Female coaches in Scotland should have no reservations about stepping up the levels and taking further qualifications.
That’s the message from Linda Smith, who coaches endurance at Lasswade AC and has been involved in Scotland teams as well as recently being selected for a UK Women in Coaching programme which stretches beyond athletics.
Linda and her husband Kirk have enjoyed significant success at Lasswade AC – the duo were our Club Coach of the Year award winners in 2018 – with GB vests in recent years for two of their athletes, Lauren Dickson (hill running) and Sarah Tait (steeplechase).
Sue Gyford spoke to Linda in a special video feature and as she highlighted strong coaching from the likes of Linda Nicholson and Carol Sharp and firmly backed the coaching pathway.
‘I think if you like the sport, or if it’s a sport that you’ve been involved in, and you want to get involved in coaching, I’d definitely say ‘Go for it’,’ said Linda.
‘You can start at entry level and then work your way through like I did. I’ve just tried to learn from other coaches and go on courses.
‘Invariably at clubs there’s someone who is looking for more coaches, especially women.
‘At Lasswade, we definitely encourage women to come in and coach and we would help them progress on their pathway as well.
‘So, yes, definitely I would say to other women to pursue coaching. If you want to coach then it’s something that you can do; don’t be scared of it.
Linda and Kirk Smith receive their Club Coach of the Year award from Eilidh Doyle in 2018 (photo by Bobby Gavin)
Linda stressed that asking for help can be a big part of the learning journey in coaching.
‘I will ask anybody that can help me for any guidance along the way,’ she said.
‘There are quite a few coaches in Scotland, women coaches, that are doing really well just now. Linda Nicholson’s doing really great work with the jumps and obviously Carol Sharp is at a high level.
‘So there are people out there who are showing the way if you like. I would certainly encourage it.
‘Personally I just want to progress and get as far with coaching as I can.
Sue also asked Linda about the UK Women in Coaching course.
‘The UK course was something something I was put forward for by scottishathletics and I was delighted to be selected,’ she explained.
‘It’s a programme with about 20 other women coaches from across different sports. So I’ve been hearing their coaching experience which has been interesting and it’s been a good way to network.
‘The course makes you reflect on your coaching – we’ve been involved in development sessions where we go along and watch a development session happening in Loughborough. That’s been helpful.
‘Another aspect has been to try and be better at coach-athlete relationships.
‘So when that finishes I will come back and see where I think we (Kirk and myself) we can improve on coach-athlete relationships and generally just get more confident in our coaching.’