Events: Level 3 Throws & Multi Events Coach
How many years have you been coaching for?
I had to look this one up, and found my old Level 1 from Sporting Credentials in 2008, so 12 years.
What are the main events that you coach?
Throws, but having had a few decathletes over the years I do also coach pole vault, along with providing some guidance to combined event athletes.
Best moment as a coach?
Too numerous to single out one. It’s always great to be there when an athlete gets a PR after putting in the hard work, or them pulling out a big throw or clearance when it matters to clinch a place on the podium. I have also had to do a reality check in the coaches box at a Nationals or Oceania (particularly with Pole vault) when you realise you are coaching beside Australian sporting royalty (see Grigorieava, Boyd, Burgess, etc.), and trying not to make a fool of yourself!
You were a coach at the 2019 Oceania Championships in Townsville for the Regional Australia Team (RAT). Describe what that experience was like?
Hugely rewarding and great to be part of the RATs. The RAT athletes demonstrated what most coaches want, to compete at your best, to have fun doing so, and to support your team mates. To be honest I was probably a bit out of my depth as a head coach, but the support of the whole RAT management and coaches got me through relatively unscathed.North Queensland athletes often have to compete in both winter and summer seasons.
When writing programs, how do you juggle that as a coach?
For my established athletes, who know their goals and the focus for the season it is relatively easy. Identify the competitions they need to peak for and make sure you have enough down time when not in the building phase. With developing athletes the worst thing you can do is to burn them out with a repetitive 50 week athletics program. Encourage them to play another sport (or two) and find time to socialise away from the track.
Do you or have you had anyone that you can say has been a mentor to you over the years through your coaching journey?
Unfortunately no one who I could call a mentor, probably by the situation of being located in regional Australia. When I got into coaching it was for the simple fact that there were very few coaches in Far North Queensland. With that said I have had the opportunity to learn from some of the best from around Australia, whether directly, or simply indirectly through observation and having a chat at the track.
What advice would you give a prospective coach if they were considering becoming a coach?
The first question I would ask is why they want to get into coaching? Within the sport of athletics we are reliant on volunteers fulfilling many roles, and none of them are any less important than the next, so don’t just get into coaching because you think it is the best way to be involved. You may find more fulfilment, or have a better skills set, for officiating, or as an administrator within a club or organisation. However, if you are getting into coaching for all the right reasons, then go for it. (And there is nothing saying you can’t do all three!)
Once there, take your time in exploring the different disciplines and don’t be in a rush to label yourself as a jumps, throws, sprints or distance coach.
Be humble in your journey as a coach, respect the opinions of others, absorb as much information as you can, and most importantly be patient with your athletes.
Do you have any teams or goals that you would like to reach in your coaching career before you finish?
I hadn’t thought of finishing my coaching career until you mentioned it! At the moment I am happy working with our squad of athletes in Far North Queensland. I think there are plenty of great coaches out there to focus on State and National teams, and I am currently very content looking after a bunch of feral throwers with a few pole vaulters and an occasional combined eventer thrown in for balance.