Tina Shaw - LEVEL 2 WEIGHTLIFTING COACH
What’s your coaching/volunteer role? I am a Olympic Weighlifting Coach at Cube Weightlifting Academy, North Shields. I specialise in the Olympic lifts, but also coach powerlifting and sports specific Strength & Conditioning. Not only am I Level 2 Coach and Level 3 Personal Trainer, I am also a Level 2 Technical Official for British Weightlifting which means I am a referee for the sport.
Tell us about your background? I originally worked as a property lawyer and left to start my own fitness business. I was freelance fitness instructor and personal trainer for almost 3 years. And although I did enjoy it, it was very lonely being self-employed and I felt like I was never not working! I initially went to Cube Weightlifting Academy to learn Olympic Weightlifting for a British Weightlifting course I wanted to do. I found that I loved training with the team and soon started getting involved with helping to coach the youth team. I initially found it difficult because I didn't feel confident in my own lifting, so didn't feel like I was the right person to coach others. But with time, and a lot of mentoring, I feel I have become a better coach and a better lifter myself.
I now work back in law so I have evenings and weekends free to volunteer at the club. I feel like I have the best of both worlds.
When I decided to become a Technical Official for British Weightlifting, it was to gain more experience of the sport. But I love being part of the development of the sport and understanding the mechanics of a competition. I recently refereed at the British Junior Championships, which was a great honour given to me by Olympian Rebekah Tiler's coach, Ed Halstead, who has also been a great mentor too for me.
Best thing about being a coach/volunteer? I take great joy from seeing the youth lifters coming up the ranks and seeing how they progress month on month. We recently had a boy who was very nervous about competing, so I sat him down and said that I thought he could do it, but it was his choice. He came back to me and said he had given it much thought, and he was going to compete. I had picked him a competition that was quite fun, and on the day, he did amazing. He lifted with his best technique, was so focused and even got a PB. Since that first competition, I have seen a change in his attitude in the sessions and he is more focused.
When my friends and family don't quite understand why I give away all of my spare time so freely, that I don't get paid for, I tell them about the amazing journeys of other people that I get to be a part of.
Who’s your role model or inspiration? My coach, Josh Mosavi. He's a great coach who can see the tiniest fault and knows how to correct it. He knows how to get the best out of the athletes and is very well liked and respected. He gives all of his time and effort to the team, and never stops encouraging us to progress. Without his encouragement, I wouldn't be a Technical Official, and I wouldn't be getting the opportunities to be at the national competitions without his support.
Have you faced or overcome any barriers in relation to your coaching? I think it's hard being a female coach as there are very few top female coaches in weightlifting in Britain to aspire to. I feel like, although the sport is very inclusive, the top spots coaching in weightlifting are still very male dominated. I hope that I am able to encourage more women to get involved at all levels in the sport.
I have had amazing support from the Head Coach and have learnt from other coaches and colleagues on how they deal with issues in their club or how they solve problems.
Advice to other coaches/volunteers looking to get started? I would say that it is totally worth it. Some children who are struggling for a role model in their life, and you might say one thing, or do one thing, that might change that child's prospective on their life. I think it is important to have grassroots coaches who not only help develop the sport but also help develop communities around their clubs. We are such an important part of any community and need as much support as possible. So whether it's a little bit of fundraising or helping with repairs at your local sports club you will be part of something really important!