Where do I begin?

Where do I begin?

In the Old NCCP coaches worked their way through different levels.  The perception with the old program was that the higher the level, the better the coach.  That is no longer the case.  The New NCCP program is focused on preparing coaches to be an expert in their specific context or coaching environment.  To determine where you should begin review the context descriptions below; the one that describes your coaching environment is the course you should begin with.

The Athletics Canada Coaching Education program is designed to prepare coaches to coach in specific contexts or settings.  Once a coach completes the formal program, they will have the opportunity to continue to enhance their expertise within their context by engaging in professional development opportunities.  Some coaches may choose to move with their athletes from context to context, while others will focus on one context, becoming an expert coach in that area.  It is important to note that no context is superior to another.  The development of a sustainable and successful athlete development continuum depends on competent, experienced and enthusiastic coaches in each context.  Athletics Canada values the contribution of coaches at every level of the sport. 

An outline of the contexts and all Athletics Canada courses can be found here.







  • Coaching season is short ranging from 1 day fun days, to day camp programs to once a week programs offered over a few months
  • Targeted at coaches/instructors who have little to no sport experience
  • Program is targeted at young participants ranging in age from 6 to 13
  • Introduction of fundamental movement skills with games to reinforce skills
  • No competition
  • Focus is on FUN


  • Coaching is seasonal 4 – 10 weeks a year    and/or 2-3 sessions a week
  • Introducing athletes to Athletics
  • Not just about participation; athletes will compete regionally and provincially
  • There is a continued focus on physical literacy
  • Athletes should be exposed to all event groups
  • Planning a Practice is a key skill


  • Coaching is seasonal 12 – 24 weeks a year and/or 3-5 sessions a week
  • Athletes have a foundation in Athletics or come from a multisport environment
  • The focus is on developing athletics skills in an event group area
  • Understanding combined events
  • Introduction to national level age group competition
  • Seasonal planning is a key skill

(Competition Development)

  • Coaching is year round 40 + weeks a year and 5-10 sessions a week
  • Athletes are competing at national level
  • Athletes are focused on one or two events within an event group
  • Introduction to international competition
  • Annual Planning and Periodization are key skills
  • Working with IST