The ITU is committed to supporting the development of Triathlon worldwide, and actively pursues this approach in several development initiatives. Many of these initiatives form the foundations upon which National Federations, particularly developing and emerging federations, can build an athlete development pipeline – a key element of any long-term strategy. Without such a pipeline, there will not be a growth in participation to develop the wider sport, and significantly less chance of developing high performing athletes.
Triathlon coaches play a central role in this development at every level around the world. In addition to their core coaching role, it is this dedicated workforce that influences individual personal development and welfare by delivering the key messages about ethics, beliefs, fair play, and values, through quality coach-athlete relationships. Coaching is a powerful catalyst for change within societies and economies around the world; contributing positively to social agendas by promoting health and generating economic activity through employment, education, purchase of equipment, use of facilities and attendance at events.
Triathlon coaches continue to work tirelessly with increasingly diverse populations and face greater demands from athletes, parents, guardians, administrators and spectators alike. They are required to fulfil a variety of roles that include mentor, educator, technical advisor, psychologist and business manager. With this growing remit and increasing expectations, it is critical that a clear and comprehensive approach to developing coaches who can operate successfully in this context is a key building block to ensure the future development of Triathlon.
International Triathlon Union (ITU) Coach Education Program has several key objectives:
- To grow and develop the sport globally by making high quality coach education accessible to all National Federations (NFs), regardless of their developmental status (developing through to established);
- Providing a quality assured framework for coach education and development that underpins coach development initiatives;
- Providing coaches with a coach development pathway for all roles from high performance to grassroots coaching, which gives them the ability to develop their competence and effectiveness by international standards, regardless of their professional status (voluntary or paid);
- To provide a mechanism by which coaches from all NFs can progress along the coaching pathway, should they so desire.
In a global environment, the approach to coaching cannot align itself with a one-size fits all approach. What works for certain coaches in one environment may not work for others. Equally the existing knowledge, learning and experience of individual coaches will differ and as they develop; different types of development will be of greater or lesser value. Therefore, a blended and flexible approach to learning and development has been adopted.
Limited resources for the ITU, Continental Confederations and NFs means that careful consideration and coordination is required to deliver these development activities. Utilising a collaborative and knowledge sharing approach the ITU is in a strong position to be able to build strong relationships with a wide range of partners, including NFs and external organisations (e.g. International Council for Coaching Excellence) to offer a comprehensive fit for purpose solution.
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