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30 Sep 2019 206

Performance coaching graduate realises her dreams of wearing the red rose of England

Notts Athletic Club Pole Vault Coach Maxine Robbins has realised her coaching dreams, after being selected to coach the English pole vault team at the Manchester International 2019.

The event, which took place on the 14 August at Manchester Regional Arena, saw athletics teams from the home countries, the British Athletic League, the UK Women’s League, GB Juniors, as well as international athletes compete against each other.

Looking after athletes Ethan Walsh – who was also making his England debut – and Felicia Miloro, Robbins, alongside their coach Scott Simpson, helped the pair to joint-second and joint-third place respectively, with Felicia vaulting a height of 3.81 and Ethan, 4.96.

As a graduate of UK Coaching’s Women into High Performance programme – which supports female coaches who have the potential to transition into high-performance coaching – Robbins was chosen for the role by England Athletics’ Coach and Athlete Development Manager Femi Akinsanya.

Perfect opportunity

Explaining why he selected Robbins for the international coaching experience Akinsanya said:

Maxine started her coach development in 2013, when she was invited onto our England Athletics National Coach Development Programme.

“Maxine attended every seminar and showed a great desire to learn, be challenged and mentored to help her progress and upskill her coaching knowledge. How far she came was demonstrated by the fact that some of her athletes were subsequently invited onto our England Athletics Talent Programme.

“Once she had graduated from the Women into High Performance programme the next step was to give Maxine some international experience and Manchester International was the perfect opportunity.” 

‘Why not me?’

And indeed, it was the programme that galvanised the 52 year-old to seek out high-performance coaching opportunities.

“I said at the end of my time on the Women into High Performance programme that [coaching for England] was a goal I wanted to achieve. I thought ‘why not me?’,” said Robbins.   

“The programme gave me the confidence and impetus to put my head above the parapet and ask Femi to be involved, so when I was selected I was proud and excited.

Getting my England kit was a very significant moment, as was being in the coach briefing before the competition, where team leader Kelly Sotherton told us all how proud we should be to represent our country.

Robbins, who is a physiotherapist by trade, got into coaching on a voluntary basis after her daughter took up pole vaulting. She graduated from the 2017-2018 cohort of Women into High Performance, which works with governing bodies of sport to better support female coaches into high-performance coaching.

Read the selection announcement for the 2019-2020 edition of the programme.