Athlete to coach

Hannah Macleod

As part of #coachingschanged week we caught up with Rio Gold medallist Hannah MacLeod and her coaching journey.

Elite athletes hold a wealth of knowledge with regards to the technical and tactical skills of their sport; they have experienced the training regime required to achieve the highest level and they absolutely understand the lifestyle sacrifices necessary for success. 

For those elite athletes who retire from competing yet want to continue with their sport this knowledge can really boost their transition from athlete towards being a world-class coach.

This is the journey that Olympic Gold medallist, Hannah MacLeod is taking following her retirement from international hockey and acceptance onto UK Sport’s Athlete to Coach Programme. 

‘The Athlete to Coach programme, run by UK Sport, is designed to help former international athletes accelerate their transition into world class coaching. I was very pleased to have been nominated by Great Britain Hockey for the one-year accelerated learning programme and received confirmation of my place after successfully completing the interview process with UK Sport. 

Over the last 4 years, I have been in a relatively unique position in terms of balancing my playing career with coaching. I say unique simply because there are so few females that take up coaching positions within the sport, let alone whilst playing internationally. After spending 3 seasons with Maidenhead I took over as head coach St.Albans Ladies 1s and 2s during a period of significant growth and development within the club. Whilst it was a huge challenge for me and I will certainly hold my hands up and say I learnt from my mistakes, I’m proud of what we achieved at the club in a relatively short time. 

The Athlete to Coach programme will provide an excellent opportunity for me to check and challenge my coaching style and philosophy whilst proving the opportunities to learn from an array of coaches across numerous Olympic sports. Spending years playing International hockey, particularly under the tutorage of such excellent technical and tactical coaches, has provided me with a great foundation from which to develop my own ideas and ways of working. I am incredibly passionate about being able to continue to contribute to the game in this country and ensure the period of success we have had over the last 7 or so years continues well into the future. I also believe we need to see more female coaches across the whole national and international set-up. 

Transitioning from life as an athlete to that of a coach has been very smooth and I have quickly learnt this is a relatively unique and privileged feeling to have after listening to my peers from other sports who have joined me on the programme. Leaving the sport with an Olympic Gold medal and being able to choose my time to retire really is a dream come true. Whilst stepping back onto the pitch at Bisham Abbey during the England U21’s recent training camp against USA brought with it strong feelings of nostalgia, I am very content with the challenge of trying to impart my knowledge onto our future gold medallists.’

We want to wish Hannah the best of luck for her future in coaching, if you want to learn more about how you can get into coaching please find more info here.