Anna Jackson, Coaching UK

Posted on the 6th June 2018

I have now been playing and coaching for 20 years and was lucky enough to be a member of Great Britain’s women’s team from 1998-2008, playing at world championships, European championships and the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.

I first got into wheelchair basketball at the age of 25 – I was a hockey player growing up and after a number of knee operations I reached a point where I could no longer run anymore; and at times had problems walking. After retiring from playing and coaching hockey I struggled with depression but when I discovered wheelchair basketball, my life changed. I got some of my self-confidence, self-belief and my sense of identity back.

I always say that, as a coach – whether as a volunteer or on the books – every day is a school day. I am always looking for new things to learn and try with my players and coaching clients.  But the key thing about coaching is to help people to believe in themselves and their abilities.

All too often I come across people of all ages who have really low self-esteem and self-confidence, so as a coach I know this is a vital thing for me to focus on.

Typically, Saturday is my busiest day. We have our Cheshire Phoenix Club session at the Ellesmere Port Sports Village, and I also assist with Sport Works, delivering sporting sessions for young people with autism.

The morning is spent planning my club coaching sessions and I have to be really flexible and creative. We film our players a lot at the moment, looking at their shooting technique, so I review the videos from last week’s session and incorporate feedback into this week’s. We have players with a real mix of abilities, so it is vital that the sessions cater for everyone’s needs and also challenge everyone.

I think of myself as a holistic coach. I don’t just look at the physical side of the game but also the off-the-court stuff.

I think as a coach of any sport (but especially inclusive sport) you have a bigger role to play in helping players develop their independence, overall health and fitness, and their mental well-being.

Away from the basketball court, I am a community ambassador for the amazing Maggie’s Merseyside at the Clatterbridge Cancer Support Centre – I work hard to promote the work they do and to help raise funds for them. I also run my own business called ‘Believe It Coaching’, which offers wheelchair basketball coaching and tutoring, life coaching and motivational speaking.

Winning the UK Coaching Disability Sport Coach of the Year award in November 2017 was an incredible experience.  I love the work I do in sport; for me it’s the ‘magic’ moments when you see people learn to do something for the first time or they get selected for a regional or national team that makes my job worthwhile.

I am very proud of where I am today.  I believe that at last I am in the right place doing something that excites me and I look forward to getting up in the morning and going to work.  I am lucky that I work in sport and also get a chance to commit a large number of hours to volunteering.

Anna Jackson

Anna is Head Coach at Cheshire Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball Club and at Angels of the North Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Club.
Twitter: @ALJ2372

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