8th June 2018
UK COACHING WEEK - SHARON MORRIS
Being a coach takes time, dedication and hard work and that’s something that Sharon Morris has been doing for many years to help develop potential future stars.
Alongside working on the British Athletics Performance Pathway which aims to support and confirm the next generation of Olympians with programmes such as the Futures Academy Programme, Futures Sprint Relays, AASE (Athlete Academy of Sporting Excellence) and GB Junior Team Management for UK Athletics, she is also a volunteer coach at Birmingham-based club, Birchfield Harriers.
Her coaching role is something that she almost stumbled into but it goes almost hand-in-hand with her work as she can help to identify young athletes who have the potential to develop further.
“I started coaching at Birchfield Harriers through my son who joined the Birchfield academy aged 9. I stayed each time he trained and I spoke with some of the club coaches and they told me I had a good ‘coaching eye’ and encouraged me to take up a coaching qualification with a view to joining them. I did that – I’m now a UKA Level 3 Sprints & Combined Events Coach, and I haven’t looked back since. I won a UKA volunteer coaching award within 12 months.
“I coach 3-4 evenings a week, with my current squad ranging from ages 11-19-years-old.
“I have talent-spotted and coached athletes who have been passed onto other coaches and have achieved senior championship medals and made it onto the World Class Programme and the Olympics, and it’s a joy knowing you’ve taken part in that athlete’s career at the beginning and that they’re still into the sport.”
For all her athletes at Birchfield Harriers, Morris wants to make their journey as fruitful as possible, but stressed the importance of them enjoying what they do.
She feels it’s important that the two are married together so all athletes can hit their individual goals and targets.
“A lot of youngsters start through the club system but what’s important is to make sure these athletes have fun, no matter what age they are.
“They do also need to get used to competition opportunities, be it regional schools or national level, but it’s important to make sure that’s definitely the route the athlete wants to go down.”
She continued: “I like to coach athletes who want to achieve and compete. There is something for everyone in athletics. There’s a wide variety of options available to anybody who wants to run, jump or throw or keep fit.”
Knowing that she has been part of the journey of a future champion by nurturing them at such a young level fills Morris with great pride, and she feels honoured to have been part of their success.
She has helped to shape the careers of schools, county, and national champions and wants to continue to pave the way for more future champions to make an impact in the sport across their respective disciplines.
“I’m extremely proud,” she added. “The good thing about the athletes who have progressed to a high level is that they stay in touch quite regularly. I’m still there as a sounding board if they want to talk about anything or they’ll ask how I’m doing.
“Another thing that’s great is that they often give back to the club by coming back and taking part in my session to inspire the athletes. They’ve even coached a couple of the younger ones which has made them realise that athletics isn’t a quick fix process and that it’s years of training, determination and commitment to be able to make it to the same level.
“My goal as a coach is to take each athlete that I have to the highest level that they can be. I just love coaching!
“Education for all of them is really important and it’s crucial that they’re able to balance whatever education they’re in, be it school, college or University alongside their training. I just want to help them make it as far as they can possibly go.”