Coaching & Development


Coaching & Development

Whether it’s running, jumping or throwing, every young athlete needs guidance to help them reach their full potential?

The coaching group at Sandringham Little Athletics are here, every Saturday, assisting and helping every young athlete, encouraging them to learn, understand and achieve their personal best every week.

SLAC’s coaching coordinator, Barry Bernasconi leads our young, dynamic and enthusiastic coaching group assisted by Mladen Canadi, Clodagh Grogan, Tash Franchina and Todd Hartley… a talented team covering all disciplines in athletics, but more importantly helping all young members enjoy their Saturday mornings at the Sandringham Track.

The aim of the Sandringham Little Athletics Coaching Program is to provide a safe environment where athletes have fun improving fundamental motor skills in running, walking, jumping and throwing that form the basis for many other sports. 

While no one event or activity participated in at Little Athletics provides this foundation, collectively all the events in Little Athletics do.  As such, the emphasis of participation in Little Athletics is on involvement in a wide range of events rather than specialisation at an early age.

As a centre we want the athletes to enjoy the experience and for them to look forward to coming back to the next session.

As athletes progress through the age groups and start to focus on particular events, specific coaching per event is available through our accredited coaches.

During the season we run the following coaching programs at SLAC:

  • On track – designed specifically for our younger U6 age group athletes to introduce them to athletics in a fun environment
  • Development program – run at the start of the season for our U7 to U10 age group athletes, the development program focuses on the fundamental skills for each event to ensure all athletes have a good technical base for the coming season.
  • Competition coaching U7 to U10 age groups – coaches are assigned to each age group for the session and will work with the group across all events of the session. This allows our younger athletes time to build rapport with the coach to get the best interaction during these important early years for the athlete. 
  • Competition coaching U11 to U16 age groups – for the senior session our U11 to U16 athletes will find designated event coaches stationed at specific events to assist with more focused skill development.
  • Relays – relay coaching is provided for all athletes during the early part of the season. Specialist mid-week coaching will be provided for the athletes participating on the Mentone Relays and beyond to Region and State relays.
  • Midweek coaching – regular mid-week coaching from our special will be available on Wednesday evenings after Christmas. This is our popular program we we offer a schedule of events each week.


Vic McFarlane


Vic coaches high jump at Little Athletics Sandringham and always attends our athletes regional and state championships to encourage and coach our younger athletes. He has been coaching for over 30 years! Vic has personally coached some of our top Australian athletes including:

Raelene Park – 2 National Championships
Caroline Lewis (Wright) – 1 National Championship; holds 6 National titles; competed at the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games; and is the mother of our very own Sandringham athlete (Olympic Champion) Tamsyn Lewis
Jane Fleming – Olympic Champion
Cathy Soanes – Coached her to 2 World Championship
Vic coaches Monday to Thursday at 4pm.

Paul Abbott

Over the past 10 years I have been coaching at Little athletics Sandringham. I have coached young athletes who have regularly competed successfully at a State and National level, both in the School and Little Athletics competitions. My preference is to coach running events from 400m to Cross-country however I have a keen interest in Relays and Multi-events.

APS Athletics
For the last 5 years I have worked as the senior boys distance coach for Caulfield Grammar School. Currently I am working with Brighton Grammar School senior distance squad.

Club Athletics
I have been actively involved in coaching at Sandringham Athletics Club since 2000.

National Competitions
I have attended National Athletic competitions with my athletics and with the Caulfield G.S. athletic squad on more than 12 occasions.

I am currently a qualified level 2 general Coach and level 2 specialists in sprints, hurdles and relays. Currently Athletics Australia accredited and insured.

Session Times
Monday and Wednesday 5.00 – 6.00pm
Cost: $50 per term payable to Paul Abbott.

M: 0466 240 360 H: 9589 6312 email: [email protected]