High Performance

High Performance Athlete Support Pathway

Athletics NI provides a suite of programmes to support athletes with the ambition to reach their full performance potential. The High Performance Athlete Support Pathway (HP-ASP) starts when athletes reach roughly 15-16 years of age and continues until they reach senior levels and by which time they hopefully aspire to win major global medals.

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The pathway has been created to align with the principles set out in the UK Athlete Development Model, which provides guidance surrounding long-term athlete development, specifically in relation to how to progress from when they first become involved in Athletics through to international success.

UK Athlete Development Model
UK Athlete Development Model published on uCoach.com

Entry and Selection Process

Entry to the Athletics NI High Performance Athlete Support Pathway can begin at around 15 years of age when athletes may be selected for Youth Academy or Development Squads based on age group specific selection criteria. As an athlete’s performances improve they may then be selected to the Commonwealth Ambition and Olympic Ambition programmes based on performances achieved in senior specification competition. From there they will hopefully progress onto the Irish or British elite funding and support programmes. At the same time athletes who aspire to high performance but have not achieved the selection standards for these programmes can attend Open Academy or Open Squad events.

High Performance Programmes

Athletics NI operates the following high performance programmes:

  • Youth Academy
  • Development Squads
  • Open Academy (coming September 2016)
  • Open Squads (coming September 2016)
  • Commonwealth Ambition
  • Podium Ambition

Youth Academy

From roughly 15 years of age, Athletics NI provide opportunities for selected athletes and their coaches to be supported through organised group initiatives. Youth Academy provides a structured syllabus of physical preparation opportunities as well as support workshops on themes relevant to athletes between 15-18 years of age and their coaches. Selection is based on athlete performance standards.

Like all Athletics NI programmes coaches are actively encouraged to participate and feed into the programme. The syllabus is also published through the NIfutures.com website so the programme could form the basis for a similar initiative within a club setting.

More details regarding Youth Academy are available here.

Open Academy

In line with Athletics NI’s guiding principle to provide opportunities for coaches and athletes who do not meet selection criteria to still be able to benefit Youth Academy, Athletics NI will also begin to operate an Open Academy from Autumn 2016.

This ‘open’ version of Youth Academy will allow ambitious athletes and their coaches to experience the content available through Youth Academy during special sessions run on specified dates. The Youth Academy curriculum will also be published on NIfutures.com.

Development Squads

To complement Youth Academy, Athletics NI will organise development squads within speed and endurance. These provide an opportunity for athletes and their coaches to come together to train and learn.

Like all Athletics NI programmes coaches are actively encouraged to participate and feed into the programme. The syllabus is also published through the NIfutures.com website so the programme could form the basis for a similar initiative within any club. Currently the squads are only available within speed and endurance. The feasibility of undertaking a similar structure for Jumps and Throws is currently being assessed.

Open Squads

Like with Youth Academy it is anticipated that an ‘open’ version of the Squads will be implemented to allow ambitious athletes and their coaches to experience the content and atmosphere associated with the Development Squad. These will be available from Autumn 2016.

Commonwealth Ambition

Athletes who have previously represented NI at a Commonwealth Games or who are producing performances in line with Commonwealth Games Consideration Standards can be supported through the Commonwealth Ambition programme. The benefits of this programme vary across the quadrennial with greater support being provided in Commonwealth Games years.

Benefits of the Commonwealth Ambitions programme may include:

  • Access to gym sessions booked by Athletics NI at UUJ, where appropriate
  • Support around Physical Preparation from Athletics NI staff
  • Potential access to support funding
  • Potential access to limited SINI services.

Podium Ambition

Athletes who have represented Great Britain or Ireland at the World Championships or Olympic/Paralympic Games or are supported through the UK Athletics' World Class Performance Programme or Senior Irish Carding may be supported through the Olympic Ambition programme.

Benefits of the Olympic Ambitions programme include:

  • Access to gym sessions booked by Athletics NI at UUJ, where appropriate
  • Support around Physical Preparation from Athletics NI staff
  • Potential access to support funding
  • Potential access to full SINI services.

 

Further Information & Links

British Athletics World Class Performance Programme Guide 

Athletics Ireland Operation Gold Performance Programme

Athletics NI High Performance Contact

Please contact Tom Reynolds for any further enquiries regarding high performance.