The goal of the KAAO is to produce successful athletes who are ready for life. The KAAO provides a holistic approach to the development of the under-26 athlete both on and off the track. In the spirit of the ancient Greek kalokagathia, it aims towards the ideal of a complete human personality – harmony of the mind and the body through sport and education.
It was established in its legal form on 1 September 2020, and its activities have been fully underway from 1 May 2021. Currently, 31 athletes who have met the demanding criteria of the KAAO are enrolled.
The comprehensive support of young athletes on the path to representation in senior categories at top athletics events and the Olympic Games, as well as in preparation for their employment after the end of their active career, is led by a professional team of experts.
First and second-class coaches with many years of experience are available for sports training. These coaches methodically manage the individual sections, and simultaneously create a platform for the mutual cooperation and development of the personal trainers of the enrolled athletes.
The team for physiotherapy, regeneration, and rehabilitation works on the athletes’ physical condition and health.
This team also provides both comprehensive preventive and acute medical care. Each athlete has their own personal record, and their health development is monitored over time all from one place.
Each athlete is also analysed, advised, and monitored in the area of nutrition for maximum performance.
In the coming months, the team of experts will also be expanded to include the services of a mental coach.
Uniqueness of the project
The Regional Athletics Academy (KAAO) is the only project of its kind in the Czech Republic which is focused on the development of athletics across the whole region and not just from within a single club. It enables the most talented athletes from across one region to train both individually and regularly in mentor groups of their level, creating synergistic effects of sharing the experiences of athletes and coaches, mutual support, and competition in some of the best infrastructure and staffing conditions in the Czech Republic.
Emphasis on a friendly environment
An important aspect of the activity is to provide the best possible conditions for achieving high performance without the athlete having to leave their club, personal coach, or chosen school.
Development of a coaching base
Monitoring of coaching talent is also an aspect of the activities of the KAAO. The KAAO aims to contribute to the expansion of the professional education of existing coaching experts, and to help expand the ranks of coaches with new, young candidates. It also wants to create the conditions necessary for the growth of young coaches, both by working alongside experienced experts, and through education in a domestic and international environment. An integral part of this is the effort to increase the prestige of the coaching profession, its visibility, and its remuneration.
Connecting with research and development
The overall development of athlete care is also supported by the connection with research and development in cooperation with the Faculty of Medicine (Department of Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine) and the Faculty of Education (Department of Human Movement Studies) of the University of Ostrava.
The whole project is implemented in connection with the concept of sports development of the City of Ostrava and the Moravian-Silesian Region and in connection with the concept of the athletics development of the Czech Athletics Federation.
These three institutions are also the main supporters of the project. Their common will is expressed in a Memorandum of Mutual Cooperation.
Benefits of the KAAO
By joining the KAAO, the athlete remains a member of their home club and receives exceptional care in all aspects of preparation for maximum sporting performance, including within the context of studying and preparation for professional life after their sporting career.
For their training, in consultation with their personal trainer and the KAAO section coach, and depending on individual needs, an athlete has at their disposal, in an appropriate combination, the following:
- the best athletics facilities in the Czech Republic in the form of the sports complex of the Ostrava Municipal Stadium with two stadiums, the training area of the Dana and Emil Zátopek Sports Grammar School, the Athletics Hall, athletics tunnel, gyms, and throwing areas,
- modern and functional training aids for developing fitness and learning techniques,
- long-term, professional, regularly evaluated physiotherapy monitoring and subsequent regular care on the basis of an initial examination in order to detect imbalances in the musculoskeletal system, prevent possible injuries, and cure longer-term problems,
- regular and acute compensatory and health exercises within the training plan (every two weeks), top professional care, including the use of the latest methods in regeneration and rehabilitation,
- regular regeneration and massages (at least three times a week),
- use of a cryocentre,
- a nutritionist who, based on a blood analysis, will individually prepare a dietary plan for the maximum replenishment of relevant nutrients naturally in the diet during and after a normal exercise regime, so that the body can withstand the training load and, at the same time, regenerate quickly, efficiently, and naturally,
- methodical guidance by the best coaches in the region with experience in training top athletes (in cooperation with the personal coaches of academy athletes),
- connecting athletes and coaches to current trends in nutrition, recovery, training methods, and mental coaching to support performance using mental power, and promoting a healthy lifestyle through a nutritionally balanced diet, with respect to the characteristics of the load in a given discipline, etc.,
- the use of modern technologies for motion analysis,
- the use of current research and science in the field of human movement,
- comprehensive sports health and stress medical examinations (at least once a year), health monitoring, and preventive, and possibly priority acute, medical care in cooperation with specialist doctors (neurology, internal medicine, orthopaedics, sonography, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, X-ray, etc.),
- membership in a team of elite athletes within their category in the region,
- all-round development of athletic potential with regard to training-education synergy,
- if necessary, an individual teaching programme in a given educational facility, where the academy monitors athletes in terms of academic performance, attendance, and personal discipline, communicating with the management of specific school facilities to ensure the coordination of sports training and school,
- providing opportunities to start at an adequate level of competition appropriate to their performance,
- a joint training workshop in a group of similarly focused and similarly skilled athletes, where athletes psych each other up, motivate each other, learn, and measure their strength,
- financial contributions for the purchase of running shoes and track shoes,
- a financial contribution towards the purchase of nutritional supplements,
- a 30% discount on all Top4Running products.
