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06th Apr 2021

“The highlights of the athletes you coach are just amazing” Hayley Harrison on the highs and lows of her coaching career

Ann Cronin


Brought to you by Sport Ireland #WomenInSportIRE

“No matter who you’re coaching, there’s just those parts that maybe nobody will ever see, nobody will ever mention, but to you as a coach, they’re just brilliant.”

Hayley Harrison recently revealed some of the most emotional moments of her coaching career to date.

Speaking on Girls with Goals, Hayley explained how meaningful her work as a high performance athletics coach has been, and even shared some of her coaching highlights with us.

“I remember, after the bronze medal of Thomas Barr in Berlin, I ended up sitting with him waiting for the doping test afterwards.”

“And I remember sitting with him in this stark room and I literally just nudged him and said ‘You did it’. And he just said ‘No, we did it.’ And, it’s just one little word, I’m getting emotional now, but it means so much. That one little sentence was worth years of things going up and down.”

You can listen to the full interview below.

Hayley also discussed some of the challenges she has faced coaching other elite athletes, and how one particular realisation lead to her temporarily standing down from coaching.

“I just thought I’d be able to go straight in to coaching, and I could in some respects. I could definitely coach the men, that didn’t bother me, and I could coach youngsters.

“But what I found I couldn’t do, was coach other elite female athletes. And the reason I couldn’t was because I was inwardly jealous, I almost didn’t want them to be better than me.”

“So, because of that, I stepped away. And it’s the only time in thirty odd years that I stepped away from coaching, until I was confident that I could coach somebody to be better than I was.

“If there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to coach one particular sector, that’s not being a good coach. So, I stepped away until I was confident that I could truly give everything I had to make somebody a lot better than I was.”

You can listen to the full interview with Hayley Harrison here.

Over the last few weeks, Girls with Goals has teamed up with Sport Ireland to showcase some of Ireland’s most influential women in sport.

Sporting legends such as Nora Stapleton, Lynne Cantwell and Dr Una May joined us to discuss female participation, leadership and visibility in sport. To listen back to those interviews, click here.

Participating in sport and physical activity provides multiple benefits for physical and mental health, and for overall quality of life. A recent report from Sport Ireland revealed that the most powerful change in encouraging girls to taking part in sport and physical activity is empowering them to feel good enough to join in.

For more information on how you can make a difference, read the new Sport Ireland “Adolescent Girls Get Active” report here.

Brought to you by Sport Ireland #WomeninSportIRE