Feeling the love… Again

The title of this blog might make you this hey up whats this all about? Don’t worry it is not anything kinky far from it…

I am talking about sport and how for a time a fell out of love for a sport I had enjoyed and loved since the age of 10… So 27 years ago… Man I am getting old!!!

For so long I had loved athletics firstly competing as young athlete and doing well winning races, county and regional medals… Enjoying training 3 – 4 times a week making life long friends and meeting my wife…

At an early age I started coaching firstly for work and then started a group in Canterbury with my girlfriend who is now my wife. We did this to help young athletes reach their potential not only in the sport of athletics but in life. Encouraging our athletes to develop as people first whilst improving their running, jumping or throwing.

As a dreamteam coaching partnership Claire and I coached a group largely made up of girls who managed dominate sprints and jumps in their age groups at county level and make numerous English Schools Finals the showcase event of any young athletes career.

It was great; we loved life as athletics coaches and managed teams at local and regional level helping athletes at the UK School Games who are now household names in the UK as seniors winning Commonwealth, European, World and Olympic medals.

We once said to each other we spend more time with our athletes then their parents do… And this was true 2-3 nights a week and weekends for competition.

We continued to coach together until the birth of our son Samuel nearly 8 years ago. Claire then decided to step back from club coaching but has continued to coach juniors at our local athletics track and something she does so well.

I continued to coach and enjoy my atheltics until about 2 years ago when I started suffering from stress, anxiety and depression which turned my whole life upside down. I didn’t know what to do and where to turn and the one thing in my life (apart from Claire & Samuel) that I had always turned to in tough times I wasn’t enjoying (athletics). It was an effort to get motivated to coach and I put off doing things which needed to be done. I had fallen out of love with athletics and I even thought of quitting for an easier life…

A mixture of my mental health along with the politics of sport got me into this position something needed to change but what??

Instead of giving into my feelings and quiting I thought hard and long about an solution to stop the rot before it was too late!

One evening I thought about teaming up with one of my oldest coaches and friends to take some pressure off and because we had worked together for so long and have the same ethos on coaching I wondered if it might work?

The next time saw Del without any mention of the idea from me he said

“What do you think about teaming and working together at training on a Tuesday”.

I thought this must be fate… We are so on the same wave length so I said yep lets do this.

So we started coaching together and things went well and my confidence started to come back. The negative thoughts and attitudes where replaced with positive and excited feelings that I first had when starting athletics.

Gradually I have built up a nice group of young athletes and few older ones which brings me onto Kushal Limbu (a double leg amputee) whom I coached to a top 2 ranking in the world in 2012 just missing out on the London 2012 Paralympics.

There was a real mix of highs and lows that year which included supporting him to compete at the Olympic stadium in the lead up to the games only to have the low of him not being selected due to a admin error…

That said it was a great time in my coaching career and one I am proud of.

Well about 4 months ago Kushal messaged to say after around 3 years out of the sport he wanted to return and compete for team GB at the 2018 Invictas Games. This news got me excited and his first session back took me back to good old days my love of athletics was coming back.

Bring it forward to now July 2018 and things are great. Kushal is still training and had his selection confirmed for the Invictas Games in May.

I have some young athletes who have worked with Claire for a few years are now moving up to me at the club and competing well and more importantly enjoying their athletics.

Last week Claire helped out at a club competition for under 11s and Samuel tagged along to help. He ended up taking part and seeing him trying so hard made me proud. When he decided to run a 600m at the end of the event I was dreading it as he usually stops on a lap of the track after about 100m… Well I was so wrong not only did he finish the race without stopping he didn’t finish last. His determination was amazing and I had a tear in my eye (proud Dad moment)…

The icing on the cake was on Tuesday when Claire and Samuel came down to training see one of our original athletes whom we started coaching at the age of 10 and who is now well on her way to competing for Team GB in Skelton.

Samuel joined in with a long jump session and he loved it; whilst Claire was catching up with our athletes parents. It was amazing and it brought a well deserved smile to my face…

Looking around I had the key people I had coached throughout my career in front of me. My first athlete, my wife (whom I met through athletics), some older athletes and my newset recruits and the coach who helped me as a young athlete and when I needed it the most.

The feeling I had was amazing… I am back in love with the sport of athletics.

The moral of this blog is don’t give up when times are tough try to work out a solution and don’t be affraid to make a change if its needed.

Please share this anyone you think might be interesed.

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