seven languages. For each course, the IAAF provides a standard syllabus, lecturers and necessary literature. Financial support comes from the IAAF and its area associations, Olympic Solidarity, and other national and international partners.

The operation of the CECS will be coordinated by the six area associations, with their respective IAAF Regional Development Centre(s) (RDCs), under the supervision of the IAAF Development Department.

The course covers the following areas:-
Identification of talent
Performance Development
Performance Management
There are certificates on the completion of modules. Right from gauging interest in athletics, to the stage of elite coaching, prospective coaches are taught the finer details of their craft.


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The introduction of a concise, dedicated coaching programme has many advantages:-

1. It allows current and former athletes to enrol, and develop their career path as mentors and coaches.
2. It allows current athletes to continue competing in events without hampering coaching obligations.
3. It creates acceptable standards of coaching, and as Kumari pointed out, will augment the standards of both coaching and the sport.
4. Most importantly, it grooms a set of coaches or mentors, in whose hands the athletics talent of our country can realise its full potential.

Here’s wishing the best to the new coaches!

Featured Image Credit: –Facebook

(Edited by Shruti Singhal)

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