We’re excited to share with you that IFAC 24 is being organised and will take place from 1-3 November in Padua, Italy.

Title – Excellence Builds on Brilliant Basics

European Athletics Coaches Association and FIDAL – Federazione Italiana Di Atletica Leggera welcomes you to the International Festival of Athletics Coaching 2024. The coaching conference is presented in cooperation with the Corpo Libero at the Palaindoor di Padova. As with our previous successful running of this event in 2022 and 2023, the conference is part of the European Athletics Coaching Summit Series for 2024 and we look forward to meeting and uniting coaches from across Europe and beyond.

This year the title of the conference is Excellence Builds on Brilliant Basics and will specifically focus on:

  • Preparing for Los Angeles 2028 – Making the first year of Olympic cycle count.
  • Fundamentals First – Efficient and effective practice in developing young athletes.
  • Topics and talks will deal with a multitude of important aspects of science and practice relevant to becoming and being high performance coaches and all relating back to the theme – Excellence Builds on Brilliant Basics.
  • Sessions will include a mixture of lectures, interactive workshops, and practical demonstrations.

Coaches, scientists, and athletes (current and former) have been invited to present on the Friday and Sunday, which includes a Q&A session with a panel of current athletes. The Saturday is once more dedicated to a carousel of practical sessions covering all the disciplines within the sport of athletics. For the third year, this event is both onsite and online. The timetable will be announced in due course.

Conference timings:

  • Friday, 1st November: 13:15h – 21:00h
  • Saturday, 2nd November: 08:30h – 19:00h / Evening – A Dinner with the Coaches.
  • Sunday, 3rd November: 08:30h – 13:30h


Palaindoor di Padova, Viale Nereo Rocco, 35136 Padova PD, Italy.

The Programme, speakers and the information on how to register to be announced in due course.

EACA to patronize the 2024 Pole Vault Convention in Padova

The Padova Pole Vault Convention is an international convention on study and training of pole vault. It is a a unique formula in Europe consisting of workshops and competition. Born from the union of sports and training with the intention of sharing experiences, inspiration and motivation related to the world of pole vaulting. It is organized by Gruppo Asta Padova, a long-established movement that has mainly been training athletes and technicians specialised in pole vaulting since 1968, which has as its star athlete Elisa Molinarolo, world finalist in Budapest 2023 and Tokyo Olympian. The convention is also organized by Sport & Marketing, a team that consists of several professionals with years of experience in communication and event organisation, founded by Gianfranco Beda, former pole vaulter.

Starting from this edition, the European Athletics Coaches Association will patronize the event, with the aim to extend it with the High Jump, bringing back to life the event that our beloved Wolfgang Ritzdorf used to organize in Cologne.

The convention has the technical support of ESSX Europe, that will made available for athlete poles to be used during the competition. Registration for the competition are now open only to athletes that wants to participate also to the convention day, registration for the competition only will open later.


  • Greg & Helena Duplantis (coaches of Mondo Duplantis)
  • Philippe d’Encausse (coach of Renaud Lavillenie and French Pole Vault Team)
  • Herbert Czingon (biomechanical and one of the best German coach)
  • Scott Simpson (coach of Holly Bradshaw, Head of Field and Combined Events for UK Athletics)
  • Johan Cassirame (manage the biomechanical program for French Federation, obtained data of the 6m22 jumps of Mondo Duplantis)

Discount coupons reserved to EACA website’s members:

EACA15 for the on site ticket

EACA20 for the online ticket



  • Jan 5th: International Competition
  • Jan 6th: Pole Vault Convention
  • Jan 7th: Training session with speakers (only in the morning)


Palaindoor Padova, Italy


Check our website for info and tickets

Dr. Wolfgang Ritzdorf

10 February 1955 - 12 April 2023

What a very special privilege it is to walk some steps in our life with a giant. For that is how all in athletics coaching saw Wolfgang Ritzdorf.
Wolfgang was a truly great person, a deeply valued friend and both a ground breaker and world leader as a coach to athletes and to coaches across the Globe. He prepared athletes such as Ulrike Meyfarth and Heike Henkel personally to Olympic Gold and others through their coaches to mount the high jump podium at Olympic, World and World Junior, European and European Junior Championships and at other W.A. Area and National Championships too.

His masterpiece World Leading High Jump and Pole Vault Conference in Cologne influenced athlete performance and coach preparation again to podium level in Pole Vault at Olympic, World, European, other Area and National levels.

His leadership of the W.A. CECS Editorial Board and programme made coach development in athletics the cutting edge of International Federation Coach Education and Certification programmes.

