Colin Gardener - Triathlon Coach & Volunteer

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Colin is one of Tyne & Wear Sports talent coaches. Accessing development workshops around behaviour change tactics, strength & conditioning and high performance coach development.

What’s your coaching/volunteer role I work part time for British Triathlon coaching the North East Regional Academy age group 14-19 years on the performance pathway. I also volunteer coach our triathlon club kids/junior section along with several other coaches on various levels. In the winter I run training camps in Southern Spain for age group athletes and some of the older Academy group.

Tell us about your background I used to work as a gym instructor, where I met a gentleman training for triathlon. I entered a local race without much training and ever since then I've been hooked. After peaking in competition in 2004 and winning the North East Grand Prix, arthritis set in and my knees became too painful to race so I pursued the coaching route. I created Ryton Tri Club in 2001 and the latest kids/juniors formed two years ago where this year we will have nearly 100 young budding triathletes.

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I've managed youth relay squads representing GB at European Championships and attended some major European cups as assistant coach. The latest event at World Championships the Junior GB Squad had 6-male athletes in the top 10 and a Silver Medal Junior female

Best thing about being a coach/volunteer Just seeing the younger ones adapt and learn skills to become confident and able to compete at whatever level at one end of the scale then on the other end seeing one of your own athletes who you've coached from a young age develop into a world champion medallist.

Who’s your role model or inspiration As athletes I think the Brownlee Brothers are pretty special. I had some involvement before they became Olympic Medallists. They joined in with Junior squads training camps, dropping into the swim sessions and bike rides to inspire the squad as well as getting some quality training in.

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As a manager/coach then I think Jose Mourinho is a very clever individual who can inspire teams and work with developing talented players to get the best out of them. He uses psychology in many aspects of his coaching management from players to the press!

Have you faced or overcome any barriers in relation to your coaching Lots of logistical issues with delivering sessions to make sure they are inclusive, safe and add value to the process. Some difficulties ensuring all safeguarding parameters are being covered. Having said that the guidelines are there for a good reason and to protect coaches as well as those being coached so you have to works with them.

Advice to other coaches/volunteers looking to get started I think anything is possible if you want it happen, there's always a solution to a problem or issue and the rewards are worth it. Get registered with the sport you want to be involved in and take the first step on the coaching ladder.


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