Coaching and athlete development

Athlete development

The aim of all coaching and support activity is that athletes are able to achieve their maximum potential and personal goals. Some club members will want to train simply for personal satisfaction and fitness, whilst others will wish to participate in competition at their chosen level. This must be their personal choice. The club's membership consists of a wide range of ages, from eight upwards (depending on membership rules/restrictions in force at the time). Different types of coaching are required to satisfy the specific needs of the various age ranges and to ensure that the process is one of Long Term Athletic Development (LTAD) rather than short term performance gain.

Participation in athletics should develop according to age:

1. At all age groups the club adheres to the recommendations associated with the principles associated with LTAD.

2. Athletics and coaching for the age range 8 to 10 should be almost entirely fun activity based, using games and skill development, in order to create a good general athletic base for future development.

3. In the age range 11 to 12 (the under 13s) activity should be multi-skill based, without specialisation, focused on “Learning to train” principles, and above all, fast and fun, but introducing competitive activity through league teams and local/regional championships.

4. In the age range 13 to 14 (the under 15s) athletes will be able to focus on their main skills, and the appropriate event group(s), whilst being encouraged to maintain activity in other skill/event groups, with due attention to long term development needs.

5. At 15 to 16 (the under 17s) athletes will generally already have selected a single event or event group on which they wish to focus, but will still be actively encouraged to participate in other events, with due attention to long term development needs.

6. At age 17 and above (i.e. under 20s and Seniors) athletes will have finally decided on the events on which they wish to focus, and the level to which they wish to pursue those events. A continual process of talent identification will enable each athlete to find their most appropriate level of participation, whilst allowing for their performance development; and providing a sorting process, to identify potential national/international standard performers. Targets set by coaches must be consistent with:

• the personal wishes/goals of the athlete and

• the family or external demands on athletes.

The athlete or their guardians must always be consulted and agree to any final decisions.

The pathway

Very young athletes, aged 8 to 10 require a special programme of FUN activities and games-related events to help develop the core skills necessary for athletic development. This age-group is unlikely to compete in the mainstream athletic events but may be able to take part occasionally in a limited range of non-scoring events in some leagues. Their training should be separate from mainstream club activities and the ability of the club to provide such activity will depend on availability of coaching resources and suitable facilities.

Athletes aged 10 to 12 require a programme of skill development in a wide range of events, based on the LTAD concept, whilst focusing on the core skills of running, jumping and throwing and the general athletic ABCs (Agility, Balance, Co-ordination and Speed) and basic conditioning.

Athletes aged 13 to 15 are generally interested in a specific event group (eg. sprints or throws) and their physical attributes may clearly indicate a particular direction. These athletes will be permitted to select their preferred event group and to receive more in-depth coaching in that event group, with the proviso that, on a pre-planned basis, they may choose to train in more than one event group or with more than one coach. (e.g. two training sessions per week on sprints and one on throws). In technical events such as throws and jumps, the athletes in this age range will be encouraged to do more than one event in their training and competition. Ideally at this age the athletes should be part of a general group training plan rather than having individual training plans, although some high potential athletes may be given specific training plans targeted at major age-group championships.

Athletes aged 16 and over will naturally tend to specialise in their preferred event(s), although some may wish to train for multi-event competition. Athletes working on a preferred event/event group may take part in the general group training session with younger colleagues, and also have more specific training sessions which are planned to their individual development requirements and competition performance targets by an individual coach or the event coaching team.

Multi-event athletes may work with various specialist event coaches to develop their skills and technique, but will generally have one focus coach who monitors and plans their overall training. The detail and intensity of the training will be dependant on agreed targets and objectives, and will vary from the fun club athlete, to potential international performers.


Younger athletes aged 10 to 12.

Monday evenings training.

For Summer training the athletes are divided by the Young Athlete administration team into three main groups and they remain in those groups throughout the season. Each coaching group has 3 to 4 qualified coaches plus helpers available, at least one of whom is level 2 or above. The activities within each group are planned within that team, based broadly on the principles of LTAD.

Activities are rotated so that each athlete group undertakes training in running, jumping and throwing over a three week period. This cycle is repeated, and once per month includes a session where the athletes can choose their event or a trials session. The summer evening session lasts for one hour, followed by a mass warm-down session with Level 1 coaches.

Athletes who are identified as having high potential in a specific event, and who would therefore benefit from, and be able to cope with, some event specific training, may be invited to additional training sessions on Tuesday or Thursday by consensus agreement of the group coaches, but would normally be expected to continue to attend the Monday group session.

