Some of you may recognise the name Julie Pratt-Benterman from her days as an English and Great Britain sprint hurdler. Julie was a World under-20 Champion and made the Commonwealth Games final twice – a pretty impressive CV. It is this experience and success that has fuelled Julie’s other role as a coach.
We had the pleasure of catching up with Julie and finding out more about her coaching career. Find out how Julie got involved in coaching, what advice she would give to other coaches and about her role as a Talent Event Lead with England Athletics.
How did you first get into coaching?
I started coaching school holiday camps when I was 18 years old and really enjoyed engaging with young athletes who were just starting on their journeys. I gained my coaching licence whilst I was still competing and began working with athletes aged under-17 and older.
What do you enjoy most about coaching?
Passing on knowledge and expertise. Seeing what I say and demonstrate to an athlete make a difference to, not only their event, but to them as people and see their confidence grow.
How do you think the role of coach has changed over the years?
I think it has become more wholesome. It is about all the person and how what we do affects their lives. It’s about creating a support network, not just a coach and their athlete.
What athletes do you currently coach?
I am working with sprint and long hurdlers ranging from under-17 to senior level. This past week I have also launched my own hurdles academy for anyone aged under-13 upwards.
What, in your opinion, makes a great coach?
Someone who is continually developing themselves as a person as well as a coach. Someone who is open to working with other coaches on their own development and creating the perfect environment to allow athletes to flourish.
Have there been any occasions as a coach (or outside the sport) where you have overcome doubt or adversity but had the strength/resolve to carry on?
As a former athlete I had many occasions of doubt, not getting the results I had thought I had worked for but, I guess, my self-determination and resilience kept me going.
What advice would you give to any aspiring coach?
Talk and engage with as many other coaches as possible. Use what knowledge you already have and take on board any information anyone can give you. Ask questions.
What advice would you give to women looking to get into coaching?
Never stand at the back of the room and be intimidated. Everyone has earnt their right to be there, and it does not matter what sex you are.
Can you tell us a little bit about your involvement with England Athletics?
I started working with England Athletics on their Youth Talent Programme just before COVID hit. It was a difficult transition to deliver coaching online when everyone was just learning about Teams and Zoom! Once we were back face to face, I joined the Speed team as their Talent Event Lead for Sprint Hurdles, delivered on the European Sprint Hurdles Conference and am now a Regional Coach Lead for the South East.
How does coaching grassroot athletes differ to coaching elite ones?
I like to teach my grassroot athletes the basics well so as they progress, grow, and move up age groups they take it all in their stride (no pun intended!). Elite athletes are a different breed, they live and breathe the sport, but they still need to tap into those basic foundations.
It is clear that Julie’s love for the sport has guided her throughout her coaching journey. Are you passionate about athletics and would like to get involved in coaching? We have a range of courses available including:
- 17/18 November
- 15/16 December
- Leicester 27 November
- Cambridge 18 December
- Bury St Edmunds 19/20 November
- Gateshead 26/27 November
- Carshalton 3/4 December
- Oxford 10/11 December
- 19 November
- 23 November
- 24 November
- 26 November
- 27 November
- 22 November
- 14 December
- Kent 19 November
- Gateshead 3 December