Why did you decide to pursue a career in coaching Chloe, and how has your coaching style evolved over the years?

I have always had a passion for sports, which stems from taking part in many extra-curricular sports clubs since my childhood. Taekwondo has played a big part in my life and I have always enjoyed PE at school, which led me to studying Sports Coaching during my time at Sixth Form. My coaching style has evolved massively throughout the years as I’m constantly gaining new skills, experiences and confidence.  

You started off as an Apprentice, what did you study and how did you find it?

I started my Apprenticeship in July 2021 and have completed a level 2 qualification in Sports Coaching as well as a Level 4 qualification. I really enjoyed working alongside seasoned sports coaches and with my tutor to learn the different theories and how to create my own coaching philosophy. Studying these qualifications was an immensely rewarding experience and has helped to enhance my skill set and knowledge, laying the groundwork for continued growth in the field of sports coaching. I completed my apprenticeship in summer 2023.  

How do you stay up to date with the latest coaching techniques?

Funnily enough, watching TikTok’s has helped me so much with staying up to date with new and creative sports coaching techniques from around the world. Here I can find games that can also include children who have special educational needs.

I also work alongside the apprentices and sports coaches and brainstorm with them to come up with new coaching techniques. Regularly reflecting on my coaching practises and seeking feedback from the Head Coach, Molly, helps me to identify areas for improvement. By combining these strategies, I am able to provide the best possible experience for the young athletes under my guidance.

How do you help your athletes to manage their nerves and anxiety during tournaments and matches?

Before the tournament begins, I always have a positive mindset and encourage the children, trying to keep any nerves at bay. I make sure to recap the rules and run over the techniques that they need to use during the tournament. Proper preparation and familiarisation can help the athletes cope with the environment, routines, and changes.

Open communication with the athletes also allows me to address any concerns I may have and tailor support to individual needs. When the tournament has finished, I engage the athletes in a post-event reflection session where they can discuss their experiences, emotions and challenges with me as well as areas that they did well in and areas for improvement.

Can you discuss your experience working with athletes of all different age groups and skill levels?

During term time, I work in schools with children from reception year up until year 6 (4-11 years old). During the school holidays I work in one of our 7 holiday camp locations around Oxfordshire and look after children from the ages of 4-13.  I attend 3 different schools throughout the week during term time and teach children of all different abilities.

I work at a special educational needs (SEN) school in Abingdon where I help my colleague, Jess, deliver fun and inclusive lessons to children with additional needs. I have started teaching Boccia lately, a sport that’s brand new to me and transcends physical abilities. This sports adaptive nature allows it to be played by athletes of all ages and abilities.

Finally, Chloe, what strategies do you use to motivate and engage children in sports?

Throughout the session, I consistently provide positive feedback and actively participate in the sports to keep the children engaged. In addition to offering out stickers and certificates as tangible encouragement, I extend my efforts beyond the session by communicating with the teachers in the schools and updating them on my techniques and the children’s achievements.

This aligns with the school’s recognition system, which includes both teachhead awards and termly accolades. This collaborative approach ensures a holistic acknowledgement of the children’s progress, reinforcing their accomplishments.