Marie-So Nguyen-Tu

"Coaching is even more rewarding than I expected."

What's your background in Ultimate?

I started playing Ultimate in High school in Paris. I was very fortunate that my PE teacher was one of the first in France to teach Ultimate at school. I then played mainly for two women's club teams, YAKA in Paris and SYC in London. I've also represented both France Women and GB Women's Masters.

Where and who do you coach?

I am currently one of the coaches for GB Women's U24 team in preparation for the World’s championship in Heidelberg Germany this summer.

How did you start coaching?

I started leading with the local women’s team in my town when I was at Uni. But I had my real shot with SYC assisting James Burbidge for two years, preparing WUCG 2018 in Cincinnati. I had wanted to coach for a while but worried of a first experience as a non-playing coach. SYC gave me this great opportunity! I’m very grateful to the team, I learnt so much in those 2 years.

Why do you coach Ultimate?

I have been playing Ultimate for a while without really giving back to the community. I really wanted to help a team to meet its goals. Coaching is even more rewarding than I expected.

What do you enjoy most about coaching Ultimate?

Following individual development and seeing people’s progression in the game over months or years. Being able to integrate in the strategies the differences in ability and individuality between players to make one team. I love seeing the excitement of someone coming to me who has found out through training how to execute a throw or a defence.

What have you learnt from coaching Ultimate?

There is a great coaching community in the UK and in Europe ready to help each other. It is quite a humbling experience and I've learnt to change perspective from just playing, having learnt to deliver a message which will be heard by all.

What’s been your coaching highlight to date?

I haven’t been coaching for a long time and I already have great memories. But recently as GB Women U24 we played a warm-up tournament in Bologna, and we had a great opportunity to play against senior teams across Europe. In particularly, it was very special to play against France Women and to push them to sudden death in a very intense and well spirited game.

What are your top three tips for a new coach / getting started?

  • If you want to start coaching but you are under confident like I was, ask someone for help in your project and get started together. For me the best way to start was to be paired with a head coach and learn from them. One coach is never enough for a team.

  • Educate yourself on good practice and methods of coaching, I have learnt a lot by following coaching courses (through my job and by doing the UKU Level 1 Coaching course).

  • Keep what you want to coach and teach simple, be humble and don’t be afraid to say 'I don’t know'.

What’s coming up next for you?

After the U24 worlds championship, I’ll play Euros with GB Women's Masters in October. After that, hopefully more coaching!