Outside Interest: sports coaching

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 17 Sep 2014

Haydn Morris

Terrence O'Rourke director Haydn Morris talks about his passion for sports coaching.

How did you get into being a sports coach?

When I left university I joined my local sports club. This was on the back of the running boom prompted by the London marathon - I ran in the second run in the early 1980s. Later, as my children became interested in sport, I got roped in to go along to their events and took up coaching as my own participation waned.

What does it involve?

I belong to Poole Runners and coach children from ages eight to 18 at weekends - and also adults once a week. It's part of the 1012 Olympic legacy, trying to get children into sport. Activities include sprinting, jumping, throwing, middle and long-distance running for kids of all abilities, from competition-standard athletes to children with learning difficulties. Last Saturday morning 53 children arrived and we ended the session with fun events, relay racing followed by crab football.

Why do you do it?

Simple - it's good to see children improve following my instruction. But more than that, it is the reward of seeing them really happy doing their sporting activities. I also love the camaraderie of sport. I was one of the 70,000 'Gamers Makers' who volunteered at the London Olympics.

What’s the toughest thing about it?

Parents can be tricky – they obviously want their children to do well and sometimes you have to temper their expectations.

What’s the most rewarding thing about it?

Seeing athletes I have coached feel they have done well, at whatever level, is very rewarding. And when they come back and tell me just that, it's even better.

Are there any similarities between your day job and your role as a sports coach?

Definitely. I use similar tactics and techniques to handle people in and out of the workplace. In my planning role I deal with many clients, some more difficult than others and several with great expectations. But regardless of whether they are the public, local authorities, politicians or budding athletes there are ways I use to encourage and extract information or coax them into doing something, and doing it in a particular way.

Do you have any unusual interests or hobbies that you would like to tell us about? If so, please email planning@haymarket.com