Track Coach

USATF Contents for TC237


  • Oct 8-11 Level 1 – Zoom #2021-40 (Pacific Time)
  • Oct 22-25 Level 1 – Zoom #2021-42 (Eastern Time)
  • Oct 29-Nov 1 Level 1 – Zoom #2021-43 (Mountain Time)
  • Nov 5-8 Level 1 – Zoom #2021-44 (Pacific Time)
  • Nov 19-22 Level 1 – Zoom #2021-46 (Central Time)
  • Nov 26-29 Level 1 – Zoom #2021-47 (Pacific Time)
  • Dec 3-6 Level 1 – Zoom #2021-48 (Eastern Time)
  • Dec 10-13 Level 1 – Zoom #2021-49 (Pacific Time)
  • Dec 17-20 Level 1 – Zoom #2021-50 (Eastern Time)
  • Dec 27-31 Level 2 School – (Eastern Time)

Close Out 2021 with the USATF Level 2 Program, December 27-31

USATF Coaching Education is pleased to announce a year end USATF Level 2 School set for December 27-31, 2021. The program will be hosted on Zoom. Across the five-day course, participants will have the opportunity to specialize in one of five event disciplines (Endurance, Sprints/Hurdles/Relays, Jumps, Throws or Youth Specialization). Graduates of the course will better understand how to design periodized training programs integrating advanced sports science concepts, analyze and evaluate event-specific performances, and implement sound mental and physical strategies that promote a healthy lifestyle and prevent injury.

Interested coaches must be 2021 USATF members and hold a current Level 1 certificate. Additionally, applicants should have a minimum of three years of track and field, cross country, club or personal run coaching experience. Enrollment is limited to 50 per discipline. Early application is advised to secure placement in first-choice event-group.

The USATF Level 2 Program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE). Learn more about the program and apply at the USATF Calendar of Schools.

Emerging Female Grants Available for Level 1 and Level 2 Schools

The Emerging Female Grant is provided by USATF and provides a select number of minority, women track and field coaches the opportunity to attend USATF Coaching Education Level 1 or 2 Schools. Grants are valued at the respective course registration fee.


  • Identify as a minority, female coach
  • Be a current member of the USATF Coaches Registry
  • Provide a resume of coaching background/experience
  • Provide a letter of recommendation or three references

Applications for Emerging Female Grants will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are expended and reviewed on the first (business) day of each month. Application a minimum of 30 days prior to the start date of the requested program/school is advised. No grant funds will be awarded retroactively.

Apply at:

Late Level 1 Recertification Period to Close on December 31, 2021

The opportunity to renew Level 1 certificates that lapsed in 2020 will expire on December 31, 2021. After this date, the grace period will no longer be extended. Members seeking late recertification must complete all four-steps outlined to extend their certificate until December 31, 2024. Expired certificate holders will not only lose recognition as a USATF Level 1 Coach, but also eligibility for upper level coaching education courses and the inability to use their past completion as a qualifier for the Coaches Registry Education Standard. Renewed Level 1 certificates will be awarded on USATF Campus and valid until December 31, 2024.

Late Recertification Instructions

1. Renew USATF membership for 2021

2. Complete latest SafeSport Training (background screen NOT required)

3. Complete one USATF recertification course from the approved menu

4. Submit late recertification application processing fee ($55)

The process is further defined, including a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) resource, at the following link:

Additional Online Learning Opportunities Available on USATF Campus

USATF Campus is the online learning platform available to all coaches, athletes and educators looking to better understand human performance. Home to the debut course, Basic Principles of Endurance Training, developed by Legend Coach Joe Vigil, USATF Campus also contains over ten specialized sports science courses.

In the sports science college, Dr. Christine Brooks, Level 2 Sports Science Coordinator and Instructor of High Performance at the University of Florida, has curated titles such as Basic Science of Sprinting, Sport Specific Strength and Power, Science of Long Jumping and others.

Each course is self-paced, packed with 3-4 hours of content (lectures, resources and quizzes) and includes a certificate of completion. Courses are open to both USATF members and non-members.

Learn more at:

Inside the USATF Level 2 Youth Specialization

Q&A with Dr. Matt Lydum, Lead Instructor

What is the USATF Level 2 Youth Specialization?

The USATF Level 2 Youth Specialization looks at the intersection of track & field and growth and development. Simply put, children are not mini adults. Their experience in our sport should be appropriate for a long-term, healthy relationship with running, jumping, and throwing. Join global, national, and regional leaders in sport to parents looking to start a local club. Participants will more deeply understand the multiple factors that impact athletes as they learn skills, participate in our sport, and mature.

Who should complete this program? How is it different from Level 1?

Coaches that enroll in Youth Specialization are typically leaders involved in promoting opportunities for youth club and/or middle and high school athletes. College, private, and professional coaches also take the course and find it worthwhile. While Level 1 broadly surveys the entire sport, Youth Specialization narrows the focus to a developmental perspective. Sometimes this is referred to as LTAD or “long term athlete development”. Most athletes start competitive running, jumping, and throwing while they are still growing. This course looks at the many implications for the coach to consider while working with athletes’ whose sense of self is in formation and whose bones might be growing centimeters per season. 

How has the program evolved since the first course in 2010?

USA Track & Field was ahead of the times when they offered the first course in 2010. The academic fields related to growth and development were not too far advanced from Piaget. Since then, so-called “LTAD” studies, materials, and programs have become mainstream in high performance research and education. Youth Specialization engages in this rapidly expanding and exciting global conversation. The challenges facing maturing athletes as they work toward their goals are many. Youth Specialization has become a powerful leadership development course bringing together dynamic and highly trained coaches to boldly look at problems and then work together to imagine and engineer solutions.

What is your favorite aspect of the course?

The coaches that take Youth Specialization are amazing. I am hopeful for the future as the energy and emotional intelligence of the coaches coming into our sport is abundant. I am also inspired by the incredible students that bring years of experience impacting their communities through our sport.

What else can I look forward to as an interested coach?

The course delivery methods include hours of collaboration. We work together in various small groups and get to know each other. There is great value in the supportive connections, friendships and collaborations that are made.

Coaches will also be treated to the additional instructional staff that comprises the faculty for the school. Joel Pearson, the Director of Cross Country and Track at Pratt Community College, has been a part of the Level 2 Youth staff since 2019 and will again serve as a co-instructor. Pearson’s coaching experience includes stops at the high school, NJCAA, NAIA, NCAA levels and in leading Harrier Track Club (HTC), a highly successful post collegiate race-walking group. Pearson’s HTC athletes have competed in World Championships, Pan-American Games, Pan-American Cup, and NACAC U23. He holds USATF Level 3 and World Athletics Level V Academy certificates in Endurance and Youth Specialization, and along with his considerable experience brings a fervent energy to the course.

Rounding out the staff will be additional accomplished and veteran Level 2 instructors sharing expert instruction in their disciplines from a developmental perspective. Coaches can expect special guest appearances from Kathy Butler, OLY, Scott Christensen (Endurance) and Charles Clinton (Sprints, Hurdles, Relays).

About Dr. Matt Lydum

Dr. Matt Lydum brings over 25 years of coaching experience. Starting as head track coach at Pendleton High School, Lydum’s experience also spans San Francisco State University, Defiance College and Pacific University. Additionally, Lydum served on Team USA staff at the 2007 and 2009 IAAF World Youth Championships. He was USOPC delegate to the International Olympic Academy and project writer for the Human Kinetics text, Coaching Youth Track & Field (2008). Lydum completed his PhD in Teaching and Teacher Education at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Mat Lydum