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Recent Success: 2015 - 2018: 68 x medals across regional and national championships, 1 x junior international gold medal, 2 x GB junior selections, 1 x England junior selection and 1 x England senior selection.

We all forge a different path, here is mine… 

I started out as an above average club athlete with lots of ambition and no idea. I settled into the horizontal jumps, and after a dismal trip to the English Schools Championships I realised I needed to understand more about my event if I had any chance of improving. 

 So, in my teens I began assistant coaching within my local athletics club and it turned out I was better at teaching than doing - although I wasn’t to realise this until much later on…

Unlike most, my favourite aspect of training was drills. I was obsessed with getting all the technical movements perfect. Still delusional to think I could make it as an athlete, my desire for knowledge on how to improve carried over into academia where I studied a Sports Coaching degree at Southampton Solent University.

 At university I was mentored in Strength & Conditioning by James Grant (then head of high performance) and in Plyometric training by Erik Little (then England Athletics national coach mentor). I took on Strength & Conditioning, Sports Science and Technical coaching roles where I moved between working with FE & HE talented athlete academies, GB Wheelchair Rugby players and developing club athletes in track & field.

Getting Started… 

 After university I returned to Cambridge and began coaching junior athletics after school whilst developing my own horizontal jumps squad. After six months I was offered an intern Strength & Conditioning role at Oaklands College under the mentorship of Ryan Freckleton. 

 I stayed under Ryan for three years, progressing from intern to academy lead sprints coach and assistant coach to his senior sprints squad. During this time Ryan exposed me to his network, where I soon found additional mentors in therapists Rob Hill, Tawanda Musaka and Gordon Bosworth to name a few… 

Team Wired

Team Wired

 It was at Oaklands that I learned the art of combining coaching practice with sports science, integrating technical training with strength & conditioning in order to accelerate junior athlete’s development from national to international and eventually into senior international performances. Ryan’s attention to programming detail and performance monitoring was something to aspire to. I learned how to apply theory to practice and I discovered how to determine appropriate workloads and intensities for specific outcomes.

 Working within a team of coaches and therapists taught me how to observe movement with more detail and I was continually challenged to look beyond the symptom to find the root cause of any movement dysfunction or injury. New thought processes quickly formed as I questioned my observations and understanding. However, the advice that sticks with me the most was given over breakfast in my first week of work:

“There is no right or wrong, there is sensible and not sensible. If something does not seem sensible then do not do it”

Having learned from the best in the UK, I then visited ALTIS in Phoenix Arizona as part their Apprentice Coach Programme. For a week I shadowed, observed and listened to a team of coaches including Dan Dfaff and Stu McMillan. The take home from this programme was very simple:

 “To be a specialist you have to be a generalist, and you will make mistakes.”

I returned home with a new appreciation of the learning opportunities afforded to me. I began making copious amounts of notes from each coaching session and conversation I was involved in; listening to podcasts; and finding further courses in strength & conditioning and various therapies. 

Cambridge University Athletics Club - Jumps Squad

Cambridge University Athletics Club - Jumps Squad

Becoming a coach… 

My ambition as a coach has always been to develop my own world-class system from the ground up. So whilst working at Oaklands, I also maintained 2 horizontal jumps squads in Cambridge: one with the university and one with Cambridge & Coleridge Athletics club, as well as working with a few athletes remotely. 

I started applying the lessons I had learned from my mentors and my experiences in high performance environments to my amateur squads. Instilling the notion of excellence in execution and work ethic, beyond the standard normally expected at an amateur athletics club. This led to a number of great improvements, most notably from junior athlete Adelaide Omitowoju who was selected to represent England at the Schools International and won gold with a personal best performance of 11.90m in Triple Jump.

I took on Molly Kingsbury as my first para-athlete, T37 British record holder in the Long Jump and World Youth Gold medallist. She had come to me as she was returning from a back injury and struggling to train. After a few months of problem solving, Molly had qualified for the World Para Athletic Junior Championships. In 2018, at the age of 16, she then continued her success by being selected for the England Team at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.  

In my final year at Oaklands College I led the coaching for Brandon Mingelli, a talented athlete with a PB of 10.74.  By the end of the year he had managed to cut down his time to 10.58, earning him a national gold medal for the 100m and a GB junior vest at the Loughborough International meet. 

Molly Kingsbury - Para-World Junior Championships

Molly Kingsbury - Para-World Junior Championships

Working with these and so many other athletes has taught me the importance of athlete-entered and tailor-made programmes in order to achieve high level performances. 

Where now? 

In July 2018, barely having started my career, I decided I needed a change. I left my positions at Oaklands College, with the senior sprints squad, and with Cambridge University Athletics Club. However, I am continuing to develop my Cambridge & Coleridge AC squad. 

Since taking a step back, I have been fortunate enough to consult with a number of different coaches and athletes on a freelance basis, write and deliver coach education internationally, and I have been accepted to study an MSc in Sports Biomechanics at Loughborough University starting October 2019. 

To be continued…. 

 

What I do

Deshawn TJ

Horizontal Jumpers

I coach ambitious horizontal jumps athletes at all stages of development. Athletes with high aspirations and commitment, desiring an individualised approach.

Abbie Accel

Speed & Power Athletes

I work with individual and team-sports athletes to become stronger, faster, fitter and able move better.

Girls Gym

Strength Training

Designed to increase athleticism & confidence for athlete’s of all levels, I provide bespoke strength training programmes in-person and remotely.

Therapy

Therapy

Combining soft tissue massage, osteopathic techniques and exercise intervention. I provide training, competition and private appointment based support to all.


Education