‘Rising Stars’ is Athletics NI’s development initiative for emerging athletes. It is underpinned by a structured training syllabus devised specifically to help young athletes develop a broad base of training skills. The development of these skills are the foundation of advanced training in Athletics and are important regardless of the Event Group (Speed, Endurance, Jumps or Throws) that an athlete eventually decides to specialise in.
Rising Stars is delivered weekly in 8 regions by coaches deployed and trained by Athletics NI. The programme is led by Tom Reynolds (Athlete Development lead) and Laura Kerr (Coach Development and Physical Preparation Lead). Rising Stars focuses on delivering a sound physical preparation programme and a multi-event approach to athletes aged 12-15 years old.
Weekly squads act as an example of best practice, in delivery of a multi event approach, for coaches and clubs whilst also providing an appropriate environment to nurture talented young athletes emerging from schools competition. Rising Stars addresses the building blocks of athleticism, which underpin training for any event or sport and recent successes of Rising Stars graduates in national and international Multi Event competitions has demonstrated that young athletes can achieve success whilst being engaged in a programme focused on long term athlete development.
The Rising Stars curriculum with progressions and coaching cues can be found in the Rising Stars resources section on NIFutures.com. Athletics NI encourage coaches to gain experience of the Rising Stars curriculum through our Apprentice Coach Programme. With the support of Athletics NI coaches the Rising Stars Multi Event Approach may also be adopted and rolled out in a club environment.
Why was the curriculum developed?
A key concern among Athletics Coaches, Strength and Conditioning Specialists and Physios working with elite performance athletes is the general lack of skill, strength, speed, mobility, balance and co-ordination exhibited by teenage athletes who potentially could become major championship medal winners. A lack of these qualities increases the risk of injury and limits an athlete’s senior potential. Research conducted by England Athletics, published in ‘Bridging the Gap’, shows that young athletes engaged in a multi-event programme are less likely to become injured or drop out in their later teens.
Which athletes will benefit most from the Rising Stars syllabus?
Rising Stars is great for all athletes because it addresses the fundamental building blocks of athleticism, which underpins training for any event or sport.
Have Rising Stars athletes been successful?
Rising Stars graduates have won Ulster & Irish Schools Championships, competed in European European Junior Championships and been nominated for the Senior Commonwealth Games. This demonstrates that young athletes can still achieve success whilst being engaged in a programme focused on long term athlete development.
Do you need to have participated in Athletics already before attending Rising Stars?
No, many of these young athletes are identified through school taster sessions and have limited previous exposure to Athletics.
Where are Rising Stars sessions held?
Thanks to the support of clubs, councils and keen coaches the programme is currently delivered in
Downpatrick /Lead Coach Michael Dyer - Michael@athleticsni.org
Newry /Lead Coach Michael Dyer - Michael@athleticsni.org
Belfast /Lead Coach Adam McMullen - Adam@athleticsni.org
Jordanstown /Lead Coach- Dean Adams - Dean@athleticsni.org
Coleraine-Lead Coach Mike Fountain- Mike@athleticsni.org
Antrim-Lead Coach Mike Fountain - Mike@athleticsni.org
Bangor-Lead Coach Eugene Moleon - Contact: Tom@athleticsni.org
Larne-Lead Coach Mark McManus - Contact: Tom@athleticsni.org
Can I attend Rising Stars and be a member of a club?
When first attending Rising Stars new athletes will also be signposted to join their local club in addition to attending one Rising Stars session per week across the three terms.
What does a typical Rising Stars session look like?
Each 90 minute Rising Stars session is prepared by the Athletics NI Coaching Department includes:
A dynamic warm up focused on movement competency
A running component with an acceleration, maximum velocity or hurdling focus
A push or pull throw progression
A long or high jump progression.
All event progressions and coaching cues used in Rising Stars programmes can be found at the Rising Stars resources section below. Rising Stars coaches progress athletes according to their competency levels often spending at least 6 weeks on each of the progressions shown in the resources. Athletics NI have also prepare resources for weekly delivery and will share term time programmes on a regular basis at nifutures.com/rising-stars
I’m a coach and want to learn more about Rising Stars and the multi-events approach to coaching. Can Athletics NI help me?
Athletics NI allow coaches gain experience of the Rising Stars curriculum through our Apprentice Coach programme. Each year there are places for 8-12 apprentice coaches to work on a regional programme, under the supervision of a mentor coach.
Can I start a Rising Stars squad at my Club?
Rising Stars can be used as an introductory programme for young athletes in a club environment. Coaches wishing to embed this multi event initiative within their own club should contact Coach Development Lead Laura Kerr.