Rising Stars is a weekly athlete development initiative delivered by Athletics NI across 8 regions.  The initiative focuses on delivering a sound physical preparation programme and a multi event approach to athletes aged 12-15 years old.  Many of these young athletes are identified through school taster sessions and have limited previous exposure to athletics.  Athletics NI work with local clubs to provide coach development opportunities within the Rising Stars programmes and to signpost these new athletes into clubs.

Rising Stars Athlete Development Squad & Apprentice Coach Programme

Ulster University-Rising Stars Athlete Development Squad & Apprentice Coach Programme

Event progressions and coaching cues used in the Rising Stars beginners programme (Week 7-10) are outlined below.  Rising Stars coaches progress athletes according to their competency levels often spending at least 6 weeks on each of the progressions shown in the resources (which are available for download free of charge.)  Each 90 minute Rising Stars session includes…….a dynamic warm up focused on movement competency, a running component with an acceleration, maximum velocity or hurdling focus, a push or pull throw progression and a long or high jump progression.

Beginners Week 7-10
Warm-Up (In lanes over 20m) 15min

Easy Skip

Walking Knee to Chest Squeeze

Easy Skip

Split Lunge (Arms Up)

Lateral Skip

Squats (Arms across chest)

A Stick…opposite arm and leg

Hip Hinges (Hamstrings)

A Skip

Reverse lunge to high knee

Calf Smashers

Over Ankle-Calf-Knee Dribbles

X3 runs blended over 30m


Opposite arm/opposite leg/knee up toe up

Stable stance leg/chest up

Opposite arm/opposite leg/knee up toe up

Upright torso/back knee towards the floor

Hips aligned/feet don’t tap together

Heels down/sit back

Stable stance leg/knee up toe up/opposite arm and leg

Unlock the knees slightly/push the hips back/flat back

Knee up toe up/hips level/stay on balance

Keep the torso upright/step over the opposite knee

Knees up/heel under hip/smash the calves into the hamstrings

Dorsiflexed ankles/contact on ball of foot/cyclical leg action

Jumping & Landing -10min

Pogos in place 2×8 sec

Continuous Line Jump & Stick 2×6

Alternate Hop & Stick 2×8 each leg



-Ball of foot contacts/stiff legs/jumping from the ankle

-Start from squat position with hands back/hips back, fully extend to jump forward across 1 lane line/ land and absorb forces in squat position before immediately transitioning to next take off

-hopping from one leg to the other stick landing keeping knee aligned above toe and hips level maintaining balance

Accelerations 10-20m  -15min

Split kneeling Start x2 e/s

Wall drills fast singles 3×8 each

3 point starts-preferred leg x4 over 20m

See Acceleration resource card

-Weight over front leg/shin angles/push off front leg/no false step

-on command

-Starting foot 1.5 foot steps from line/hand bridged/hips above shoulders

LJ   -20min

20m Long jump take offs

LJ take offs to pit-1-2-3 take off over

Weeks 9&10 comp prep

-Establish and make note of 6 stride run up (pigeon steps)

-6 stride jumps into pit

See Long Jump  resource card

-establish preferred leg & heel toe contact1-2-3 take off-1-2-3 take off

-20m-cue sight the board and final take off to land in pit

-Start on the foot  that is to be used for take off.   After 2 acceleration  strides athletes should assume a tall position,relaxed and smooth. Not running 100% yet

Hurdles Matrix   20min

  • 3 point start over 3 x 12 inch hurdles-2 left lead/2 right lead
  • 20″ Hurdle Walk-Overs x3-Trail Leg Focus
  • easy runs over 20 inch 4 x preferred leg lead
  • Weeks 9&10 comp spacings prep-1 ft in for training
See Hurdles resource card

-Lead Leg Focus/Rhythm focus/3 strides between, running over 3 hurdles



Prep for age appropriate comp spacings

2ft 3 light hurdles

  • Year 8- 70m Hurdles spacing (11m to first H and 7m between)      Pink
  • Year- 9/10 -75m hurdles spacing (11.5m to first H and 7.5m between)   Brown/Orange marks
Throws  -10min

-medicine ball partner squat-push  throw 2×10  2kg   (See Shotpush throw resource card)

-side on weight transfer throws 2×8 each –  staggered feet, chest side on, chest push (set feet as per shot and elbows up-weight transfer back to front leg)