Winter sessions focus on general fitness and agility, including some sports-hall athletics events. Sessions are one hour long for all athletes except those in school year 7 who wish to participate in cross-country running during the winter. A session for cross-country runners in years 7 to 9 will be available. No children of primary school age are permitted to join the cross-country group for training, though they can take part in appropriate cross-country events.

13 to 15 year age-group

(Some focus on preferred event group)

These athletes either progress up from the 10 to 12 age-group annually, or join the club during the season. The athletes are permitted to select their preferred event/event group, and are allocated to a coach or group of coaches accordingly. There is an emphasis on team coaching to enable athletes to receive a range of inputs and to encourage club coaches, with these age groups, to continue to apply the principles of LTAD. Normally there are at least two qualified coaches available for each event group, at least one of whom is Level 2 or above.The coaching sessions for the event group will be planned up to eight weeks in advance by a nominated coach, and agreed with event group colleagues.The focus of the coaching is development of the specific technical skills required for the event/event group together with core stability and fitness, and some general skills.

Athletes are permitted to try different events on a weekly basis if they wish, or to alternate training between event groups on a basis agreed with the coaches. Athletes who are identified as having high potential, and who would therefore benefit from, and be able to cope with, more advanced or intense training, may be invited to additional training sessions on Tuesday and Thursday by consensus agreement of the group coaches.

Winter training for 13 to 15 year old athletes also focuses on fitness and agility. Sessions are one hour long. Athletes, in this age group, who wish to run cross-country train along with year 7 cross-country runners.

Age 16 to veteran age-groups

(Event focused training)

Athletes have the option to train on specific events with their selected coach or to participate in recreational fitness training activities such as group road runs.The coaches arrange their own session time using either the core times booked by C&C (on Tuesday and Thursday evenings plus Saturdays in winter), or any other suitable times by purchase of a concessionary track use card.

Event coaches identify the potential of athletes and create training programmes which are appropriate to develop their performance. Athletes who have exceptional talent will be encouraged to participate in County, Regional and National squad training activities in order to enable them to develop to their full potential.

Recreational running for fitness

Up to age 15, athletes would be expected to join in with the activities appropriate to their age-range. At age 16 and above, athletes wishing to train for recreational fitness have the option to:

• Attach themselves to a group, by agreement with the coach, to participate in whatever is the planned activity, to the best of their ability. (This may be track and field or road and cross-country running).

• To make use of the changing facilities and plan their own activities (e.g. using the jogging trail).

Any recreational athlete wishing to use the track, or the field event facilities, during a C&C booked session, should do so only in conjunction with one of the coaching groups active on that evening in order to minimise accident risks.

Search our site

Related sites

RUN Cambs logo

Run Cambridge

Cambridge festival of running logo

facebook-logoLike us on Facebook


Go to Links for other useful websites


  • European Under 18 3000m champion +

    Thomas Keen has become the 2018 European 3000m under 18 Champion. Congratulations to him and his coaches.

  • YA club challenge +

    Results of the Young athletes challenge 24th June 2018 click here

  • English Schools 2017 +

    Congratulations to our English Schools medallists. Thomas Keen (U17M 3000m), Julia Paternain (U20W 3000m) and Adelaide Omitowoju (U17W Triplejump) all took gold, and Stephanie Browne took silver in U15Girls Hammer. Unlucky Jordan Wood was 4th in the U20Mens steeplechase.

    C&C had 16 competitors in the Cambridgeshire team and one in the Bedfordshire team.

  • Cardiac screening +

    Unexpected cardiac problems have the potential to affect all athletes.  Screening is now available.  For details follow this link.

  • 1

Web Author Login

To join or renew go to the membership pages above. This log in is for website authors only.


Map for directions to track

Use our interactive map for directions to the track and sports centre, click here.

For sports centre parking - click here. Car parks 6 and 7 require a parking pass,

Car park 8 is now open from 4pm daily and all weekends.

Important Notices

Note: The last indoor Young athletes session will be Monday 11th February, then a week off for half-term and then starting again outdoors on Monday 25th February. Unless you have been told otherwise, all U13s and U15s should arrive for the 6:30pm session.

The 2018 AGM was held on Tuesday 27th November and the draft minutes are here including the chair's report - Please read if you weren't able to attend. The accounts to end March 2018 were presented and the decision to keep subs unchanged for 2019 was explained.

If you subscribe to anti-spam protection, please ensure that it doesn't block e-mails from club administrators, info, or membership, or club team managers, or you may miss important C&C information.

The track and field results and latest ranking lists are on the T&F results page and are updated weekly when possible.


Latest newsletter February 2019 - Click here