10 March 2022 | Story Jóhann Thormählen | Photo Supplied
Long jump
The University of the Free State (UFS) is leading the charge when it comes to the training of athletics coaches in South Africa. The first certified online course presented by the UFS is one for long jump coaches.

The University of the Free State (UFS) is renowned for producing top athletes, but now also provides training to athletics coaches from all over the country and beyond.

In a first for South Africa, coaches can now learn from the best, stay up to date with the latest research, and get certified from the comfort of their homes or offices.

This is the result of pioneering work done when COVID-19 forced the sporting community to adapt to new challenges.

KovsieSport, the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences at the UFS, and Athletics South Africa (ASA) have collaborated to make high-level training available for coaches through online courses.

The Higher Education Quality Committee of the Council on Higher Education endorsed the very first short learning programme presented by the UFS.

Latest coaching research

The first online course started on 17 January 2022 with an ASA Level 1 qualification course for long jump, which attracted participants from across South Africa and even Namibia.

“The academic legitimacy of the course content is ensured, and we provide an opportunity to keep abreast with the latest research with regard to sport science and the biomechanical, as well as updated articles,” says Emmarie Prinsloo, UFS Athletics Head Coach and project manager.

She says COVID-19 made everyone look at traditional coaching differently.

“In this way (online studies) the course is accessible to any participant in South Africa and even further.”

Course content

The courses consist of three online sessions over six weeks. During the contact sessions, practical videos are analysed, with continued assessment and an exam part of the course.

According to Prinsloo, a lot of effort went into the content, as manuals were updated by experts and high-level coaches. These manuals were moderated by Prof Derik Coetzee, Head of the UFS Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences.

In this way (online studies) the course is accessible to any participant in South Africa and even further. – Emmarie Prinsloo
Prinsloo, a renowned jumping coach and Head of the KovsieSport Jumping Academy, is the facilitator of the long jump and triple jump courses and co-writer of the pilot project.

Richard Stander, former Chief Executive Officer of ASA, will be part of the facilitation of some courses.

The long jump course is the first of many. Certified courses in sprints, triple jump, high jump, pole vault, middle distances and steeplechase, javelin throw, discus throw, hammer throw, shot put, hurdles, relays, and race walking will follow.
Prinsloo says Level 2 coaching courses will be presented from 2023.

• Get more info and contact information on the KovsieSport website.


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