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From Coached to Coach

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UK Coaching Week took place from 7-13 June, celebrating and supporting coaches across the country for all they do.

Gail Nicholls is a coach and secretary at Harlow Triathlon Club who first got involved in triathlon aged 50 and has since gone on to support others in their swim, bike, run journey, including providing free online classes since the pandemic began.

“I first started competing in triathlon races in 2015, I wasn’t a very good swimmer at the time but had some proper coaching and put everything I had into becoming better,” Nicholls said.

“In a short space of time I seemed good enough to try and qualify for age group, so in 2017 I registered for and then took part in the 2018 European Multisport Festival in Ibiza and the following year, the 2019 World Championships in Pontevedra, both of those I came 9th place.

“It showed me, with the right coaching and dedication, anything was achievable. I knew from that point I wanted to give something back and be a coach myself.”

British Triathlon run a coaching pathway that provides coaches and aspiring coaches with the skills and opportunities to learn, develop and grow their coaching ability to support triathletes.

The first step on the pathway is Level 1 which allows the coach to lead and deliver sessions within a club environment and has been developed to teach the fundamentals of sport coaching. You can find out more about Level 1 coaching qualification by clicking here.

“When Covid came and we had lockdown, all the gyms were shut obviously and I spent a lot of my time training,” Nicholls added. “I was looking and doing other people’s online classes at first but then a friend asked me…why not do your own classes and start up for friends and family?

“I really only ever thought it would last a few weeks but I had lots of interest and have kept it going for those who still work from home and have not gone back to the gym.”

Nicholls set up a private group on Facebook, enrolled herself on a ‘Gym & Fitness plus PT’ diploma and made sure she was insured to run the sessions, and has run over 170 so far with no plans to stop.

“My three classes a week consist of strength & conditioning with light weights,” she commented.

“I also do two other classes which consist of cardio and interval training, up until now I’ve done over 170 classes for free and will continue if the demand is there. It’s great to get good feedback that I motivated a lot of people, it’s very rewarding.

“I want to try and make a difference into helping some of those in my club progress just like I had done and give something of my experiences back. It’s really great when you can see others making progress. My favourite thing is the great relationships that you can build as a coach and understand it’s about helping people meet their goals and their dreams.

“Clubs always need plenty of volunteers to run things you can never have enough, if coaching is something that an individual would like to try I would definitely encourage it.”

To find out more about coaching in triathlon and how you can get involved or further your skills, check out the coaching section of the British Triathlon website by clicking on the button below.

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