Why did you start coaching, what was your avenue into your coaching journey, did someone encourage you in the early days?
I started coaching as part of my role as a Development Officer within Triathlon Ireland – initially with the schools programme, Triheroes but as my confidence and skill set progressed I became more actively involved in coaching within clubs for both juniors and seniors, as part of New2Tri programmes, skills development for athletes and coaches, and up to High Performance.
Prior to my role in Triathlon Ireland, I was a recreational triathlete – I had (and still have) a huge passion for triathlon and being able to give back in a coaching capacity, particularly to help athletes achieve their potential brings me a huge sense of fulfilment.
I embraced the Triathlon Ireland/World Triathlon Coaching Pathway, initially completing the Trileader course in 2015, followed by World Triathlon Level 1 course in 2019, and recently completing my World Triathlon Level 2 course. Not only did these courses provide me a vast amount of knowledge, it was also an opportunity to learn from the other coaches on these courses. In addition to these courses, I have also completed various CPD modules within the World Triathlon Education and Knowledge Hub such as Physiology of Triathlon – Youth and Juniors, anti-doping courses, and safeguarding courses.
I have received great encouragement from my colleagues within Triathlon Ireland – they have always believed in me & my desire to coach and put me forward for various coaching programs such as the WISH program (Women in Sport High Performance Pathway).
Working with other colleagues who are coaches is instrumental in my development as a High Performance Coach – they provide a safe space to discuss and develop ideas, a sounding board if I’m uncertain about something, and being a friend guiding me on an continuously evolving journey.
What is your ambition in coaching, and what is it that you love about it? Describe a moment that sums up what you love about what you do.
Regarding my ambition in coaching – having athletes (possibly, now only juniors) at the Olympic Games in LA 2028 or Brisbane 2032! Being part of the Development team within Triathlon Ireland has given me the opportunity to work with some fantastic junior athletes over the last five years, it would be amazing to be a part of their Olympic journey.
One of the stand out moments which sums up what I love about what I do is an event myself and one of my colleagues, Gary, organised with Cork Sports Partnership in Fermoy in Co. Cork. The session was with Rebel Wheelers (Rebel Wheelers is an organisation which facilitates children who are eager to participate in all types of physical activities with an emphasis on sports). Prior to the event, some of the children had never heard of a triathlon, let alone participated in one. Within the safe grounds of Fermoy Leisure Centre and Fermoy Town Park, we organised an aquathon (swim & run) and all involved had an amazing experience, the parents/guardians enjoyed it too, and I did my utmost not to cry as they crossed the finish line with beaming smiles!!
Is there any coach that you admire – why?
I recently had the honour of meeting Liza Burgess and I was blown away by her amazing energy, ethic, and enthusiasm. Liza is a former Welsh women’s rugby union player and captain whose career spanned over three decades, a World Rugby Hall of Famer, and she is currently lead coach for the U20 and U18 (Female Pathway). Liza firmly believes in coaching the person holistically to become a better version of themselves whilst understanding and recognising their vulnerabilities and strengths. Being in Liza’s company, one can only be truly inspired listening to her – she captures the room, people engage with her, and you come away a better person from being in her presence – this is something I can only aspire to be!
How did the course go? Describe some of the main activities you did?
During my time at the WISH residential week I got to meet and work with some very inspiring women – listening to their stories, hearing their challenges, and collaborating to become better coaches. Over the six days of course, we had lots of classroom based sessions around leadership competencies and applying them to our roles as High Performance Coaches. Mixed in with the classroom sessions were practical workshops where we got opportunities to work in small groups with specific goals which helped to create group cohesion.
We had Giselle Mather as a guest speaker who spoke so passionately about her coaching values, coaching philosophy, coaching career and the challenges she faced. We also had guest speakers from Olympic Solidarity and the International Olympic Committee, World Triathlon, World Sailing, United World Wrestling, and World Rugby to name a few.