Neve in her first competition
The things your kids can get you into! When my daughter, Neve, decided to join an athletics club after watching London 2012, she and about 200 others turned up for an induction evening at The Cambridge & Coleridge club. Not surprisingly, the club needed more volunteers and coaches to help with the fruits of Seb Coe's 'Olympic Legacy'. Why not I thought, if I'm there anyway I may as well join in!
I completed the Assistant Coaching Course in sub-zero temperatures in December at Norwich University, and have spent the last six months down the track assisting the throwing coaches two nights a week. I've coached karate and cricket previously, but find the multi-disciplined events of athletics quite a different challenge. It's been fascinating to watch the javelin coaches work with my daughter to increase her distance from 18 metres in April, to now approaching 27 metres. In fact, I've been inspired to take up javelin myself and compete as a veteran. My ambition is to be able to throw it as far as my 12 year old daughter one day - but as fast as I can match her distance, she jumps ahead another metre. We're both getting older, but for her it's an advantage :0) On the 20th July, I started the next stage of the Athletics Coaching qualification. As an Alexander Technique teacher, I've always been interested in movement and performance factors and have coached running technique for the past 15 years, so it's been really interesting to find out about coaching techniques for other events.
Myself and nine others attended the first weekend at Bury St Edmunds and I found a mix of parents, ex-athletes and Sports Science students looking to put the theory into practice. The weekend was a combination of classroom work and practical activities on the track - only this time is was much warmer than my last course! The best way to learn how to coach is to put yourself in the athlete's shoes. So we participated both as coaches and as an athlete and tried shot putt, long jump and endurance running techniques. After completing the weekend unscathed (although a few muscles are aching today), I now have six weeks before the next course day to complete a number of activities with young athletes to show I can apply what I've learned where it counts - out on the track and field. So when we talk of London 2012's legacy, it's not just the younger generation that were inspired to get involved. In 10 or 15 years time, I wonder how many of the athletes competing in the Olympics will be supported by a coach who was once a parent dragged down to the local club by their son or daughter :0)