Asher-Smith and England Athletics coaching campaign off and running

England Athletics has seen a spike in coaching course bookings following the launch of its new #gocoach campaign. Fronted by the joint-fastest woman in the world in 2018, Dina Asher-Smith, #gocoach aims to bring 10,000 new people into athletics and running coaching by 2020.

Over 700 new coaching qualification course bookings and 496 registrations for development workshops for existing coaches have been made via the new web pages on the England Athletics website, 

England Athletics CEO Chris Jones said: “We are delighted that in just under a month we have already achieved seven per cent  of our 10,000 target for new coaches with over two years still to go. Being a coach or run leader is a great way to get involved in our sport, build new friendships and positively affect the lives of other people in your local community. Coaches have a tremendous impact on people’s experience of sport and physical activity, whether that’s helping them to achieve their full potential as a competitive athlete or encouraging them to become active and enjoy the many benefits of exercise. For some, volunteer coaching is a great way to reduce social isolation, become an integral part of a new community and develop new skills. For others, coaching provides invaluable experiences and life skills which can be carried through into developing new career opportunities.”  

Asher-Smith said: “The relationship between any coach and athlete, whether at elite or beginner level, is pivotal in enabling you to be the best version of yourself both on and off the track. The launch of #gocoach is a great reminder of all the hard work and support that coaches and run leaders provide – often voluntarily – to help others. I hope the campaign will inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to think about becoming a coach or run leader. Our fantastic sport wouldn’t survive without them.”  

The launch of the #gocoach campaign follows the huge increase in the popularity of Athletics since London 2012, and provides an opportunity for everyone to get involved. 

England athletics says you don’t have to have a sporting background to become a coach, and people of all ages, backgrounds and aspirations can get involved in coaching. “Whether you are a university student, grandparent or simply someone with a little spare time, becoming a licensed volunteer coach or leader can be a life changing role.”

European champion Asher-Smith’s calls coach John Blackie her “second dad”.

Orpington-born Asher-Smith delivered the performance of a generation at the European Championships in Berlin during August; claiming triple gold in 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.

But from the moment she stepped onto the track at Blackheath & Bromley Harriers as a nine-year-old, desperate just to stop running cross-country, Blackie’s nurturing began.

The 22-year-old credits the sprint coach with a central role in her success, promise that also saw her snatch the British 100m and 200m records over the summer.

“I was really fortunate to win three golds and everything that happened was really, really cool,” said Asher-Smith, speaking as a spokesperson for England Athletics’ #GoCoach campaign.

“I owe that all to John’s hard work – we’ve been working together since I was a young teenager.

“He’s patient with me, especially when I don’t get things right for the first time, which happens quite a lot! He’s like a second dad to me and has completely changed my life.

“To just see all his plans, hard work and vision come to fruition, especially with the 200m in Berlin, was so special.”

Asher-Smith and Blackie are perfectly placed to extol the virtues of coaching and endorse #GoCoach, a campaign to recruit 10,000 new athletics and running coaches by 2020.

The Kent-born ace underlined the importance of coaching guidance and encouraged aspiring leaders to hit the starting blocks.

“Coaches are really important because they set the tone not only for your career, but also the kind of person you’re going to be,” she said.

“I would say to anyone considering getting involved in coaching just go out and try it, you have no idea how many young lives you can affect and people you can impact.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without a good coach – a brilliant coach – in John.

“I’m forever indebted to him so the chance to encourage 10,000 more Johns to potentially change other people’s lives is amazing.”

Blackie added: “Being a coach is incredibly rewarding. Not only are you able to share achievements, but you’re also there to support and motivate during any low moments. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Dina for 14 years now, and share her journey to being the fastest British woman in history. The joys of coaching don’t just apply to working with elite athletes though; being a volunteer coach or leader is an extremely worthwhile role. I would encourage everyone to get involved.” 

To find out more about England Athletics’ #gocoach campaign, and to find out more about volunteer coaching visit