a19b69dba22e8e8fd340ebc156e1267821663f52For this Spotlight Interview, we asked Coach Erin K. some questions. Coach Erin coaches track and field with CoachUp. She focuses on perfecting an athlete’s running technique and some of the technical aspects of sprinting.

Tell us about yourself:

My mom was a high jumper at her high school in Wisconsin in the 70’s, back when they still barrel rolled into a sawdust pit! When I was young we were constantly high jumping onto her bed. Three NAIA All-American awards and 20 years later and I still have a blast jumping with my athletes at practice!

Why did you decide to become a private coach?

Growing up in Southern Oregon, my parents made sure that I was able to receive the best coaching available and even drove 30 minutes to a nearby town just so I could play on a more competitive team. After I graduated high school, my parents moved to a small town in northern Idaho where my youngest brother entered high school. Zach is way taller than me, more coordinated, and probably even a little smarter. What we do have in common is that while we were both very athletic we also happened to be kind of goofy and clumsy. While I was given the chance to receive special coaching and compete all over the west coast, those opportunities just were not available for Zach. I was still in college at the time, and my mom would call me and ask for advice, but as you can imagine, it’s hard to coach high jump over the phone. I am positive that he could have had a successful collegiate athletic career if he’d had the advantages that I did. That is the reason I wanted to be a coach and it’s the reason I love coaching more and more every season. When I’m standing in the ever present northwest rain and I see that goofy kid have a breakthrough moment, I totally forget about my soggy socks and frozen fingers.

What can a client expect from private lessons with you?

Everything I do in a lesson is for a reason. Too many coaches out there do things because ‘It’s the way it’s always been done’. A good coach is like a good athlete. You have to be constantly learning and improving to be your best.

What is your coaching style or philosophy?

Fun and focused. Working hard and having fun!

Who is your favorite coach and why?

Five Point Play, by Mike Krzyzewski and Wooden, by John Wooden are two books I read when I need inspiration.

What is your favorite moment in your athletic career?

It’s probably a tie between the two times I was nervous before a competition.

The first was my first NAIA national competition in Louisville, Kentucky. My dad and grandma drove down from Wisconsin to see me compete for the first time ever! I had to learn how to turn the nervous energy into confidence. The meet went very well for me, and I was glad to have my family there with me. The second moment would be the 2007 Big Sky outdoor championships. I was shaking with nerves (something I had never dealt with before) leading up to the 100m hurdle semi-final. I couldn’t get the thought that this could be my very last race out of my head. The amount of focus it took to keep from shaking in the starting blocks helped me run the best race of my life, lowering my personal best by almost a second and making it to the finals to score points for my team!

Do you have any success stories from coaching an athlete?

After the post season team banquet for a local high school I used to coach for, I had the parents of graduating twin girls approach me to thank me. The parents always thought the girls were better on the soccer field but they were thrilled that they each earned track scholarships to a local university. The fact that they believed I had been an important part of that was very, very gratifying.

Did you participate in your sport in high school and college (if so, where)?

All through high school, I was a three sport athlete: volleyball, basketball and track & field. I got recruited to play basketball at Warner Pacific College in SE Portland where I joined the track team as well. During my sophomore and junior years, I competed in volleyball and track. In my senior year, I walked onto the Portland State University track team where I trained in only one sport for the first time in my life. I feel lucky that I was able to have a successful and well-rounded high school career and experienced athletics in a small school setting as well as Division 1.

What other sports or activities do you enjoy playing or practicing?

I still play volleyball on a team with one of my high school setters as well as co-ed softball with people I played little league with. It doesn’t get much better than that!

What’s your mantra or favorite saying (in the context of sport and/ or life)?

You play how you practice, so you should practice like you want to play.

What team do you root for most enthusiastically? 

The Green Bay Packers and the Portland Trail Blazers. But most of all I love rooting for Team USA in the Olympics!

Do you have any special talents or a surprising thing someone might not know about you?

I love music, and I can usually place a song within the first few notes. I also consider myself a pretty good chef!

Coach Erin books private track and field coaching sessions on CoachUp, and her profile can be viewed here.

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