From competing internationally to supporting future Olympians: Cath Mijovic’s coaching journey

This week to mark UK Coaching Week, we’re celebrating the achievements and contributions of coaches across the pathway from those who are starting their journey, to those like Cath Mijovic who have worked their way up to the performance level.  

We recently caught up with Cath at the Youth Talent Programme camp in Birmingham to find out more about her journey in the sport, and what she enjoys the most about supporting athletes on our Talent Pathway.  

Starting in sprints to the world stage 

Those who know Cath as an accomplished endurance athlete and coach may be surprised to hear that she actually started with the shorter distances: 

"I started in the sport as a sprinter at my local club when I was sixteen and it wasn’t until I went to the University of Birmingham that I started to do more running and enjoy the middle distances."

"After university I stayed in the midlands and became a member of Birchfield Harriers where I stayed for many years. Eventually in my thirties I became a GB international and raced at the World Half Marathon Championships and in the 10k on the roads. "

Taking the first step in to coaching 

Like many, Cath got into coaching when her daughter started in the sport to support her local club, Bromsgrove and Redditch. 

"I noticed that the club needed some volunteers, so I started to help the coach who was already there. I really enjoyed getting stuck in so when he moved on, I started doing my qualifications and building a bigger group a the club."

"From there I had an athlete make it on to England Athletics’ Youth Talent Programme based at the University of Birmingham and through talking to the coaches and hub managers, I really loved the set up and so got involved in volunteering there too."

Supporting the Youth Talent Programme 

Cath is one of the resident endurance coaches who support athletes across the Talent Pathway, and she relishes the opportunity to support the country’s up-and-coming future Olympians. 

"The Youth Talent Programme is fantastic for young athletes as you get to train alongside a lot of athletes who are at a similar level to you. You are exposed to different types of sessions from a range of coaches and can get specialist sessions and advice on maintaining a healthy athlete lifestyle from nutrition support to sleep and strength and conditioning. It is those extra aspects which we provide on the Youth Talent Programme which helps athletes who may not get the same support through their club."

"My favourite thing about coaching on the Youth Talent Programme is meeting all the athletes who I might not necessarily have been able to speak to. I’m not their personal coach and they don’t know me before they come to us but it’s absolutely fantastic to speak to them, feel their enthusiasm and help them get their rewards which they truly deserve with the effort they put in."

Continuing to develop as a performance coach 

The Youth Talent Programme doesn’t only support the athletes to fulfil their potential, but it also brings their personal coaches along on the journey with them – which is exactly how Cath took her first step into performance coaching. 

"We actively welcome personal coaches to come along to training weekends with their athletes and it is very beneficial to do so. When I was a personal coach, it was fantastic to network with the other coaches whether they were supporting individual athletes or running the sessions."

"When an athlete comes on to the Programme, we can have as much or as little contact with coaches as they wish. We are always happy to discuss the sessions, be available to email with any questions or issues so we can tailor our delivery to support the needs of the athlete. 

"I have learned loads from being a coach on the Programme, especially through interacting with the other coaches, not just from the endurance section but from the other personal coaches who come along. The athletes also bring along a lot of knowledge they have gained throughout their athletics journey which we love to use and inform our sessions."

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