"I coach because I enjoy coaching!"
"Be positive, support your team first and foremost. Sometimes everything goes wrong, that’s normal."
What's your background in Ultimate?
I started playing Ultimate at school with friends. I played with local club teams in Leicester and Bristol before joining Chevron Action Flash in 2004. I first played for Great Britain as a junior in 2001 and have gone on to play for the Mixed and Open teams at European and World Championships. This year I have captained the GB Masters team at the European championships in Madrid. I also competed at the World Games with GB in 2009.
Who do you coach?
Currently I am coaching my junior team ‘Flux’, my club team ‘Chevron’ and I'm captaining the GB Masters mens team.
How did you start coaching?
I started coaching at University and have continued to captain/coach ever since. Initially it was because I was generally a leader/captain/organiser within the teams I was playing in, then it became part of my career as a teacher.
Why do you coach Ultimate?
I coach because I enjoy coaching. With Chevron the coaching is about improving every little aspect of our game so we can be best we can be, we can demand more of our players and we can push the idea of elite athletes. With the school team I enjoy coaching the love of the sport, passing on the knowledge and skill so the students can engage with the sport and experience the highs and lows of a sports team.
What do you enjoy most about coaching Ultimate?
Again this is different for different teams. For Chevron I enjoy adapting defensive tactics and seeing them work (sometimes!), I enjoy the competition and the challenge of playing international teams and new players. With Flux I enjoy every moment; you see one of your students do something incredible for them, a catch, a block, a throw, a cut. Seeing them learn, apply and enjoy playing ultimate is the most rewarding aspect of coaching.
What have you learnt from coaching Ultimate?
Every player learns in different ways, get to know your players and ensure you can coach them in a way they understand, you might say the same thing a hundred times but the one time you add something you don’t think is relevant, all of a sudden it will click with a player. Be positive, support your team first and foremost. Sometimes everything goes wrong, that’s normal.
What’s been your coaching highlight to date?
With Chevron the 2009 European Club championships win will always stay with me, the journey the team took was incredible. With Flux a couple of the indoor national championships have been great and this year's World Ultimate Schools championships in Le Mans France was incredible. So proud of the students.
What are your top three tips for a new coach / getting started?
If you are starting as a coach keep it simple, focus on the basics of throwing and catching, always try to scaffold the drills/learning up and be realistic with your aims. Get to know your players and be prepared to plan and un-plan. As a coach you should always prepare your sessions, your equipment and know what you are going to do, but always be prepared to do something completely different, innovate, try things out, adapt and most importantly never stop learning be a sponge and learn from others.
What’s coming up next for you?
Lots of schools competitions with Flux, another season with Chevron and World Masters championships in Australia.