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Level 3 Course

The USATF Coaching Education Level 3 program is a scientific, knowledge-based seminar. One of the objectives of the Level 3 program is to provide coaches with comprehensive knowledge in a specific event group, including sport science and training theory. The Level 3 program covers "cutting edge" sport science concepts and event-specific knowledge from a scientific perspective. The Level 3 seminars prepares an individual to coach at the national/international level.

Level 3 seminars are open to anyone wishing to attend (prior USATF courses are not required). However, in order to obtain Level 3 Coach status, a participant must already be a Level 2 Coach. The information below pertains to those wishing to be a Level 3 Coach.

How to Apply

  1. Locate a school
  2. Decide on an event group (see listing below). It is recommended that first-time Level 3 participants select the event group in which they feel most competent. Note: In order to choose the Combined Events group, applicants must have completed a Level 3 school in at least one other group.
  3. Complete the Application for each attended event (PDF)
  4. Once you have completed the requirements (see below), please submit the Certificate of Completion Request Form (PDF).

Due to intimate class sizes, USATF recommends applying early!
USATF advises that applicants wait until they receive an acceptance notification before making travel arrangements.


A participant may begin working toward Level 3 Coach status as soon as Level 2 is completed. However all of the below requirements must be met to complete Level 3.
  • Have a minimum of ten years of coaching experience at a recognized school or with a club program. Note: Upon petition to the Coaching Education Committee Chair, up to five years of coaching experience may be waived for those who have coached an athlete who has competed in a World Championships and/or Olympic Games.
  • Have completed the Level 2 program in the event group of desired Level 3.
  • Have at least three years of coaching experience after completing Level 2 Course.
  • Attend a minimum of three Level 3 coaching education seminars, two of which must be in the event group of desired. This requirement may be waived for anyone who has already attended three Level 3 seminars prior to January 1, 2003.
  • Have coached at least one athlete who has qualified and competed at the national level. This may include the following Championship events:  Open, Junior, NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA, Junior Olympic, USATF Youth Outdoor T&F, Foot Locker, National Scholastic, etc.
  • Have a B.A. or B.S. degree.
  • Submit a resume of coaching experience and the Level 3 Certificate of Completing Request Form.
  • Must produce an original technical article, suitable for publication, that is written specifically for the purpose of meeting the Level 3 requirements. Previously published articles will not be accepted.
    • The topic must be pre-approved by the appropriate Coaching Education Committee Event Group Chair (e.g., Sprints/Hurdles/Relays, Endurance, Jumps, Throws, Combined Events).
    • The completed article must be submitted to the Coaching Education Committee Level 3 Chair and approved prior to being submitted to a journal for publication.
    • Upon final approval, the article will be offered to Track Coach magazine for publication. If accepted, the publication date will be determined by the publisher of Track Coach.


  • Recognition as a USATF Level 3 Coach
  • Resources from the seminar instructor
  • Skills and knowledge to coach athletes at the national/international level
  • Access to exclusive Coaching Education merchandise

About Level 3 Schools

Level 3 schools are multi-day seminars that focus on specific event groups, with an emphasis on scientific concepts and training.  The event groups are:

  • Sprints/Hurdles/Relays
  • Endurance
  • Jumps
  • Throws
  • Combined Events

Level 3 schools are offered in conjunction with most Level 2 schools and, periodically, as standalone schools. USATF coaches receive first priority when there are more applicants than available slots; attendees will be admitted in order of dates of application.

The cost for a Level 3 school is $175, and the participant is responsible for his/her own room and board.

After successfully fulfilling the requirements, participants will receive a Level 3 Certificate of Completion.

Level 3 schools may be taken multiple times in order to obtain Level 3 status in more than one of the event groups. However, participants may only complete one event group per school.

Suggested Reading List

  • Better Training for Distance Runners, Martin and Coe, 1997, Human Kinetics, ISBN: 0-88011-530-0
  • Exercise Metabolism, Hargreaves and Spriet, 2006, Human Kinetics, ISBN: 0-7360-4103-6
  • Physiology of Sport and Exercise, Wilmore and Costill, 2004, Human Kinetics, ISBN: 0-7360-4489-2
  • Textbook of Running Medicine, O'Connor and Wilder, 2001, McGraw-Hill, ISBN: 0-07-135997-X
  • Biochemistry Primer for Exercise Science, Houston, 2001, Human Kinetics, ISBN: 0-7360-3644-X
  • Peak when it Counts, Freeman, 2001, Track and Field News Press, ISBN: 0-911-521-62-3
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