Women in Coaching: Ashley McAteer
By Lauren Hardy//Correspondent
With 2014 well under way, many high school swim teams are slowly preparing for the next season of competition. Seasoned coaches are used to this time of transition, but how do new coaches handle the process? This month’s coaching spotlight is dedicated to Ashley McAteer, a former All-American swimmer and rookie head girls coach at Woodmont High School, who gives us an inside perspective of a first timer’s hopes, dreams and motivations.
When did you realize you wanted to be a coach?
I’ve wanted to be a coach for a very long time. It fits with my interests in competitive swimming and in being a Health and Physical Education teacher. The sport has been good to me for more than 16 years. I want to give back and hopefully motivate students to dream big and achieve their goals.
Who inspires you?
My dear friend and mentor, Darren Miller, who recently used his God-given talent to swim all of the Oceans Seven on his first attempt, while raising money for charity. I have also been inspired by the Olympic swimmers I have met over the years that have given back to the sport by hosting motivational talks and swim clinics.
As a younger coach, how will you build a strong coaching foundation?
I will reflect on what my former coaches and mentors have taught me over the years. I hope to emulate the positive characteristics I have seen in each of my previous coaches. I’m also going to attend available coaching clinics and work closely with the Woodmont Administration and veteran coach, Scott Mann, to assure we build upon the success the team has already achieved.
What challenges do you expect to have as a new coach?
I expect that it will be somewhat of a challenge for the swimmers, who will be adjusting to a new coach. Recognizing this, I want to reassure them that we are all on the same page as previous years—building and maintaining a successful team through hard work, teamwork and setting goals.
What is your goal for your first year at Woodmont?
My goal for the first year is to continue to focus on developing the swimmers’ skills to meet personal best times and achieve goals set with them.
What’s your advice to women who are thinking about or want to become a swim coach?
Pursue your desire! You are not only promoting the sport itself, you are also a role model for promoting good health, teamwork and the attainment of goals for students of the next generation.
Going into your first season, what are five characteristics that you think makes a coach successful?
- Instilling the belief in swimmers that they can continually improve and reach goals
- Being able to inspire and challenge the swimmers
- Having a vision and strategy for success
- Persistence: Never give up!
- Patience: Every swimmer is unique, and improvement and success often come in small increments or spurts.