The KAAO within the system of care for talented athletes in the Moravian-Silesian Region
Each performance and age category of talented youth in athletics is part of a precisely defined article of care according to the national rules of the Czech Athletics Federation and the international categorisation of European Athletics and World Athletics.
Background of the KAAO
The athletes enrolled in the KAAO have the best athletics facilities in the Czech Republic for their general development in the form of the sports complex of the Ostrava Municipal Stadium with two stadiums, the training area of the Sports Grammar School, Athletics Hall, tunnel, gyms, rehabilitation facilities, throwing area, and, in the future, the newly built complex of the University of Ostrava, Černá Louka.
The athlete is enrolled in the KAAO on the basis of their current performance according to the limits and classes of the Czech Athletics Federation and their academic results.
Athletes must meet the following criteria to be enrolled:
- Age up to 26 years,
- Membership in one of the athletics clubs in the Moravian-Silesian Region,
- Study at a secondary school, apprentice school, higher education institution, or another form of post-secondary education, documented quarterly or semesterly, depending on the type of study, by proof of attendance and fulfilment of all obligations,
- Membership in a youth sports centre/elite youth sports centre if they meet the youth sports centre/elite youth sports centre criteria,
- Performance in the given age category at least at the level of:
- Under 18 (U18): national team member, participant in the European Under-17 Championships, European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF), Youth Olympic Games (YOG),
- Under 20 (U20): national team member, participant in the European Junior Championship, World Junior Championship,
- Under 23 (U23): national team member, participant in the European Under-23 Championships,
- Fulfilment of the requirements of the professional opinion of the youth coach and the relevant coach of the section from the perspective of good prospects,
- Participation in at least eight relevant competitions per year,
- Performance limit according to the international, championship, national, or 1st performance class, where, in terms of performance, athletes meeting the limit of the international performance class are prioritised, followed by championship, national, and 1st performance class, and, in terms of age, senior athletes are prioritised, followed by athletes of the categories U23, U20, U18, and U16.
Performance classes and the Czech Athletics Federation limits
In June 2020, the Athletics Club of the Association of Sports Clubs Vítkovice (SSK Vítkovice), after preliminary discussions with the City of Ostrava, the Moravian-Silesian Region, and major clubs in the region, initiated the establishment of a regional athletics academy as the missing link in the care of the most talented youth aged 15 to 26 in the region, based on the cooperation of regional clubs.
The KAAO member clubs are:
SSK Vítkovice (atletika-vitkovice.cz), Atletika Poruba (atletikaporuba.cz), TJ Třineckých železáren (atletikatrinec.cz), TJ Start Havířov (starthavirov.cz), AK E. Zátopka Kopřivnice (atletikakoprivnice.cz), AK Hošťálkovice (atletikahostalkovice.cz), Tělocvičná jednota Sokol Opava (sokolopava.cz).
Members participate in the operation of the KAAO according to the Statutes of the KAAO
Management of the Academy
The KAAO is governed by a three-member Executive Board. The Executive Board is composed of Ing. Tomáš Břeský (chairman, Atletika Poruba), Mgr. Šárka Mokrá (member, SSK Vítkovice), and PhDr. Jana Sobčíková (member, SSK Vítkovice).
The minutes of the Executive Board meeting is the binding output of the meeting.
The Executive Board shall submit a report once a year to the KAAO member clubs.
The inspecting authority is the Inspecting Commission, composed of Tomáš Kopecký (chairman, for TJ Start Havířov), Jana Feilhauerová (member, for AK E. Zátopek Kopřivnice), and Stanislav Sajdok (member, for TJ Třinecké železárny).