Sheffield’s Jess Ennis’s club needs lots of new coaches

Golden couple: Olympic champion Jessica Ennis with Toni Minichiello who guided her to glory.        PICTURE: MARTIN RICKETT/pA WIRE
Golden couple: Olympic champion Jessica Ennis with Toni Minichiello who guided her to glory. PICTURE: MARTIN RICKETT/pA WIRE
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THE club that produced Olympic Games gold medal winning heptathlete Jessica Ennis and her coach Toni Minichiello is facing a shortage of coaches to bring the next generation of young stars through.

Sheffield Athletics Club are asking for anyone interested in finding out more about how they can get involved with coaching to contact them as soon as possible.

With the success of Ennis in London inspiring people to take up athletics the club has been inundated with requests to join training sessions.

However, Pete Blakemore, who is a coach at Sheffield AC, says it’s important that there is the right number of coaches to keep the quality high.

He said: “The smaller the group with a coach the more quality the session.

“We’ve been able to absorb a few into training but we could really do with more coaches.

“The Wednesday night sessions are most critical when we’re trying to identify talented athletes in a whole range of events.”

Mr Blakemore, who coaches shot put, javelin and discus, said you don’t have to have a background in athletics or coaching to help out the club: “You do not need to be a qualified athletics coach and there are coaching courses available which the club could assist in funding for volunteers.

“I started off because my son was coming to the club and I thought rather than sit at the side watching for 90 minutes I’d be better off getting involved. I’m not an athlete.

“The initial course to get to stage one level takes a weekend and allows you to assist at sessions. Once you have your level two qualification you’re able to take your own group.

“We’re not asking for a lot of commitment just as much time as someone can put in.

“Most evenings the club has training either at Don Valley Stadium or the English Institute of Sport. The more coaches we have the more members we can have. It’s not just training children either. There’s lots of students and adults who are wanting to come down.

“We’ve had to start a waiting list.”

Minichiell0, who has coached Ennis since she was 12, still works with athletes at the club.

To find out more about the club visit www.sheffieldathletics.co.uk or email Pete Blakemore on admin@sheffieldathletics.co.uk