Coaching Lives – week eight: Neil Renton

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Number of years as a coach: Qualified UK athletics coach since 1998.

Club: Gala Harriers.

Base: Mainly Tweedbank, but other venues throughout the Borders are used when appropriate.

Number of athletes: 15, although when the youngsters come along throughout the summer season, this increases significantly.

Hours of training per week: Between four and six hours of coaching at the training sessions, but the programme planning, emails and phone calls all add to the coaching commitment.

Greatest achievement in coaching: There is great satisfaction in working with performers and helping them achieve their goals. While it is a great thrill playing a part in an athlete reaching the international stage or perhaps winning a national championship, it is also very rewarding to see athletes develop skills and reach their own personal goals.

Inspiration: There are several people who have influenced me over the years, but the real inspiration are the athletes who come along and train week in, week out, year in and year out. They are prepared to train and compete in all sorts of weather conditions and the coach needs to match that commitment.

What makes a good athlete: They have to quite an armoury to be good and succeed. As a youngster, an athlete needs to develop the skills and base fitness. Athletes need to train regularly, eat and drink properly, be appropriately conditioned for their event. They will have a positive attitude to their training, respect their competitors, but maybe most importantly, enjoy their sport.

Most enjoy about coaching: Assisting athletes to achieve things that they may have thought at one time to be beyond them.

Least enjoy: Probably the same as most coaches in Scotland – the lack of decent weather.

Aims for 2012 and beyond: To get more people involved and stay involved in athletics. Over the last few years athletes from the Borders have gone on to compete at a very high level. I’m sure all the coaches throughout the region want to build on this and have more of our athletes competing in district, national and international events.