Cathy Breslin is an athletics coach based in the UK and specialises in coaching the throwing events to under-15 and under-17 boys and girls. Cathy has over 15 years experience of competing as an heptathlete, ranking highly nationally, and has a wealth of experience to pass on to her athletes. Cathy took time out to chat with the FCN and share her story and tell us about her ambitions for her coaching career.
Tell us a bit about your coaching. How did you get involved with athletics coaching?
Initially I had no intention of coaching until my children joined an athletics club and I noticed a distinct shortage of helpers.
Having been an athlete yourself, did this influence your decision to coach?
Yes, I had an extensive experience of competing for over 15 years ranking highly nationally and training with a number of national coaches. I was a heptathlete with shot put being a favourite of mine and strongest event, both within multi-eventing and as an individual event.
Do you coach male and female athletes? If so, do you find you have to adapt your coaching style to coach men/boys or women/girls?
Yes, I coach both boys and girls U15 and U17, and yes I adapt my style but in more ways than one. All of my group are individuals with differing levels, needs and goals, and I aim to bring out the best in each athlete.
What do you enjoy most about coaching?
Have you faced any challenges as a coach and if so, what has helped you to overcome these?
Yes, the challenges are constant and wide ranging. Athletes and parents tend to want quick results and against my individual plan to develop at a particular pace find myself accommodating some demands. An example of this is the desire to use starting blocks too soon – the basis of the desire that it will definitely results in PBs.
In your opinion, how do you think we can encourage more females to take up coaching within athletics, in particularly the throwing events?
I have struggled to fit into this area (throwing) which is a shame as it is where I feel I would have the greatest impact. I have taken a different direction with my coaching because of this. Club culture needs to embrace female coaches by demonstrating support initially and then throughout the course of our career.
What are your future ambitions as a coach?
I would love to become more involved as a throws coach and the sky’s the limit as to how far I would like to go.
What advice would you give to female athletics coaches who are just starting off in their coaching career?
Be prepared! It’s predominantly a man’s world, generally with lots of egos. Have broad shoulders. Believe in yourself. Be self aware. Never think you know it all – that’s when you fail. You may find you have to prove yourself more so but there are work arounds which is where I am currently at whilst I assess how I can get to where I want to go.