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Jane Hosgood and the Swansea Harriers Pole Vault Group

09/09/2019 00:00, I Mewn Blog /

Pole Vault? Didn’t you coach Aikido for over 30 years? Yes. Now you coach pole vault as part of a group in Swansea? Yes. Believe it or not the two are not so different, both are about not getting in the way of the energy, both use sticks, both very technical.

How did I come to change? I am going to point the finger at a Groom, Mark Beharrell.  I filmed his wedding in August 2012, and in pre wedding interview, instead of finding out what they had planned for their special day, Mark convinced me I wanted to coach pole vault.

He was so convincing that I thought I should take a look.

Seven years later I find myself jumping around like a demented squirrel as William Trott one of the youngsters who started pole vaulting at the very beginning of the journey, clears a bar to win the UK Championships. He smiles across at me and that feeling of pure shared enjoyment is beyond anything. He is happy, and so am I. Simple.

Life can be really tough at times, I have had my fair share, but these moments see you through.

Mark was so right, coaching pole vault is something else. In some ways it is very simple, you run as fast as you can with a big stick, and jump, but it is also very complex. More than anything it takes self-belief. Doubts launch themselves at you as you stand on the runway, attempting to blow any idea of taking off out of the sky. You have to help the athletes understand the whole picture, mind, body, emotions. You build the whole person and their belief in themselves, not just in pole vault, but across life.  If things get tough you help them stick at it, learn from it, try to be positive.

At training last night, the season ending, there was a lot of laughter. “I have enjoyed this season” Craig tells me. I think we all have. Coaching and learning together is not always easy, but it is a lot of fun, and it seems to bring the best out in the athletes, and us.

We each have our part, I seem to have become the glue between the four of us, Islwyn, Mark, Craig and Me.  There is no ownership over the athletes, they ask who they want to for help and we step in where we think we can help. We are different personalities, we have different strengths and weaknesses and we have different knowledge.

Tonight I asked Will, how do you see my coaching style?  “Well, you only tell me what I need to know, you are fast acting, very informative, but not over the top, and very good at competition physchology.”  I think on this nod, and ask Islwyn, “Athlete centred, innovative, encouraging”, I nod, “Craig, what do you think? “Argumentative” “No I am not” “Yes you are” and then we both burst out laughing. We are opposites, but it creates energy that works, the athletes get the best from us.

Looking back I am so grateful I filmed that Wedding and that Ed Thompson let me stand and watch and learn, and wind lots of bars. I am also grateful that Craig showed up looking to coach, and Islwyn, and then Mark returned from Dubai. I look forward to the time we all spend together, not just the coaches, but the athletes too.