Youth Academy & Speed-Power Academy


Academy 2021-2022 Applications Now Open

Athletics Northern Ireland have re-opened the Youth Academy & Speed-Power Academy for application. The academies support the progression of talented 14-21 year old athletes.

The Athletics Northern Ireland Youth Academy was first launched in September 2014, by Laura Kerr and Tom Reynolds, to support Northern Ireland’s most talented young athletes and their coaches, with the addition of the Speed-Power Academy in 2018, athletes and coaches from across Ulster are now supported through the programmes.

We believe physical & technical preparation and a performance mindset are critical for athlete development and we must create a challenging, supportive, open and professional environment where athletes and coaches can fulfil their potential.

Athletics Northern Ireland Academies aim to identify and develop talented junior athletes and raise their potential for senior success. We are focused on improving physical qualities, sporting knowledge, psychological skills and performance behaviours in young athletes whilst educating parents and coaches on what it takes to perform consistently on the international stage as seniors. In doing so we believe Northern Ireland will develop a pipeline of junior athletes who will become successful seniors representing Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games and Great Britain or Ireland at major championships.

Since establishing the Youth Academy in 2014 supported Athletes have achieved Commonwealth Youth Games Medals, European Junior Medals, World Para Medals & made breakthroughs to compete at European Team Championships, Senior Commonwealth Games, European and World Indoors. 24 Northern Ireland U20 & U18 Records were broken between 2015-2021.



From today athletes aged under 22 years old will be eligible to apply to either:

  • Youth Academy (for NI Eligible Athletes aged between 15-21 years old).
  • Youth Academy Hub (for NI Eligible Athletes aged between 15-21 years old who are specifically pursuing the British Pathway).
  • Speed Power Academy (NI and Ulster Eligible Athletes aged 14-18 years old).

The Athletics Northern Ireland Youth Academy has proven popular and successful and now has bases at Jordanstown and Coleraine delivering weekly physical preparation and athlete education sessions. A core group within the Youth Academy was established in 2019, made possible by an investment from British Athletics. Their continued investment will allow enhanced planning and monitoring support for 3-6 high performing Youth Academy Hub Athletes who are eligible and pursuing future selection for Great Britain & NI. The Speed Power Academy is based only at Jordanstown. Weekly academy sessions delivering speed development and strength & conditioning will run for a minimum of 30 weeks this year with some closures for Christmas and Easter and during the Commonwealth Games. Academy support services are shown below.



The academies aim to support athletes and coaches who have identified their own strengths, weaknesses and areas for progress over the next 3-5 years and who will benefit most from engaging with the physical preparation, physiotherapy and performance lifestyle support available. Selection will prioritise athletes who demonstrate the potential and ability to eventually represent Northern Ireland at a Senior Commonwealth Games.

Athletes will be assessed for inclusion based upon their performance standards and performance potential. The Youth Academy is designed to deliver a 3-4-year curriculum and the Speed Power Academy delivers a 2 year curriculum. All athletes must reapply each year. Limited Academy capacity means athletes across all events must be compared. The following factors will be taken into consideration.

Performance Factors

  • Track and Field performances (which should be accurately reported in the Excel application form) will be assessed by comparison to European Athletics Minimum Championship Standards for European U18, U20 and U23 Championships. Consideration for road, cross country and mountain running performances will be made.
  • Performance levels will also be compared to Power of 10 Rankings and Power of 10 Top 10 Targets. These Power of 10 targets will be especially useful in considering U16 athletes who cannot be compared to European Athletics U18 standards.

Potential Factors

Potential for senior success will be considered. Coaching partnership, commitment to the sport, maturation, peaking age for the event and demonstration of ability and mindset to access support available will all be considered. The selection panel will discuss:

  • Coaching relationship and training environment
  • Training history
  • Training gaps
  • Motivation
  • Commitment to athletics and balance with other sports
  • Coach engagement
  • Injury history
  • Availability and mindset to engage with the programme for maximum impact


Interested Athlete -Coach pairs should meet to complete the excel application form which is available below and return it by email to by 11am on 20th September 2021. The form must be returned electronically and completed using the Excel document provided. No paper copies will be accepted.

Please complete all sections of the Excel form. We recommend that athletes and coaches discuss the completion of this form and parents of U18 athletes are closely involved in the application process.

If you have any questions please contact before Friday 17th September.

Application Pack

Application Form