Name: Sarah Kearney
Club: Wirral AC
Event(s) Specialism: Endurance
Guiding principles as a coach: I think the main principles that underpin my coaching are Dedication, ambition, competitiveness, and trying to empower all athletes to strive to become the best they can be regardless of their ability. An awareness that endurance is a late developing sport and having a long-term vision is important. I also have a strong belief in team work.
Dedication- Coaching is given a high priority in my life. If I am not busy coaching, I’m thinking about it, or organising it.
Ambitious and competitive. I want my group WEP to develop into the best Endurance program in the country. Success for me is not just about participation I want them competing at the highest level and winning titles as teams and individuals. I want the athletes in my group to go on to enjoy success as seniors.
Empower and motivate, my athletes to strive to become the best they can be. Athletes are encouraged and incentivised to stick to the coaching program. The program is challenging and progressive but tailored to their stage of development.
Hard work, the right mental qualities, and consistency over time will ultimately lead to success. I don’t get carried away by a young athlete with lots of natural talent. Some coaches focus too much attention on one or two talented athletes. It’s important to make sure that everyone feels valued and supported. In order to do this, I have developed a large coaching team and athletes work in small groups based on ability and not age.
Team work. I put an emphasis on the team and not the individuals where possible. The athletes and coaches work together. We are a competition group and try to take part in a lot of team competitions. There is an expectation that everyone where possible will participate in our agreed fixtures.
Although I can see there is a place for the traditional coach with a select group of athletes, I believe this traditional coaching model is also very limited and creates many problems. I believe passionately in team coaching. I am head coach of WEP, the athletes belong to the program and not me personally. All the coaches input to their success. Endurance covers 400m through to ultra-marathon. It’s not possible for one coach to know everything and also have the right personal qualities to support every athlete. I am building a team and a network to support the program.
I am a qualified Lydiard coach and the program is designed largely following the Lydiard principles, and incorporating other methodologies from UK athletics.
Coaching milestones: I became a coaching assistant to a young middle-distance group in 2010.
Became head coach in 2016 approx. 30 athletes.
2017 became a qualified Lydiard coach, and added 2 coaching assistants.
2018 group growing and starting to enjoy success. 50 athletes 2 coaches 4 coaching assistants.
2019 group changes its name to Wirral Endurance Programme now has 3 coaches, 8 coaching assistants and 70 athletes.
2020, group has 80 athletes 3 coaches and 10 coaching assistants the group actually grew through lockdown and the athletes remained engaged with the program.
Started the UKA event group qualification (waiting for an assessment day).
Going into 2021 grown to 90 athletes, during the 4 years the group has changed from an U11 and U13 group to catering for all age groups through to Seniors.
Achievements to date, too many to include them all but here are the main ones.
Emily Kearney international vest, road and cross country U23.
Northern cross-country champs -Bronze U15 boys
Northern master’s championship record 3000m.
Northern cross-country relays bronze U11 boys .
Gold U13 English fell running Champs Alex Poulston.
Ellen Mary Kearney U15 Gold 800m Welsh Champ.
Silver U15 girls Northern road relays.
Silver U15 girls National 5km champs.
Ellen Mary Kearney international vest.
U11 boys Northern cross country relay champs.
U15 boys silver Northern cross-country relays.
U13 boys silver at the Northern cross-country champs.
Ellen Mary won the Northern and Welsh champs 1500m steeplechase - both in championship records.
U15 boys and girls take silver at the English 5km champs.
Emily Kearney Welsh senior 3000m champ.
Keira Brady Jones Bronze 800m champ English national outdoors.
Bronze U13 boys @ Northern road relays.
U15 Boys Gold @Northern cross-country relays.
U13 Boys Silver @Northern cross-country relays.
U15 Boys Bronze @Northern cross-country champs.
Emily Kearney sets senior county records in half marathon,10km and 10miles.
Keira Brady Jones U17 British indoor 800m champion.
Keira Brady Jones gets her SIAB vest for England for cross country.
U15 Boys Gold @ the Northern Cross country.
U13 Gold @ Northern cross country.
Won the BMC virtual national Bannister mile and 3k events.
Won the Virtual England athletics club relay 5-mile Championship, through to a home international in March.
Ellen Mary finished top in her age group in the Welsh inter region 2km time trial.
Aspiration as a coach: To continue to grow the program to over 100 athletes.
To coach an athlete to an English schools medal.
To coach an athlete to the Commonwealth games.
To develop juniors into seniors and take a Senior northern team medal.
To complete A and B teams in every age group at the Northern relays.
To win the Welsh castles mixed team road relays.