2016 Coaching Conference a Success

10 October 2016

2016 Coaching Conference a Success

Close to 100 coaches attended the 2016 Athletics NI Coaching Conference held on Saturday 8th October at the Ulster University, Jordanstown Campus. In keeping with previous conferences the event involved a mixture of presentations and practical workshops based around key themes identified as areas of interest in Northern Ireland.

Alan Richardson got the conference out of the blocks with a keynote presentation on creating a cutting edge youth development club, based on his recent experience as Director of Athletics at Millfield School in Somerset. The former British Athletics Jumps and Combined Events Lead, talked about the importance of diversification of training and how he consulted the athletes when drawing up the club’s code of conduct and philosophy.


Alan’s presentation was then followed by a pair of workshops focused on speed development and endurance. On the speed front, Jonas Dodoo, rugby speed consultant to numerous international players and coach to sub 10.0s Olympian Chijindu Ujah, outlined his philosophy on the development of speed. Meanwhile, Andy Hobdell coach to Northern Irish Olympic marathon qualifiers Paul Pollock and Kevin Seaward went into detail regarding the training the pair undertook in the run up to the Rio Olympics.


After lunch Jonas Dodoo led a practical workshop, focused on acceleration and maximal velocity running, taking three up and coming Northern Irish sprinters through their paces. On the endurance front Northern Irish Performance Coach of the Year Richard Rodgers and Athletics NI’s Tom Reynolds presented details of Steeplechaser Kerry O’Flaherty’s development to date, with a focus on her preparation for Rio. This was then followed by a fascinating talk on asthma and the less well known vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) by Research Fellow Kathy Hetherington. During the presentation Kathy discussed a case study of a well-known local asthmatic endurance runner, and led the group through a series of breathing exercises to combat VCD.


The final pair of workshops focused on Pole Vault and Combined Events. On the track Alan Richardson led a group of local pole vaulters through a practical training session, which focused on technical improvements to run up and take off. Meanwhile, former Olympic, World, European (indoor) and Commonwealth Games medallist Kelly Sotherton talked through the ups and downs of her career and lessons she learned working with four very different coaches. After the conference had officially ended Kelly then stayed on to answer questions from an invited group of multi-event coaches.


Coach Development Lead Laura Kerr said, ‘This was our best attended conference in recent years, and along with local club coaches it was great to see so many Athletics Ireland Coaches making the trip to join us. The presence of strength and conditioning coaches from across Ireland, was also notable and this bodes well for Athletics Northern Ireland’s ambition, to improve the physical preparation of track and field athletes at all levels.’


Director of Coaching and Athlete Development Tom Crick said, ‘The quality of presentations this year was excellent and there really was something for everyone. Both during and after the event people commented on how much they enjoyed the speakers, both in person and on Twitter. I would like to thank all the staff and volunteers that made Saturday possible and keep an eye on our website and social media for further details on coach development events this autumn.”


Over the next several weeks presentations from Saturday’s event will be uploaded onto HERE.


More Coach Development Offerings


Coaches may also like to consider signing up for the Bashir Hussain endurance running seminar on Friday 14 October HEREThe seminar will include details of how to develop an endurance training programme for club runners targeting 5k and 10k races.


The first Open Academy session of the year will also take place on Sunday 16 October 2016 at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown between 13.30 and 17.30. It will cover the basics of strength and conditioning for coaches including physical competency screening, mobility drills, dynamic warm up, remedial plyometrics and running drills.


Coach-Athlete pairs can sign up HERE