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Judith Gooding talks about how coaching is a community

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03/07/2019 00:00, In Blog /

On a humid track by the sea in Swansea with athletes and coaches training in the background, we caught up with Swansea Harriers coach Judith Gooding to find out more about her coaching experiences.

She began coaching when she was just 18 years old. When I asked her how she got into coaching her response was not an answer I was expecting. She said, “My husband was a 400m hurdler and Triple Jumper. At the time I had already coached a variety of other sports including Football, Netball and Karate and, as I wanted to further my knowledge, I thought I’d give it a go.” It is clear after over 25 years coaching that she found something that she loves.

"I have been lucky to coach athletes from a beginner level to an elite level and from a club level to an international level which has helped me build on my experience as a coach."

However, it is not just athletes that Judith has coached over the years. She has had the opportunity to coach 3 lifeguards who were on the GB team for lifeguarding. She said that her athletics knowledge has helped her “support athletes who do other sports.” She added, “I like the enjoyment of figuring out how to help athletes in other sports. I look at what they want to get out of the training and what they need to get out of the training and certain elements can be the same but there are lots of similarities too.”

Despite leading a sprints group on her own in Swansea, she is able to look to the connection she has made whilst coaching for help and advice. She said,
“I worked with a coach when I first began. Now as I’ve gone further into coaching, I like to use different coaches for different areas of training. I tend to approach coaches I’ve met along my journey from all over the UK. We’ve kept in touch because we’ve become friends and we help each other out a lot and share knowledge.”

Judith was involved in the Female Coach Legacy Programme back in 2014. She attended with 6 other female coaches from all over the UK and they all participated in various coaching workshops. Judith and the other women all gained invaluable support and they still have that support today. Judith said, “That support is still ongoing today as now we’ve met each other we still keep in touch together.”

There was one workshop that she often looks back on to this day. She said “They encouraged us to come up with our own coaching philosophy and I’ve stuck to mine ever since I wrote it down. I think all coaches should have a coaching philosophy as sometimes people come into coaching and forget why they are doing it and why they started.”

Judith's own coaching philopsophy: “For me, I aim to encourage athletes of all levels, backgrounds and sporting disciplines and to help and support them as much as I can.”

The track was now dotted with only a handful of athletes and coaches, but the sun was still out and I had one last burning question. I asked Judith what advice she would give to a coach just starting out today. She said, “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, persevere and build a group together with another coach or join in with a more experienced coach to begin with. The rewards are endless.”

Becoming an athletics coach is one of the most rewarding opportunities you could take up and the places and journey’s coaching athletics can take you are endless. You could be using your knowledge to coach athletes from all different levels, backgrounds and sports. If you are a new coach and looking for support, reach out to the coaches in your club or the coaches you meet along the way. Coaching is a community, designed to support to most novice of a coaches all the way to most experienced. 

If you are looking to start your coaching journey then have a look at our available courses here