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Introducing our new feature – Coach Profile: Steve Fox

Welcome to our new website feature “Coach Profile”. Over the next year, Living Sport will feature the coaching profiles of various coaches across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to help inspire new coaches and to share their expereinces . This week we feature Steve Fox, a rowing and cycling coach from Peterborough.

How did you get into coaching?

I started coaching rugby when my sons started playing. After a few weeks of standing on the touchline the team coach grabbed me to help him run some drills. When my sons also took up rowing the same thing happened and after a while I was offered a paid position as Community Sports Coach to develop rowing within Peterborough schools. Soon after, the Head of PE at a local school suggested I should train as a cycling coach and he arranged for British Cycling coach Alison Lilley to mentor me which was very useful. By then coaching had become something of a passion for me.

Tell us about your club(s)

Thorpe Ventures Hereward Cycling Club is a Satellite Club we started off about 5 years ago by borrowing bikes from Jack Hunt School and running sessions on a Saturday morning. We ran for over a year with only 4 riders which was hard work but then numbers began to increase and now we have around 30 members with new riders coming down regularly. We run weekly coaching sessions, on a Saturday morning for riders of all abilities from non-riders upwards.

I have also been involved with the set up of a community rowing club, Hereward Rowing Club, and despite some early setbacks we have a lovely lake to row on. We’ve purchased equipment with a Sport England grant of £10k and another £10k grant from Awards for All which allows us to send coaches into local schools to get people rowing.

What’s working well for you at the moment?

The first block of Learn to Row courses with Hereward Rowing Club in October went well and we are now concentrating on winter training ready for when the weather improves enough for our new rowers to get back on the water. I’ve been trying for years to get a community based rowing club going and it feels like we are now getting there.

Our Volunteers have been a great win for us. We have worked hard to develop a team of young volunteers at Hereward Cycling Club, with the help and support of British Cycling, and that is now paying dividends. They run our Go-Ride Race Days and several of them are also heavily involved with the Rowing club with two of our volunteers developing towards running the Satellite Clubs at their school when the current project ends.

What are your biggest obstacles?

People who say yes but don’t follow up on their words. Say what you do and do what you say.

What are you passionate about?

Encouraging young people to GET sport. There are so many benefits to being involved in sport at any level and in any role that I feel driven to try and inspire youngsters to find the right sport for them.

Ambitions for the future

My ambition for years has been to open our own Rowing Club and last year we did just that. Expanding from that I’d like to develop a community sports facility where the many local clubs that are too small to fund or run a facility can share a base to deliver non-core sports. There are plenty of people out there passionate about their sports and I think it would be great if they could share the benefits of a dedicated facility and to share the work of running it. Build it and they will come.

Finally what is your coaching philosophy?

The French have a saying apparently that if you roll your sleeves up things get better. There aren’t many obstacle that a bit of hard work and stubbornness won’t overcome. I think that sums it up.

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