28 Feb 2018
Belinda’s back in the sport as a coach
Belinda Cosgrove was a very a competitive sprinter who ran against Cathy Freeman and Melinda Gainsford-Taylor in their junior years – and she could match them! Career and family followed for Belinda, but as her daughters showed interest in athletics, she returned to the sport, initially coaching them and as often happens it grew from there into a squad.
How did you become involved in coaching?
I started training my own kids, and then the group became larger and larger. Bankstown Seniors Athletics club offered me a role. My dad has always been by my side when I competed now he is by my side again as a coach.
What events do you coach? Where do you coach?
I coach sprints and middle-distance events at the Crest, home track for Bankstown Athletics Club.
Who have been your coaching mentors?
My first coach was a man called Vic Perrit who trained at the crest at Bankstown. But today I love talking to the coaches with a lot of knowledge and wisdom, like Lindsay Watson always up for some handy hints, Michael Dooley, also always great for a laugh and Gavin Beahan my offsider -without his support as a coach I would not be here today. I enjoy speaking to young new keen coaches like Zach Holdsworth, Cass Dooley and Jess Thornton.
Everyone brings something different to the track and they are all great but humble coaches.
Tell us about some of the athletes in your squad?
I have a young squad developing into some senior runners. Josh Keedle and Chris Alaelua are both national level sprinters and are inspiring the younger athletes of the squad. I also have a group competing at the upcoming State Little Athletics Championships in March. For some it will be there first time they have made it and they are excited to get out on the track. I also have some athletes that just missed out making it to state but really have improved and will only keep improving.
The main thing I try to teach these kids is respect your athletes, have fun and climb little mountains because you will eventually get there. Guidance is what produces a good athlete. Without my dad (Pop), Gavin and Michael and the support of Bankstown Seniors Athletic Club, there would be no squad. Colin Whitbread from Bankstown Sports seniors Club has supported my coaching for 10 years now - I cannot believe it’s been that long!
If I can get one athlete to smile and grow and become better, why not?
Enjoyable aspects of coaching?
The conversations you have with the kids especially the little ones. The squad I coach has so many personalities but somehow it all comes together. It’s great to also see them improve and offering plenty of encouragement is what they need.
Do you have any advice to other coaches?
Always plenty of encouragement and a lot of laughs. Never train them too hard. We want to keep these kids in the sport as long as we can and we want them to keep coming back.
They look up to you for guidance and they trust you, therefore you must show the same in return. You should respect all your athletes you coach.
I have a very busy job at Macquarie and two beautiful girls Sharnee and Michaela.
Your own athletics career highlight/s?
Breaking Raelene Boyle’s 200m record in the heat at the nationals. Five minutes later, in the next heat, Cathy Freeman broke my record. I can live with this! But, it has been a highlight getting to run against the best in the country like Cathy Freeman and Mel Gainsford. Not many people can say that!
They were two beautiful girls on and off the track that did Australia proud.
My highlights of the sport. I am going to throw a curveball here. It’s the friends you meet along the way. I have met some beautiful people through athletics and still keep in touch with them today.
Always good when they pop up out of the blue. Had my old friend Freddie Martin come and visit some of my athletes and produced a photo of him and Carl Lewis I don’t know who was more excited the kids or the parents. Also bump into Mel Gainsford-Taylor while our daughters run against each other how ironic is that.
David Tarbotton for Athletics NSW
Image: Belinda Cosgrove and squad (image courtesy of Greg Facer)