20 Nov 2018

Coach Sharee Jones: grounding and confidence

Coach Sharee Jones: grounding and confidence

Author: Page Admin  /  Categories: News  / 
Promising Hawkes Bay-based coach Sharee Jones has just completed her IAAF Level 2 Throws Course in Auckland and is clearly a coach on the move. We chat to Sharee about her rise in the sport and what factors have proved key to her development. 

Since first engaging seriously with the sport as an enthusiastic sixth-form javelin thrower, it is fair to say Sharee Jones has not let the grass grow under her feet.

A national U20 medallist, she now holds several positions within the sport as chair of Hastings AC and secretary and officials co-ordinator for her region.  

Yet since first trying her hand ten years ago, arguably Sharee’s greatest passion is coaching. A natural teacher and keen to pass on her coaching advice, she explains more of her journey so far.

Have a good grounding

Sharee was lucky in that as a younger athlete, the former javelin, discus and hammer thrower experienced working under the quality coaching of Joe Bradley. He instilled in Sharee some good principles, which have stood her in good stead throughout her coaching career.

“I really enjoyed his coaching style and I also liked the fact he got on with everybody,” explains Sharee. “He always had a happy training group so mimicking this is something I try to do with my athletes. For me, it is important that everyone gets on with one another in the training group.”

Build confidence

Sharee insists one of the biggest challenges facing any young coach is to have the belief and confidence that you can do the job competently. 

“Confidence is built over time, but it was what the facilitators told me when attending the IAAF Level 1 Throws course which convinced me I had decent coaching ability. They said I had the skills and a good delivery. I also had that reinforcement at the club with people approaching me to coach their kids, which also confirmed to me that I could coach.”

Technically improve

Sharee is honest enough to admit she made some technical mistakes in her earlier days as a coach but over time she has improved upon her knowledge base.

“I learned a lot by doing the IAAF Level 2 Throws course and it highlighted some areas technically,” explains Sheree, who has three children and works as a nurse. “I learned about some specific skills and drills and how to train more as a group. As the squad has got bigger, it has required more planning and work on various skills and drills.”

Small improvements are key

Sharee Jones has helped develop some highly promising young athletes led by Jayda Akuhata-Brown, a former North Island Secondary Schools medallist. (Note, Jayda tragically died last August of suspected medical causes). 

However, for any emerging coach they need to focus on other factors as a measure of success, according to Sharee.

“If the athletes are setting PB’s and can see an improvement, it means the athlete is happy and that you are doing good work as a coach,” she explains.

Continue to learn

Sharee has never become complacent in her learning and has always sought more knowledge. Whether that has been undertaking courses, attending coaching conferences or chatting to other experts her thirst for learning is constant.

“As a coach you are always looking to develop,” she explains. “Aspects of coaching can change year from year, although attending the IAAF course is more than simply about absorbing technical information. You learn so much from both the course tutors and the other attending coaches. On the IAAF Level 2 course, I learned so much from the likes of (two-time Olympic champion) Dame Valerie Adams, who was taking the course herself and was also part of a leadership seminar.”

Find a mentor

Based down in the Hawkes Bay, Sharee has found it difficult to identify a regular mentor to help guide her career. She occasionally speaks to Masterton-based coach Mark Harris, who acts as a sounding board, but acknowledges that Athletics NZ understand the importance of this and also recognise the value.

“The demographics of being in the Hawkes Bay means I’m flying solo at the moment and sometimes this makes it hard to know if you are always on the right track,” she explains. “As a developing coach, it would be great to find that mentor.”

Enjoy watching others grow

Being a coach demands a particular mindset but for Sharee the pleasure she garners from watching athletes develop and enhance their skills is worth its weight in gold.

“It is rewarding path to know that if I have knowledge that I can pass it on to others,” she explains. “Another motivation for me is many of the youngsters I develop eventually leave the Bay to go to university but a big motivation for me is that they will continue to throw and that one day they will return and pass on to others the knowledge I have given them.”

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