The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has decided to conduct an advanced online education programme for the IAAF-certified Level 2 coaches in the country to utilise the free time amid the nation-wide COIVID-19 lockdown.
As many as 93 out of the 130 Level 2 coaches have registered for the interactive programme which will offer a mix of general sport and scientific knowledge as well as event-specific aspects of coaching. "The nation-wide lockdown to avert the spread of COVID-19 has left these coaches free and we wanted to not only keep them engaged but also share new developments in coaching," AFI president, Adille Sumariwalla said.
"We believe that this lot of mostly young coaches will help India improve its standing in the world of track and field sport," he added. Two-time Asian Games medal winning heptathlete Soma Biswas, middle and long-distance runner Surender Singh, javelin thrower Kashinath Naik, high jumper Nallusami Annavi and triple jumper Mohammed Nizamuddin are among the former athletes, who will be taking part in the education programme.
The programme will be conducted by deputy chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair and High Performance Director Volker Herrmann, and will also have overseas coaches like Galina Bukharina and Dr Klaus Bartonieetz who will be sharing their insights. "One of the major features of the coach-development programme is the nurturing of an aligned, highly-educated coaching fraternity," Sumariwalla said.
"Each coach will be equipped to develop a strong individual coaching philosophy, which will help them to successfully enhance the performance level of their athletes," he added. Sumariwalla is hopeful the young coaches who competed in events not so long ago will understand the needs of the current generation of athletes.
"The majority of coaches are very young, under 40 years of age. Their experience as athletes is still very fresh. For the first time, they are aligned to the country's athletics needs. It would be easier for them to let their trainees progress to National camps. At the same time, senior coaches at the National camp will also have enormous respect for the other coaches who have developed athletes to be in the assembly line as international performers," he added.
Nair, who is also a World Athletics lecturer said the idea behind the programme is to utilise the expertise of the best educated coaches for the Indian athletes. "In our eyes, the 130 Level 2 coaches are the most qualified in India, aligned to new training methods, new scientific aspects.You will have them serve for a good part of 35 to 40 years. The impact they can have over a long term can be significant," he said. "AFI has been very proactive in conducting Level 1 and Level 2 courses for our coaches," he added.