My Coaching Journey – Rachel Follows
I have been a training and into competitive swimmer since I was 4, one of those children who took to the water naturally, learnt all 4 strokes in a few weeks (my butterfly was questionable but at 4 years old it can be excused!). I dropped in and out of swimming through illness and injury but after working retail for 2 years and training twice a week I simply decided one night after work that enough was enough, swimming is “my thing”. I craved the sport I had grown up with. At the time I was struggling with my health and training was not going well but at the time that wasn’t my biggest pull. It was swimming in general.
That night after work I decided to resign, wrote my letter to my manager and within two weeks I waked out of my job in retail (which i can honestly say I did not enjoy) and got my level 1 and 2 teaching certificates.
Teaching and coaching came natural like swimming did. I was fortunate to land on my feet whilst teaching alongside Malcolm Green at Stockport Metro who asked me if I wanted to pick up some voluntary hours helping him coach.
It was through this I was I could really see my potential and passion for my job, being offered an opportunity to have contact with a top swimming club and Sean Kelly and his British Swimming squad sealed the deal. That was my path to follow.
This developed into me moving away to Gloucester to study for a BSc in Sport Coaching and Science, again landing on my feet with Richard Blackshaw from Stockport Metro being friends with head coach at Gloucester City Swimming Club, Andy Osborne. From this I was given the opportunity to coach for three years with the competition and disability squad, a position that enabled my coaching skills to develop immensely.
Since then I have spent a year in China coaching at an international school, completed a PGCE in Primary Education and am now returning to swimming to complete an MSc in Sport, Activity and Mental Heath.
Coaching in swimming has been by far the greatest thing to have happened to me both professionally and personally. I fell into coaching almost by accident but this “accident” has been the making of me. Coaching and swimming aren’t my job, it never has been. I coach, I don’t go to work!