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Athletics Pathways Development Officer – New Club Role

To introduce you all to our new Athletics Pathways Development Officer Jim has put together some questions and answers that will hopefully answer any questions you may have.

Pathways Development Officer – Jim Goldie


What is your background in athletics?

I started athletics at school, Marr College, when I was 15 years old. I found success at school and in the junior age groups. I transitioned through the age groups and into senior athletics, where I represented Kilmarnock Harriers at open, district and national competitions. I have competed in every athletics event, excluding walks.

My chosen discipline was endurance, which included road, cross-country and track events.

After retiring from competitions, I worked on my coaching. I volunteered for Kilmarnock Harriers and help develop the junior section. When I started the process, there were a maximum of seven junior athletes at sessions, over a period of five years, this increased to over 100 athletes. This development was done in partnership with many new coaches who had been recruited and developed within the club.

I have worked for South Lanarkshire Leisure and scottishathletics in their development teams. In my most recent role I was lead officer in Scotland for coach qualifications and welfare.


What coaching qualifications do you have?

I am a UKA Event Group Coach Endurance, but also have a UKA Level 2 in Speed and Throws as well as a UKA Children in Athletics award.

I am also a coach educator for scottishathletics and UKA. I deliver many courses across the country each year.


What is your philosophy in coaching?

Hard to pinpoint this, but I believe that as a coach, we are there to ensure the athletes become the best they can be. This does not mean we are there to create champions at every level, we are there to assist them in reaching their personal potential.

A coach is there to assist and develop the athletes at an appropriate pace. We need to ensure that we take onboard current research and look at giving athletes a broad range of experiences in athletics, then once they have developed, signpost them in to a suitable event group and then event. Following the UKA Athlete Development Model.

Age and stage appropriate training for all athletes in the club.

Fundamentals – Foundation – Event Group – Event Specialisation


What do you believe makes a good coach?

Good coaches never stop learning, they are always looking for SMARTER ways to enable their athletes to develop, be the best they can be.
Good coaches regularly attend CPD to ensure they are able to network and learn from others.

Fundamentally a good coach is organised, prepared and able to communicate with people. These abilities will enable the coach to deliver quality experiences to the athletes in their charge. These skills are taught on all qualifications, but need to be developed and practiced in the club setting on club nights.

Good coaches are never afraid to seek advise or clarification.

Frank Dick, former UK Head Coach says “The one advantage a coach has over others, is to learn quicker than their peers” and “Stupidity is doing the same thing year after year and expecting a different result”


What do you see as your role in the club?

I am a firm believer that as a coach, I need to continue to learn and with that in mind, I will be encouraging others to explore their own development and assist them to be the best they can be. The club have a number of excellent coaches, I will need to look at options to enhance their knowledge and allow them to fully develop their understanding of athletics.

I see myself as someone that the coaches can approach and seek guidance or representation at the executive committee. The committee do a fantastic job and I know that they will support any requests for assistance from coaches, be that financial or time etc. I can be that contact for coaches at the committee level. So long as we can justify why a coach needs assistance, I am positive the committee will assist, if they can.

Coach development is so much more than the badge, qualification. The qualifications give people the skills to be coaches. Only then can we develop the knowledge of athletics training. This means Continual Professional Development (CPD) for each coach. The CPD will give coaches the “what to” knowledge, what exercises assist an athlete perform, what movement patterns need to be developed and how to plan a progressive plan to enable the athlete to be the best they can at championship events.

CPD can and will take many forms, from support and mentoring through to workshop and courses for the coaches. My role will be to host the courses at Kilmarnock and at a time that suit our volunteers. This should mean we can hold and support various workshops delivered by scottishathletics, sportscotland and East Ayrshire Leisure etc.

Coach recruitment and deployment is a massive area for any club, how do we recruit, retain, and reward our coaches. Linked to this is a club structure that allows our members and volunteers to develop in the sport. I will be looking at what is in place at the moment and identify gaps in provision, from there the club can develop a plan to address any gaps.

There will be a number of other roles that I will undertake in supporting the club and volunteers, but these are the main areas of focus and I believe if we can work together to develop a learning culture, we can achieve anything.


What are the challenges?

To ensure we provide the best coaching for our athletes the progress through the athletics pathway and allow all coaches to have a say in the coaching development of the club.

To provide a sharing environment where coaches can openly share experiences and develop further.

Building capacity is always a challenge but I am confident from my initial interactions at the club that we can build on the many willing volunteers we currently have to allow the club to grow even further and if anyone would like to help please come and see me.

Linked to capacity building within the club is the availability of courses to train the volunteers, but again, my background in athletics should help with this. The AAA is a fantastic venue and hosts all qualifications, we need to forward plan to ensure that our coaches are aware of these and have the option of being the first to be booked onto these planned courses.

Every club in the country has the same issues with capacity. At present the cub operate a waiting list, I would like to think at the end of year two, this will be considerably reduced or completely away. Now that is going to be the biggest challenge.