Saying Yes

Hi everyone!

As the intro page says, I have a busy but exciting year coming up with Iceni and GB U17s. These are easily the two biggest roles I’ve had and come with amazing opportunities to coach teams at major international events. I also believe that this is fantastic time to be coaching Ultimate: there are so many teams and players out there, but so few specialist coaches, so there are plenty of chances for you to do the same.

With this in mind, I want to start off by telling you about my coaching.

I started playing back in 2007 for my university team. At the time I wasn’t aware of any Ultimate coaches and we ran our own sessions. When I joined Camden in 2014, I was one of the more experienced players and naturally ended up running sessions. The more I did it, the more interesting I found it and the more I wanted to do it well, so I did my Level 1 and Level 2 coaching qualifications and ran some beginner sessions for a local university team. I moved from being the veteran running the same old drills I was taught to thoughtfully planning out my sessions, giving players individual feedback and assigning roles. Level 2 was the first time I actually met any other experienced coaches; I remember being so impressed by people teaching Ultimate to kids! Through all these years I didn’t see myself as a coach, just a player saying ‘yes’ to running training and saying ‘yes’ to going to courses when they came up.

Saying ‘yes’ paid off. In 2019 I got an actual job coaching St Mary’s University team. I really didn’t think I would get the role: I’d never been paid to coach before, the Head of Sport had never heard of my club team and I wasn’t confident coaching beginners. I kept it simple in my interview session, running easy drills like throwing in pairs to work on pivoting, doing a 3-person force and playing a game. From here, because I was a registered, working coach I started getting approached to do other bits of coaching work and I just kept saying ‘yes’ to everything. I started going into schools delivering UKU’s Foundation Award and did some other ad hoc work with clubs and in a youth centre. By the time the GB Junior role came up I had enough experience that I felt confident saying ‘yes’ and applying.

I think the lesson I’ve learned is that every opportunity, even if small at the time, is useful and can lead on to bigger and better things. Ultimate is growing and people value good coaching: keep having the confidence to say ‘yes’ and take every experience you can!