"Be the one to take on the challenge and inspire future players."
What's your background in Ultimate?
I have played Ultimate since I was 15 when I started with a local team - Catch Those (heroes!). In 2008 I went to Vancouver to play for the GB Junior Women and I've also played in Vienna, Germany and Poland with them. I then went on to play for the GB U23 Women's team in 2013 in Toronto.
I played with LeedsLeedsLeeds for 4 seasons and then played more locally with Merseyside Women and turned to coaching.
Who do you coach?
I have coached and played for a local women's team - Merseyside Women for the past 4 years where we have focused on developing female players in the North. I have also coached the GB U17 and more recently the GB U20 women as we prepare for Euros in Poland this year.
Why do you coach Ultimate?
I decided to coach as I thought it was important to give back to the next generation of Ultimate players in the way my coaches did for me when I was younger. I also think it's incredibly important for the future of the sport that we have lots of players giving back to their local communities to support the next generation of players. I'm also very passionate about increasing the female player base across the country and making sure there are equal opportunities for those who want to play.
I found that when I started playing I was interested in tactics and analysing games and being in the role of a coach gives even further scope to do this. Making tiny tweaks to offence or defence depending on game situations is a challenge I really enjoy. Alongside all of this, I really enjoy helping others to grow and improve. It's important to me that we don't just teach skills to younger players but that we also help them to understand why we need them and in what situations.
There's no better feeling than empowering others and seeing them grow and improve.
How did you start coaching?
After I came home from University I found that it was difficult/timely/costly to get to and from Leeds for training. There was no closer competitive team that trained regularly and had set goals for the season. I then decided to take a step down in intensity as a player and work to try and develop women's Ultimate in my local area. There were a few amazing people in the area who were also keen to do this so we got together and made a plan! I owe a lot to these two legends for my development as a coach (big ups to Meggan and Kat!)
I also then decided to apply to coach the GB Juniors with one of my GB team mates, Ruby, and we were successful!
What do you enjoy most about coaching Ultimate?
I really enjoy seeing the improvement of both a team and individuals over a season. It's such a great feeling to see players coming out of their shell and stepping up in the run up to a tournament. I also love how inspiring and motivating it can be to see younger (and older!) players doing this.
What have you learnt from coaching Ultimate?
I think I've learned that no matter if you win or lose, there's always something to take away and work on for the next game or competition. As a player, it's sometimes hard to see that in the moment of losing/winning a game.
What’s been your coaching highlight to date?
I think it has to be winning in sudden death against New Zealand with the GB U20s in Canada last year. Seeing every single one of the team fighting for each other was incredible. Definitely the proudest moment I've had as a coach so far. I'm getting goose bumps reliving it now!
What are your top three tips for a new coach / getting started?
- Find a coaching buddy! They don't necessarily have to coach the same age/gender/experience as you do, just find someone else that you can bounce ideas off and learn from.
- Believe in yourself and have confidence. There will be people who see things differently or think differently to you. There are a million different tactics/techniques/drills that you can do to teach/coach the sport so it's inevitable that coaches will do things differently.
- Lead by example. You can set the tone and feel of your team. You win and you lose with the them and it's so important that you have fun whilst doing this. You get to create the team ethos with the rest of the team so make it great!
Any other tops tips?
If coaching isn't something you haven't thought about before, I'd highly recommend it!
We need more coaches; more players to support a bigger player base so that we have a solid foundation for the future.
We need more younger players; as club teams we need to pull through the next generation of players and we need to take responsibility for that as experienced players and give back to our local communities.
Be the one to take on the challenge and inspire the future players. There are teams doing this in pockets across the country and they are reaping the rewards!
What’s coming up next for you?
Personally, I'm preparing for Euros in Hungary with the legends that are GBX. I cannot wait to step on the field in a GB jersey for the first time with my team mates!
In terms of coaching, as GBU20s we're preparing for Euros in Poland and I'm so excited to see what the girls can do after an amazing weekend at Windfarm, the first UK Open and Women's ranking event of 2019!