My early coaching experience was all in Canadian schools where even in Primary School we had a very well-developed track and field programme. My main coaching area was jumps, especially high jump, and I was lucky enough to coach several provincial champions over the years.
After moving to Scotland and having my own family my boys joined Giffnock North Endurance squad and loved their years under Dudley Walker’s expert guidance. When I retired six years ago and had more time, I was delighted to join Giffnock as an Endurance Coach for the under 13 squad as I wanted to give something back to the club. I had lots of experience but no Scottish qualifications at that point but with support from the club have now attained Level 3 Coaching Qualifications.
I really love coaching athletics, being able to bring on young athletes, the opportunity to see them grow in confidence and skills is very rewarding. The sense of team work among the endurance coaches is really strong and it’s great to be part of that. The support from parents and families is also incredible and makes for such a good experience whether it’s at training or competitions. The young athletes are a pleasure to work with, their enthusiasm and motivation is so high and they work so hard even in horrendous weather conditions.
There have been so many memorable moments in coaching over the years that it’s almost impossible to choose one but I think the 2020 National Cross Country competition was brilliant. Our Under 13 squad managed to win both team gold medals, an individual gold and an individual bronze. We also had a large number of athletes of all abilities taking part and proving themselves in difficult conditions.
I think lockdown has helped me to see just how important sport and athletics is to our young people. I’m looking forward to a return to training and competition and will never complain about the Scottish weather again!