I became part of Leamington C&AC back in 2010 when my daughter, nine at the time expressed an interest in taking up athletics. I was one of those parents who sat by the side and watched the session being coached. Eventually I decided to ask if I could help out and that’s how it all started for me.

I enrolled on the UKA coaching pathway and soon became a Coaching Assistant working alongside the regular coaches in the club. Not long after and wanting to learn more I embarked on the Athletics Coach course. This was a bit more of a challenge but I got there in the end. By this time there had been a few changes in the coaching team I had worked with which meant that I took more of the responsibility for the junior section of the club.

One of the issues that I’d been aware of for some time was the athlete pathway beyond the U15 group. It was either sprints or endurance, there were no throws or jumps coaches at that time but there was a real need to a. keep the interest of the athlete who does not want to run and b. to give the club a better change when entering the track and field competitions.

With my daughter coming to the end of the U15 stage and my son starting as well and taking up shot put I decided to set up some throws sessions. At the start these were for a short time on Tuesday evenings and then on Sunday morning, however the demand came enough to start a throws session on Thursday evenings. My only problem was I still felt that I did not know enough to provide the level of coaching these athletes would need, hence getting on the next level course dedicated to the throwing events. In addition, I arranged for some of the throwers to come along to UKA workshops with the coaches to learn tips from them. Once I’d completed the Event Group Throws course I was able to approach the sessions with a lot more confidence in what I was doing.

The size of the group steadily grew from there starting with two or three athletes training in javelin to now having around ten covering all four throw events. The individual athletes’ results have shown great success as well with many club records being beaten in the last few years.

Personally I’ve not come from an athletics background, which some might think is a disadvantage when trying to coach others. I used to run 100m and 4x100m relay when I was at primary school but that was only for a short period of time. I was put off a bit at secondary school being that kid that is always picked last when the teams are being sorted. It wasn’t until I was 17 that I got back into sport and took up karate. I really took to it and a couple of years later gained a 1st Dan grade, and that is also when I got more into coaching others. So for the next 30 years I coached many people as well as working my way to 5th Dan. When my kids joined athletics it was almost a natural transition for me to take my coaching skills to another sport. All I needed to do was understand the athletics events. After 10 years with athletics I’m not doing too bad and have a good team of throwers for it.

There have been a few occasions when I’ve questioned my motives for being at the track when the nights are long, the ground is frozen and wind has an icy chill to it. It confirms what I know, which is that I want my athletes to succeed and become their best. Seeing them grow in confidence and character is what motivates me and getting the group ready to compete when we’d all rather bit sitting at home in the warm.

It might sound a bit clichéd, but if I had to give any advice to the athletes it would be to believe in yourself. There will be occasions when an event doesn’t go as planned leaving you feeling deflated however leave it behind you. A good coach will understand and be there for you. It’s all part of the learning process that comes with athletics on the road to becoming the best you can. One day I would like to believe that someone I have coached goes on to reach the highest levels in athletics and I can say that I was part of that journey.

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