Wolfgang was a tireless member of EACA council and supporter of IFAC. When asked to present or lead a jumps dedicated part of IFAC, he always accepted, no matter how many commitments he was already handling.
And all of this on top of his prestigeous position as Senior Lecturer and Head of the Athletics Department at the German Sport University Cologne. Whether as teacher, speaker or researcher in high jump, coaching and performance theory and practice his impact has been significant and substantial.

In his many article and papers in W.A. New studies in Athletics and other international journals, he set the benchmark of quality.
At any championships or games at any level in the world you will find coaches or athletes whose athletics career or indeed lives he has advantaged.

The immense strength of character of this great person saw him face this dreadful illness with unmatchable courage till the end.
When he closed his eyes for the last time, he must have reflected with real pride that in his life he changed the world of coaching in athletics not only for this generation, but for generations to come.

His life was our profound gain, his passing is our profound loss.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Doro and the family.

Thank you, Wolfgang, for the privilege of walking these steps with you.
EACA invites coaches and athletes to send their personal reflection of their experience of working with our friend and colleague.

Marco Airale’s mentoring DAY TWO! Saturday, April 22nd, 2023

EACA Mentoring Programme announcement
Palaindoor Padova will host the Pole Vault next month!
European Athletics Coaches Association European Athletics Coaches Association
Bridging Coaches to Knowledge
Marco Airale's mentoring DAY TWO!
Saturday, April 22nd, 2023

Ticket sales for Marco Airale's mentoring - Day 2 - are open for everyone.


Marco will lead a training session at the outdoor facility in Abano Terme (Padova) or, in case of rainy weather, at same venue of IFAC 2022, the Palaindoor of Padova.

Day 2 date is next April 22nd at 09:00 CET.


Only 10 (ten) seats are available to atttend in person and the ticket sales will open on EACA website.


The initiative will be also streamed live, but no recordings will be taken.


Apart from the fee for the mentor, EACA will not charge any cost to the coaches attending on site, so EACA membership discounts cannot be applied to the cost of tickets to attend in person.

However, the discounts will be applied to the cost of the ticket to attend online.

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IFAC 2023: NEW Early Bird Sale at 30% OFF!

IFAC 2023 NEW Early Bird Sale (30% OFF) OPENS TOMORROW!
Only 30 Tickets for the Full Conference ON SITE, plus 60 Tickets for the ONLINE Streaming
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IFAC 2023

30% OFF on:

  • up to 30 Full Conference ON SITE tickets
  • up to 60 Full Conference Live ONLINE streaming


Tomorrow, April 1st, the sales are open to EACA Members only. EACA PRO Members can benefit of the 50% discount included in their membership.


Sunday, April 2nd, the sales will open to everyone.


ON SITE ticket includes:

  • Coffee breaks
  • Saturday lunch
  • Full-HD recording of the whole conference (included in the ONLINE streaming ticket too)
Get it
Updated confirmed speakers list:
Carola Becker
Jonas Dodoo
Vern Gambetta
Laurent Meuwly
Nick Winkelman

The official conference's hotel is 4* Crowne Plaza.

A 3* option will be available later.

Transportation service will be provided from and to Venice VCE Airport and the Conference's venues from and to Crowne Plaza Hotel only.

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EACA Coaching Superstar Winner!

The first edition of the EACA Coach Superstar and EACA Coach Rising Star AWARD is closed!

It was very fun and engaging, also for us  to see your preference. A special thanks to the Federations for the nominees and…


Very proud that women and men are getting always better and reach so important achievements in the Athletics.

Award Criteria:

  • Nominees should have made a particular impact between November 2021 and November 2022.
  • The Nominee should belong to a European Athletics Member Federation.
  • For the SUPER STAR: Outstanding lifetime contribution to athletics as a coach.
  • For the RISING STAR: The nominee should have coached for a minimum of 2 years in athletics.


First and foremost...

Laurent was voted the Swiss Athletics Coach of the Year 2009. In 2010, he took over the position of Swiss Athletics Regional Head for Western Switzerland and the responsibility for the National Performance Centre in Lausanne/ Aigle.
On April 1, 2019, Laurent joined the Dutch Athletics Association as National Coach.
From 2019, He is Coach to Femke Bol who performed fantastically:

  • Olympics bronze medalist in the 400 m hurdles with the current European record of 52.03 seconds, becoming the third-fastest woman of all time and the first Dutch Olympic medalist at the event.
  • A triple gold medalist at the European Outdoor Championships in the unique combination of 400 flat and 400 hurdles plus she also took gold with the relay ladies in the 4 x 400m.
  • This came after two silver medals at the Eugene 2022 World Championships (400m individual and relay) this, in addition to many other top performances whilst being coached by Laurent

Why the nominee is OUTSTANDING?

