It seems to be a requirement of any  new year period to look back and reflect.  To be honest, I have done so much of this over the past couple of weeks – reassessing, re evaluating and re setting goals.  Perhaps my old mate Serendipity was at play when I received a motivational quote via the ever growing presence of social media. The quote – complete with a picturesque sunset on a deserted beach – reminded me to acknowledge my shortcomings and take note of the areas where I need to further develop.  I was reminded to look for people to support and encourage me. To look for people who have patience in me and believe in me. Whom acknowledge, that despite my weaknesses and deficiencies, I am trying my very best.

And when I think of these qualities, I am reminded that they are the essence of a good coach and mentor.  2017 got off to a nostalgic start for me when I was asked to conduct a session with “The Russell Clan”.  You see, I first coached Julia Russell back in Tasmania when I was the Head Coach for Track & Field at the Tasmanian Institute of Sport (circa 1995).  Julia was a committed athlete whom has gone on to develop a huge reputation across the sporting world as a sports massage provider (www.juliarussellmassage.com.au ).  Incidentally, I also travelled with Julia through India as part of the ICL back in 2006 for three months – Julia as massage services and myself as the performance coach for the Dhaka Warriors.  Anyway, I digress!

I have been working with Julia’s  nephew and niece – Ollie and Georgia Rouse, for several months now.  We work on basic speed, acceleration and better running models.  I love it!  Both of the kids are switched on and enthusiastic and I get as much from coaching them as they do from me!   On this particular training day there were a number of the “Russell Clan” present.  Of course Ollie and Georgia’s mum Edwina was there.  But, so too was Ed’s sister Julia (now based in Sydney).  Also along for the session  was Ed’s mum and dad, Julie and Rob (from Ballarat) and her sister Jess (from Geelong).  To round the session out, I was also able to work with Jess’  talented daughters,  Sophia and Cecilia (CC) Powers.

It was a fun hour or so and certainly reminded me of my growing years – I am now coaching generations!  But to be a part of working with these young, enthusiastic and motivated young athletes and see them respond to coaching was very rewarding. To see them follow directions to improve, to listen to me identify their technique shortcomings, to watch them thrive with any encouragement and support and to give of their absolute best in pursuit of addressing weaknesses and deficiencies – what a great experience.  And that is coaching.

Why wait for New Year to role around?  Whether we be an athlete/coach or living an entirely different life, the reality is that we all need to be aware of our shortcomings.  But just as important, perhaps more-so, is a desire to improve those areas of weakness.  And to do that, it is vital that you identify the right people to help you realise your goals – identify your mentor.  Someone whom can challenge, encourage, support and guide you.  And perhaps more importantly – someone whom can celebrate the wins along the way!

Happy New Year.  Bring on 2017.


(Picture from left to right: Georgia Rouse, Cecilia Powers, Julia Russell, John Quinn, Ollie Rouse and Sophia Powers.)