I have been a member of Bristol & West AC (formally Bristol Athletic Club) since 1980 and was introduced to the club by Bruce Willerton. I ran under the Guidance of Ron Pannell for around eight years, of which I’m eternally grateful. In that time Ron managed to improve my 5k time by 5 minutes and my 10 miles 12 minutes – The secret to Ron’s success was hard work and regularity.
I started Coaching when my Children took an interest in running and I started to help Mike Morgan and Gareth Davies work with the younger element of the Club.
My first real success happened with my daughter Lucy when she secured the U13 Avon County Cross Country Championships. Lucy went on to a sequence of five consecutive Championship medals.
National success came in 2010 in the form of Olivia Sadler, a young lady that I’d worked with between 2008-12. Olivia was one of three very talented individuals in the squad at the time the others being Lily Owsley (Team GB Olympic Gold Medallist in Hockey 2016) and Miranda Sadler. Combined the group won four silvers and one bronze at the English Schools Championships in 800 & 1,500m between 2010-13 making 11 finals.
Happiness came in 2013 when I started working with Charlotte Green (now Taylor Green for obvious reasons). Our partnership has produced two Midland titles, a SW inter counties Cross Country title and a British Championship Bronze Medal. In the process her 800m time improved by 33 seconds and her 1,500m by 40 seconds.
Recently I have been working primarily with veteran runners and pleased to be working with Clare Jolliffe, Sarah Everitt and Peter Mountain – all three have gained success both nationally at veteran level.
In my opinion, to get the best out of your coaching you have to enjoy working with your group, always be there to support them not just in the highs but the lows to. Look at yourself as I kind of stepping stone on the pathway to Athletic success. More importantly to remember that success is in the hands of the Athlete – the more they put in, the more they get out and your job is to channel effort in the right direction.
I have dropped my sessions from six days a week to 2-3 times a week as I realise that Coaches to, can be exposed to burn out!