He demonstrates a willingness to work on specifics, automatisms, versatility and the team spirit.
All this makes Laurent believe that smaller countries can battle with the bigger countries’ teams for medals!
Undoubtedly, Dutch teams have made a big impact in the 2022 athletic season at the World and European Championships.

EACA Coaching Rising Star Winner!

The first edition of the EACA Coach Superstar and EACA Coach Rising Star AWARD is closed!

It was very fun and engaging, also for us  to see your preference. A special thanks to the Federations for the nominees and…


Very proud that women and men are getting always better and reach so important achievements in the Athletics.

Award Criteria:

  • Nominees should have made a particular impact between November 2021 and November 2022.
  • The Nominee should belong to a European Athletics Member Federation.
  • For the SUPER STAR: Outstanding lifetime contribution to athletics as a coach.
  • For the RISING STAR: The nominee should have coached for a minimum of 2 years in athletics.



Lituanian Federation


Mantas has coached the 19 year old, Mykolos Aleknas to the silver medal at the 2022 World Championships, becoming the youngest world discus medalist in history.

Following that Alekna became the youngest ever winner in his discipline at the 2022 European Championships (69,78m), setting the competition record in the process. In 2021 Mykolos Aleknas was coached by Mantas to the World Under-20 and European U20 champion (69,81m).

Mykolas is the son of Olympic double discus throw champion Virgilijus Alekna

Why the nominee is OUTSTANDING?

The impressive achievements of the season of the young discus thrower Mykolas Aleknas has also led to personal elevation for his coach; Mantas Jusis. In 2022 Mantas was honored with the title Best Coach of the Year and has made a bold prediction about when Mykolas will surpass his father.

Take home from IFAC 2022 in Padova

So, the 2022 International Festival of Athletics Coaching was a success or not?

Personally, I was really concerned about coming back on site after almost four years: will coaches come to Padova to attend it? Or, after two years of cheap online event (including IFAC 2021), they will stay at home choosing the online registration? Have we enough time to organise an on site event after deciding to go with a hybrid formula only in July?

Well, with more than 130 coaches attending in person, now I think I can say that my concerns were not founded: I am really happy for this outcome so, thank you to all the coaches I met in Padova but thanks to all those who attended online too.

However, we did a lot of mistakes. But that’s why we also learned a lot and all the things we learned will be useful for the next years, when Padova will host IFAC again.

First mistake: no transportation service. We had no time to build a transportation service for staff, speakers and participants so we had to manage them on the fly with taxis or personal cars. This was also a huge cost for EACA but, mostly, a discomfort for the coaches. We now know this and we have enough time to setup a proper transportation service next year.

Second mistake: not really prepared for a hybrid event. Having fully online events like IFAC 2021 was relatively easy: every speaker, every staff member and every participant is seating at its own desk, with its own device, presenting by sharing its screen. But a hybrid event is completely different: a deep connection with the audio and video systems of the venue is needed, otherwise the experience for the people attending remotely may be not good, especially for the audio. But, also, streaming on Zoom a presentation is different from streaming people in motion like athletes demostrating dynamic exercises: Zoom auto-tunes the resolution of the video and if the rate of motion to capture is too high, it lowers the resolution. 

In some way, we predicted that we may have trouble managing for the first time a hybrid event. We also thought to look for a professional service, but its cost would be really high. That’s why we decided for a so low price compared to the quality and the quantity of the IFAC 2022 programme. Again, we learned a lot from this experience and we’re confident we will provide a great streaming conference next year.  

That said, I really enjoyed every moment in Padua, from the presentation of our great speakers to the practical sessions and Saturday dinner all together. For me it was an opportunity to meet some old friends and make new ones. It was also an opportunity to raise my esteem for some speakers. Let me spend a word on Laurent Meuwly, an incredibly successful coach, always willing to share his knowledge and experience with everyone, no matter if a world-class or a club coach, with no fear of “revealing his secrets”. We need more coaches like him. 

Thank you to Domenico di Molfetta and Francesco Uguagliati for the incredible support from FIDAL and FIDAL Veneto: really appreciated!

Thanks to all the speakers, the moderators and the Palaindoor staff in Padova for the technical and logistic support and the delicious coffee breaks.

Last but not least, a big hug to all my friends in the EACA staff, starting from Frank (so as not to sin of lese majesty…), GagaRebecca, Sena, Jimson and Shaun, but also CinziaLaura, Jacques and Lance for their incredible contribution

Today, we are releasing the first recordings taken in Padova. If you are an EACA Pro Member, you can find them in the IFAC Videos Archive.

If you’re not but you attended to IFAC 2022, you will receive the instructions on how to watch them with a newsletter message.

I hope to see you all (and more) in Padua next year, November 3 -5)!