15th October 2021


With one eye on the future, some of the country’s most successful track and field athletes took part in this week’s Athlete to Coach course at Loughborough University.

Seven-time Paralympic Champion Hannah Cockroft, multiple global 400m and 4x400m medallist Martyn Rooney, World Indoor gold medallist Richard Kilty, Olympic 4x100m bronze medallist Asha Philip, and 2017 World 4x100m gold medallist Danny Talbot were among those to enrol on the week-long programme.

Designed to support athletes with the transition into the coaching environment, experienced tutors delivered both classroom-based and practical sessions designed to give those taking part the support required to take the first steps into coaching.

Cockroft has just returned from defending her Paralympic titles in Tokyo and  she is motivated to develop the next generation of talent in the sport.

The Leeds AC athlete said: “I enrolled on to the course because I wanted to find out more about being a coach. I think it will be a future progression for me once I’ve finished athletics. I feel like I’ve had so much wisdom and knowledge imparted on me, it would be such a shame to take it away from the sport and take it to the grave with me.

“I want to eventually pass it on to other athletes, and this course seemed like the perfect way to start to think about that and how I can get involved with being a coach.”

For Talbot, it took a long-term injury to realise how fundamental it is to have an avenue to pursue once the time comes to hang up his spikes. Talbot ran the third leg in GB & NI’s triumphant 4x100m at the 2017 World Athletics Championships and ankle and achilles injuries have limited his time on the track since. However, the experience has been a positive eye opener for the 30 year-old.

Speaking of his injury, Talbot said: “It (the injury) really opened my eyes to the real world and with it coinciding with COVID, it gave me a lot of perspective – sport is incredible, but your career is short. Coaching is a good opportunity for me to use the skills I’ve learnt as a professional athlete, but marry that with a passion to help people.

“I think it helps massively (enrolling on the Athlete to Coach course). This course has really opened my eyes to how to deliver what I’ve learnt in terms of communication and analysis to all ages not just a professional athlete. The skills we’ve developed to be a teacher and to guiding people through that process has been the biggest thing that has helped me this week.”

Mark Munro, UK Athletics Director of Development added “The Athlete to Coach programme is one of several programmes being developed to support more individuals with a previous level of experience in athletics into coaching (other include educationalists etc). This is very much the first step for many and hopefully, insightful for those taking part in Loughborough.

“Moving forwards and within the new UK-wide coaching strategy, amongst other key areas, we want to support the transition of athletes into coaching as much as possible.  We want all athletes to think that this is something they can do, it is an option for them, and potentially a career option in the future as well. We also need to ask them the questions as governing bodies, ‘Is this something you have thought about, do you want help, what can we do to support…’. We are very fortunate that we have such passionate individuals with a wealth of experience as athletes. Hopefully this week has very much been an early stepping stone to provide a better understanding of coaching as they all look towards the future.”

To find out more about the Athlete to Coach programme, click here.