Podcast: Coaching Voices with Carol Jackson

"It's been a great life in coaching," says high jump coach Carol Jackson, the guest for the second part of England Athletics' Coaching Voices podcast series which looks to capture expertise, personality and opinion from renowned coaches.

Carol, who is also an accomplished event organiser, has worked with the likes of Olympic silver medallist Robbie Grabarz, former British record holder Mark Naylor and European under-18 champion Dominic Ogbechie, but there is one thing about her that may surprise you.

"Never in my life have I cleared a high jump bar," she admits. "I was a long jumper... I loved athletics but I was the basic, good team member that would do any event that you wanted me to... but for the points."

In this episode, she talks to interviewer Tom McNab about the greatest influences on her career, as well as her desire for more female role models and more respect for women in coaching.

Carol credits Eric Laxen at Hillingdon Athletic Club for giving her an opportunity from which she has never looked back from: "He asked me if I would come in to help him out," she recalls. "I had no expertise in high jump at all, I was probably 21 at the time, 22 at the most."

Carol Jackson celebrates Dominic Ogbechie Euro U18 gold Gyor 2018

She considers herself lucky to have moved to Greater London from Ulverston in Cumbria - where there were no nearby athletics facilities - when she was young. But alongside a small slice of fortune has come decades of determination at a time when female coaches were few and far between.

"It cost me a social life, without a shadow of a doubt," says the Bedford International Games Meeting Director.

"In my twenties, I was totally committed to going with my athletes wherever they went, so I would regularly say 'I can't go out on Saturday evening because I've got to be in Cosford at this time.' "

"There weren't any other women that I had contact with, for probably 35 years."

Carol believes that qualities which make great coaches include: "Empathy with your athletes, the ability to explain in great detail - in a million different ways - how to do something, a love of the event. It doesn't have to be at the top level," she adds. "You can be a great coach and still work with youngsters."


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