What is Athletics 365?
Athletics 365 is a multi-event, development programme, which introduces young people to the fundamental skills of athletics (vital to every sport). It is aimed predominantly at 8-15 year olds, but the resources can easily be adapted for use with younger athletes.
Athletics 365 focuses not only on how fast someone runs or how far someone jumps or throws but also, more importantly, on developing the technical skills (‘how’ to run, jump and throw) required to perform at full potential and move like a champion. In addition to technical skills, Athletics 365 also looks at an athlete’s physical, mental and emotional development, as well as their lifestyle and social development.
The programme is broken down into 9 progressive stages. Each stage provides athletes with new and progressively more difficult challenges appropriate to their stage of development. Athletics 365 encourages athletes to learn all the skills and events of athletics, and reinforces the importance of a good all round skill base.
The stages can be seen as similar to progression in other sports, such as the martial arts ‘belt system.’ Through Athletics 365, England Athletics believe young people will develop the skills and confidence to excel in life; not only in athletics, but in other sports and other life pursuits.
Why does the young person have to do running, jumping and throwing to complete Athletics 365, especially where they may only want to participate in one of these event groups?
Some of Britain’s most successful athletes started by running, jumping and throwing, such as Jessica Ennis, Christine Ohuruogu and Steve Backley. England Athletics believe that through Athletics 365, athletes will have a greater choice of events and sports in which to participate and succeed, both now and later on in life. Developing a better conditioned athlete will increase the athlete’s performance and minimise the likelihood of injury.
The athlete will still be encouraged to participate and compete in those events they enjoy the most, at the same time as allowing them to experience new and exciting challenges and events.
If coaches specialise athlete’s training too early, there is a greater chance the athlete can develop repetition related injuries. This is particularly an issue while athletes are growing, such as when they are going through puberty, as this may affect their physical development.
The short film below provides coaches, athletes and parents with an introduction to Athletics 365, how it works and some examples of the programme in action. Toni Minichiello (coach to Jessica Ennis) and Peter Stanley (National Coach Mentor and former coach to Jonathan Edwards) also share their thoughts on the programme.