As the Festive Season approaches I hope you are all enjoying what is an exciting and fun time! It is also often a time of year when we reflect and ask ourselves some key questions: How are things going? What is important? Where is my progression? How can I improve? Very often at this time we think about people important to us and ‘the reasons for why we do things’. For some of us it can be a time where we reflect on our relationships with people and the situations that have shaped us over time.
In 2007 I had the privilege to meet and begin working with Elena Baltacha a professional tennis player who was working with a great friend of mine; Nino Severino. At the time I was working in cricket but Nino and ‘Bally’ came to see me to help her with a back injury that was hampering her development as a player. What ensued was an incredible coaching experience and journey that included some tremendous challenges but also some incredible highs including victorious moments at Wimbledon, her attaining British Number 1 and WTA top 50 ranking status and ultimately the honour of seeing Bally achieve her dream of becoming an Olympian at London 2012. Perhaps greater than all of this though for me-Bally became a dear friend who I admired and respected for her wonderful character and the way she treated people.
Tragically we lost Bally in 2014 but Nino (her husband) has worked tirelessly since, to maintain her legacy and memory. In setting up the Elena Baltacha Foundation we as trustees have endeavoured to help make tennis accessible to young people from all backgrounds which Bally had already begun near the end of her career. We continue to work towards this aim.
Why is this story relevant and why do I share it? Well as a Strength and Conditioning Coach and educator of young people, I feel strongly that whilst we are working to improve and support our athletes physically, we have a very important responsibility to help model and shape positive and constructive behaviours in young people too.
Integrity, resilience, compassion and determination are all words we hear bandied around but actually instilling, nurturing and enabling young people to develop these character traits is a truly important process. One that for me, far out-weighs the importance of what their power clean or 1RM for the deadlift looks like! I know that Bally encapsulated all of these and many more wonderful traits that have inspired many of us who knew her.
Last weekend as you can see I had the privilege of attending the Elena Baltacha Foundation Awards and alongside attending a great and moving evening, I came away with two key reflections that I will endeavour to put into action in 2018.
- One was to remember that the young people I work with deserve to work with a highly motivated and productive version of myself and that I should hold myself more to account for my quality of coaching and support of them every day!
- Secondly I reflected that in life every moment is precious and that I should be more thankful for all of the things and people I have in my life and not get hung up on what I may or may not have.
What are you reflecting on as 2017 draws to a close?
In 2018 we will be beginning our delivery of the YSCA Specialist Courses. We are extremely excited about this and cannot wait to get going with them. We hope many of you will come with us on the YSCA youth coaching journey and that we can all help young people ‘get moving’ better than ever before!
I would like to wish you all a very happy and fulfilling Christmas and us at the YSCA would like to extend our best wishes for the end of 2017 and the New Year to come.