What qualities do you believe make a good coach?
There are many qualities that make a good coach, team work, organisation, an understanding of the competition and rules but for me the biggest gift a coach has it their ability to shape young people’s lives. For that reason, I believe that having a well rounded perspective on things outside of the sport, the capability to accept challenge and a willingness to learn from others is vital to support young people both inside and outside of the gym with lessons that they will carry throughout their lives.
What is the age group of your Para athletes?
Our team this year is comprised of athletes in their early teens right the way through to their twenty’s. The youngest athlete on our team is 13 and the oldest is 25.
What motivates you to coach?
I love getting to know my athletes on a personal and professional level. Seeing them develop in their abilities and reaching milestones that often feel beyond them is fantastic. I also enjoy seeing teams come together, particularly teams like those across the different Paracheer divisions where working together and understanding our strengths and challenges as a team is so important… and then of course, watching the team take to the Worlds stage and putting on a show to their fans is brilliant to witness.
What is the most rewarding part of coaching Para Pom?
For me, the most rewarding aspect to this division is putting together a routine that works to a combined skill set. All of our athletes bring a uniqueness to the team and watching that unfold into choreography and skills over the season is great.
Your athletes look up to you what does it mean to be a role model
It’s sometimes a challenge to live up to their expectations, knowing that they are hanging on my every word and looking up to me as a leader can sometimes be overwhelming. I try to remember the sorts of people who inspire me and how those people have helped me be the person I am today. Being able to contribute positively to so many young people is such a great feeling and I am truly grateful for the experiences I’ve been able to provide for our athletes.
How do you typically conduct a class from start to finish? Share a sample lesson plan with me.
We start with a team warm up and stretch and sometimes a game to get things started. We’ll then walk through the routine and see some full-outs so we can identify the specific parts that need working on. Our Paracheer Pom sessions tend to be long with lots of time in between each one so it’s important that we have time to re-fresh our memories of pervious changes and give the athletes plenty of breaks throughout the session.
What coaches, teacher or other people have been great influences in your life and why or how?
There are so many people that I look up to and I’ve been privileged to work with lots of influential, strong women that there are too many to name. I get a lot of inspiration from my Mum who is a hard-working, powerful woman and has worked incredibly hard to be where she is. She’s my check point for any difficulties I might be going through and is my biggest cheerleader. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without her support and influence.
How do you promote a positive energy with your team
We’re so lucky in that we NEVER have a negative energy in the team. I think it’s because we work with athletes and coaches who truly love what they do and put their heart and soul into everything. They’re a pleasure to coach. Of course we have tough training sessions but we try to remember what it is we’re working towards and focus our energy on the task at hand. I also think that Welsh people are some of the most positive people in the world so everybody’s glasses are half full J
Why are you so passionate about the Para division?
Providing a platform for all athletes, regardless of skills, age, gender and ability etc should be something that we all strive towards. Paracheer has this value at its core and I’m passionate about opening up opportunities for those who can often be forgotten.
What are you most excited for when you attended Worlds?
I can’t wait for the opening ceremony. It’s always my favourite part of the week as I feel that it is such an honour to represent your country on a Worlds stage. I also get to spend a week with some of the best people in my life, the memories that we make whilst in Orlando are ones that I will always cherish.