I’ve always been a rather thoughtful person: Someone who likes to work things out for himself (I’ve seen my earliest school reports!) I get a lot of intrinsic pleasure from understanding how things work.
This, it turns out, is a really useful attribute for a coach. I don’t just tell people do what someone told me to do, or what I did myself, or what I read. I really understand what I’m coaching.
My triathlon coaching career started when I helped my wife-to-be, already a strong swimmer, to become an international, professional triathlete. Finding that there was little technical coaching help available for adult runners, cyclists and swimmers I started to accumulate the knowledge that we needed myself.
Since then I’ve helped a large number of others to reach similar and higher levels. I’ve supported individuals and teams at international events and major championships.
A common theme throughout my coaching career is helping latecomers master the techniques of a new sport. Children starting out in sport either get it and progress, or they quit (and, hopefully, try something else). Great children’s coaches create stimulating environments that lead the best children to develop great attributes in the process.
Adults don’t learn the same way, and, if they’re determined to do triathlon, they don’t quit. To coach adults I found that I had to develop a really deep understanding and an array of coaching techniques.
This ability to coach technique to adults has proved highly effective with youth and junior triathletes – often highly successful in one or two disciplines and needing to get up to speed in the third, or dropping off the pace in their first sport because they’ve reached the limit of their technique.
Before focussing on Heather’s triathlon career I was a bike racer (First Category) and I continued to race into my mid 40s. I still ride most days, often in a coaching capacity, and can hold my own in most company. As a youngster I loved playing all sports but didn’t specialise in any – possibly because I was also busy with music, venture scouts, canoeing and sailing.
And I had a working life outside sport: I studied Engineering at university and worked in manufacturing, electronics, design, software, consultancy and online documentation. In 2011, when the Symbian Foundation collapsed, I took the opportunity to try coaching full-time.
This gives me a very wide range of first hand experience.
I hold Level 3 Triathlon and Level 2 Cycling coaching qualifications. I’m East Region Head Coach for British Triathlon and Senior Coach and Training Co-ordinator at Cambridge Triathlon Club.