Monday, May 27, 2024

AFI to focus on improving the quality of coaching

As part of efforts to streamline coaching methodology and to prevent over-training and athlete burnouts, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) will introduce a licensing programme for coaches in the country.

It is mandatory for coaches to obtain the AFI’s coaching license to train athletes from the grassroots level. The AFI is aware of the shortage of coaches in the country and has plans to induct around 10,000 coaches into its programme in the next five years.

Chasing personal glory

“The reason for early burnouts is over-training. Coaches, for the sake of personal glory, put undue strain on young athletes who fade away after showing early promise. The AFI has realised the need to improve the quality of coaching.

“We will make it mandatory for them to obtain the AFI’s coaching license to train athletes from the grassroots level. Coaches at different levels have specific roles: grassroots level (pre-level-1) coach is required to teach basics and identify talent. Any layman can attend the pre-level 1 programme;

“The Level-1 coach will train youth (under-16), while Level-2 coaches will be training juniors (under-20) and elite coaches with Level-3 licenses will be training seniors. Those with Level-4 certificates will become coaches’ educators and chief coaches.

“Earlier anyone with an NIS diploma could train an elite athlete but now to obtain Level-3 license a coach will have to put in a minimum of 10 years,” said Dhronacharya and Chief National coach P. Radhakrishan Nair.

Killing young talent

The chief coach said early specialisation, combined with over-training at youth and junior levels, was killing young talent in the country. He also added that the menace of age manipulation and doping in junior categories was stifling the growth of sports in the country.

“An athlete should be first introduced to a multi-event and event specialisation should be done only between 18 and 21 years of age. But in India event specialisation is done very early. We are educating the coaches regarding this. We are determined to end age fraud. We have launched a whistle blower policy against age fraud and doping. We have also introduced biometric scanning at junior meets,” he said.

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