TWO Corstorphine AAC members have completed their journey to become qualified coaches – increasing the club’s ability to offer more sessions for our athletes.

Mike Harrison and Amanda Maclean secured their accreditation as Athletics Coach (formerly Level 2 coach) following online and practical assessments.

The pair, who were both Coaching Assistants, can now run training sessions on their own and will help ensure a smoother transition for athletes moving up into specialist events.

Amanda, a personal trainer whose children are keen athletics participants, started volunteering at CAAC around 18 months ago.

She says: “I completed the Coaching Assistant qualification last year and was always keen to progress on to this. I am used to teaching exercises but felt I was letting the athletes down by not knowing much of the technical points of running, jumping or throwing. I wanted to change this, so I had more to offer the athletes.”

The qualification involves a two-day training course setting out the basics of learning and fundamentals of movement. Candidates then choose an elective in which to specialise – such as speed, endurance, throws or jumps – before a third day of virtual learning and an online test.

They are also given eight weeks to select and assess an athlete, identifying and suggesting areas for improvements in performance through a training block known as a mesocycle. The session plans and understanding of the cycle are put under the microscope in a practical assessment.

Mike, an Edinburgh-based landscape architect who coaches CAAC’s Junior squad, was delighted to pass the course. He says: “The best thing was getting an understanding of how session plans are created. I enjoyed the confidence it gave me in observing athletes and being able to identify areas for improvement. It put everything into perspective and it is now clear how all the steps follow on from one another.

“I have held the Coaching Assistant accreditation since 2020, so this is the next step up and allows me to run sessions with a squad on my own. It also allows the club to have more sessions and more flexibility.

“Both Amanda and I had great help and encouragement from the club, including all the coaches who recently qualified and those that are far more experienced. This was invaluable for us to have the confidence going into the final practical assessment day.

“There is still much to learn from the athletes and from the more experienced coaches at the club like Chris (Peggie), Lewis (Innes) and David (Arnott). I’m looking forward to creating session plans and coaching cycles to witness the improvement in the athletes we coach. Seeing them compete regularly and to improve their times every time they step on to the track or into the field will be the best reward. It was great to be able to pass alongside Amanda as well, as we can now work together to develop coaching sessions focusing on speed and sprints. I would like to develop more skills in hurdle coaching as I really enjoy the technical side of the event.

“CAAC have agreed a new coaching structure on the back of our qualification with a more tiered progression for our athletes from the fundamentals to event specialists through an intermediate level. This is an exciting time for our athletes and coaches to put our knowledge to the test and ensure that our athletes keep having fun and build their own confidence when they train every week, and to take this confidence into the summer competitions.”

Amanda adds: “The best part of the process was working with the athlete, deciding on goals together and monitoring their improvements. My aim now is to continue to learn and progress my technical knowledge, so that I can further support the athletes.”

For those contemplating following the same path, both Amanda and Mike insist it is worth the effort.

Amanda says: “The process is very informative and all of the other coaches at CAAC offered me so much support and guidance during the process. If anyone is considering progressing from the Coaching Assistant qualification on to the Athletics Coach, I would definitely say go for it.”

Mike adds: “I started as a parent helper back in 2018 and have really enjoyed the progression through the levels. Each time it has improved my knowledge and confidence. It is a serious undertaking, and does require effort and time to succeed, but you will get loads of encouragement and support from the club. It is super rewarding to have achieved it and I am looking forward to the next stages of my coaching journey with CAAC.”

CAAC Club Together Officer, Harry Baird, adds: “The journey Amanda and Mike have been on shows what is possible for any parent with limited athletics knowledge. Both were understandably nervous about starting their journey, but it is clear how the support from their peers have helped them along the way.”

For those wishing to get involved, Harry would be delighted to have a  chat to explain the various stages. He can be contacted on

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