Rikki Bingham became a Compound Archery Coach with the GB Paralympic Squad in 2014 after a successful career as an archer herself. With World and European silver medals to her name, she has a wealth of experience to pass onto her athletes now competing in Rio.
In 2015, we interviewed Rikki about her career and the lead up to Rio 2016
Can you tell us about your role as Paralympic Compound Coach, what is involved day to day?
Day to day I work primarily with our compound archers both male and female, helping them with their equipment (set up, maintenance, testing) and technique.
I work with the archers alongside other specialists such as our Physio, S&C coach, Psychologist & Biomechanist ensuring that our squad can perform as well as possible at Rio.
I also travel at home and abroad with the team to our national and international competitions and training trips coaching the athletes and working as their agent (someone who goes to the target to score and collect their arrows for them).
Coaching Paralympic athletes is a bit more challenging than an able bodied athlete as there are always other things you need to think about, like ‘how can we make this work from sitting in a chair’ or ‘how can we do this with a prosthetic limb’. It is also more physical, we have to move the luggage and equipment, load wheelchairs and sometimes the athletes on and off buses etc.
What is the situation like with female coaches in Archery?
Within our performance unit the split is 50/50 but this is not reflective of the situation in the UK and I believe the rest of the World. In particular the number of female compound coaches that I know of around the World I could probably count on one hand.
I have found that I have had to work really hard to prove that I am technically competent. When I worked in the archery shop a great number of men would go straight to my male colleagues saying that only ‘they’ could help them even though I had a great deal more expertise. Fellow athletes, particularly on the men’s end of the line could be very patronising when talking technical, to the point that they would actually talk over me during a conversation. I feel that this attitude and the effort it takes to overcome it does put women off going down the coaching route. I am hoping that by seeing female coaches working at the top level it will convince other women that coaching is a viable vocation.
Wth Rio 2016 being your first Paralympics as a Coach and your first as a Mum, how are yo currently feeling about the prospect of leaving your young children for such a long time for the first time?
The prospect of going to the games is really exciting but being away for nearly 3 weeks does make me feel sad and guilty, especially as I will miss my sons first day at school.
I’m just so grateful for my amazing husband and family who support me and look after the kids whilst I’m gone. I’m also very grateful for the technology we have these days, being able to Skype them daily keeps us all relatively sane.
To read the FULL INTERVIEW CLICK HERE
Archery Events will be held from the 10th – 17th September 2016.