Targetted support for promising coach/athlete pairs.

Athletics NI’s “Youth Academy” programme aims to nurture the development of promising young athletes as they negotiate their teenage years. It aims to assist selected athletes and their coaches by providing targeted support and mentoring as they progress along the path to success. The Youth Academy is a stepping stone towards international representation and sustained senior success.

The goals for the Youth Academy programme are to:

Ensure that athletes develop the required physical competences and fundamental movement skills to engage in senior performance training
Improve coaches’ understanding of physical preparation
Increase the retention of Northern Ireland’s best age group athletes into the Senior ranks
Increased representation on UK and Athletics Ireland U18, U20 and U23 teams
Develop young athletes with the aim of selection for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games team.
Support Youth Academy Coaches to progress on the coaching pathway by pursuing a full Athletics Coach Qualification (within 12 months of joining the programme) or advance their qualification and expertise further by completing an Event Group Qualification

Programme Features & Benefits

Athlete & Coach Views

What Athletes & Coaches have to say about Youth Academy


“I joined the Youth Academy programme in 2015. The Youth Academy sessions have helped me learn more about executing my drills, plyometrics and warm up correctly and the coaches helped my Dad (coach) to improve my event techniques.   Through Youth Academy I was also introduced to strength training in the gym this year which has helped me to progress.  I have learned technique for front squats, pull ups, step ups etc.  All of this helped me prepare for the European Youth Championships in Georgia this year were I was very happy to come 7th with 5559 points in my 2nd ever heptathlon.”


Kate O'Connor

European Youth Championships 2016-Heptathlon


“I have improved my UK ranking this year in the 110m Hurdles from 42nd to 5th and  feel the support I have received through the Youth Academy has helped me to  improve my athleticism and level of physical preparation.  The movement screening  at the beginning of the year helped me to identify my strengths & weakness and set  clear goals with my coach for my training programme.”

Ben Fisher

Youth Commonwealth Games Medallist

My son James (T20) has really benefited from the coaching he has received  from Youth Academy. The assessment of his running style and subsequent exercises tailored to improving his strength in certain areas has been very beneficial and resulted in improving his running times and ability to train with faster athletes. This improved consistency in James’ running resulted in selection for the GB team to the IPC European Athletics Championships in 2016 (1500m.)

Peter & Angela Hamilton


My son Garbhan qualified for the 110H m at the European Junior Championship in 2015. The lifestyle and injury prevention support he received through the Youth Academy has been invaluable in preparing him for his first international competition. Marian Mckenna


Becoming a Student Athlete

On Tuesday 3 November 2015, Youth Academy athletes, their parents and coaches were invited to an evening to provide guidance on becoming a student athlete. The slides from the evening planned by Laura Kerr & Tom Reynolds can be found below DOWNLOAD "Becoming a...

Physical Competency Screening

Introduction In 2014/2015 Athletics Northern Ireland began trialling physical competence screenings with Youth Academy Athletes. Following the success of the trial these physical competency screenings are now a standard option available to all athletes selected for...

Frequently Asked Questions

How are athletes selected for Youth Academy?

To be selected for Youth Academy athletes must meet the required selection standards.

These standards are available HERE.