Coaching Certification Levels

USA Cycling

Please note that USA Cycling’s coaching structure begins with level 3 and proceeds to level 1; this mirrors our racing license scheme.

So level 3 is the entry level.

  • Read “Introduction to Coaching Cyclists” from the MYUSACYCLING function.
  • Take the online exam (see instructions below for the online exam). The level 3 is a home study, self-paced course. The test is a self-paced.
  • Once you pass the test, you can review the questions you missed; then follow the instructions to get the current coaching license application

What is covered at the Level 2 Clinic?
The level 2 clinic devotes about 8 hours to exercise physiology (bioenergetics, muscle structure, adaptations
and function, cardio respiratory physiology and adaptations, etc.), several hours to training plan design and periodization, nutrition/hydration, and an introduction to tactics and strategy.

Do I take the level 2 exam at the clinic?
No. The level 2 exam is a self-paced test that the participant completes at home and returns to the Coaching Education Manager. Also, there is no deadline on turning in the level 2 answer sheet.

To attend the level 1 clinic, a level 2 coach must have been a level 2 coach for at least 5 years.

USA Triathlon

LEVEL I
In order to be eligible for certification, candidates must complete the following:

LEVEL II
The focus of the LII clinic is on developing Junior and ITU level athletes. A major portion of the clinic is spent on group work and demonstration of coaching skills. In order to be eligible for certification, candidates must complete the following:

  • Current USAT Membership
  • Current USAT Level I Coaching Certification
  • USA Triathlon Level II Clinic
  • Pass Written and Oral Examinations
  • Current CPR Certification
  • USOC Coaching Ethics Code
  • Online Background Check
  • The applicant must have a minimum of two years triathlon coaching experience following USAT Level I Certification.
  • The applicant must have one of the following:
    1. BA or BS degree in sport science or related field (preferred)
    OR
    2. Certification with relevance to triathlon such as ACSM, USA Cycling Level I or II, USA Swimming/ASCA, USATF, NSCA or NASM.
  • The applicant must demonstrate knowledge of periodization and planning by submitting an ATP of a current athlete.
  • The applicant must explain the status of an athlete, state two to three objectives for that athlete, explain what was done as a coach to address those objectives, and explain the results that were accomplished with that athlete.
  • The applicant must have a letter of recommendation from an athlete and a mentor coach.
  • The applicant must have annual service to USA Triathlon or educational contributions to the sport of triathlon (I.E. service during a USA Triathlon camp or clinic or contributions to the USA Triathlon Coaching Certification Program or various related USAT programs).

LEVEL III
In order to be eligible for certification, candidates must complete the following:

  • Current USAT Membership
  • The applicant must be a current USAT Level II Coach in good standing for at least 12 months prior to the LIII clinic.
  • The applicant must have completed the USAT Elite Mentorship Program between January 1, 2007 and the current application deadline.
  • The applicant must have documentation the he or she has been the primary coach of an athlete(s) at the highest level of competition within their division based on the following criteria:
    • Elite National Team, Project 2012 Team, Project 2016 Team, Top 15 finish at U23 World Championships, Top 15 finish at Junior World Championships. Coaching an athlete that is ranked in the top 75 of the ITU rankings by the end of the previous year would also qualify. Coaching yourself does not qualify.
  • The applicant must demonstrate that he or she developed the athlete to the above mentioned level.
  • The applicant must demonstrate knowledge of progression by stating two to three objectives for an elite
    athlete, explaining what you did as a coach to address those objectives, and explaining the results that were accomplished with that athlete.
  • The applicant must submit an ATP based on a standard provided form of one elite level athlete that he/she directly coaches as part of the application process within 7 days upon acceptance into the clinic. This will be reviewed by USAT Sport Performance staff within 2 weeks and sent back to the applicant with suggestions.
  • The applicant must submit one letter of recommendation from a mentor coach and one letter of recommendation from an athlete.
  • The applicant must hold at least one additional current certification from the following sport organizations: USA Cycling Level I or Level II, USA Swimming/American Swimming Coaches Association, USA Track and Field, American College of Sports Medicine, National Strength and Conditioning Association, or National Academy of Sports Medicine.
  • Current CPR/AED Certification
  • Online Background Check

A USAT Level III Coach understands and applies the following concepts while working with athletes:

  • Advanced periodization and planning including program implementation, progression, lab and field testing and recovery methods.
  • Swim stroke analysis, run gait analysis, bike fit and analysis
  • Functional strength training and dynamic warmup
  • Advanced nutritional and mental skills strategies
  • ITU qualifications and rules
  • Race strategies