Danielle Tobiasinsky-Weems awarded ‘Coach of the Year’
Earlier this month we held our Greenhouse Sports staff conference and awards ceremony for the 2013-14 academic year. The day was the perfect opportunity to get all of our coaches and staff together to discuss important matters and share ideas for how to continually improve our programmes and find innovative ways of helping young people realise their full potential.
The awards ceremony in the evening saw volunteers, coaches and programmes from across London celebrated for their dedication, expertise and excellence. The coveted ‘Coach of the Year 2013-14’ went to Multisports head coach (SEN) Danielle Tobiasinsky-Weems, who runs a multisports programme for pupils at Richard Cloudesley School.
This award is decided on the night via secret ballot and voted for by Danielle’s colleagues and peers; for this reason it is a very special award to receive. To celebrate her big win at the awards, we asked Danielle to tell us, in her own words, about her personal journey to becoming an SEN Greenhouse Sports coach.
“My Greenhouse journey begun just over three years ago, when I was placed in Richard Cloudesley school. Richard Cloudesley is an outstanding school for children with special educational needs, based in Angel and Barbican. The school has roughly eighty children ranging from two and a half years old to nineteen, all of whom have complex needs.
When I look back at my journey over the past three years, working for Greenhouse Sports, I can see what a learning curve it has been. Previously my coaching background was mainstream and more specifically football.
Football played such a key role in my life as I grew up. I learnt skills that were transferable into home, school and my social life, as well as my playing ability. I played for Chelsea F.C from the age of seven until I got an injury at the age of eighteen, playing for South East England.
My first work placement was through Chelsea FC, where I spent two weeks at ‘World of Sport’ Chelsea FC’s academy. Through the academy I then passed my level one coaching qualification and begun working for Fulham F.C, where their camps and sessions were local to me. I would often nip off from training, deliver a session or two and then return for college again. My three years at college was spent training five days a week with matches three days a week and this is where I got the foundation of my coaching knowledge; learning through participation and extracting what I thought was good.
Before moving to Liverpool for university, my eight year Chelsea employment role started. I was employed to deliver tours around the stadium; this taught me a number of skills but the most important one it taught me for coaching was quick relationship building and controlling and organising groups. Once I left for university in 2006, I also left Fulham F.C and hoped to find a coaching role up north.
Whilst completing my sports development and sports studies degree I worked in the university sports centre (Hope Park Sports) originally as a coach. Over the four years I spent in Liverpool, I would deliver holiday programmes, football camps, school PE lessons and coached the women’s senior team. After my first year working for Hope Park Sports I then work closely with the sports development office creating and developing our holiday programmes. At that time I was senior coach and would operate the day programmes.
As part of my degree we had to observe and complete an essay on coaching. I chose to work with someone from Chelsea that I knew but coached for AFC Wimbledon. Watching and taking notes of others session was something I enjoyed as I learnt so much and again reminded me of when I played and would absorb info.
After my second year at university during the summer I applied to work in America, for Challengers Sports. I spent four months living in Kansas, Colorado and Oklahoma. Most of my time was spent in Kansas as for the first time Challengers begun working with the local Major League Soccer team, Kansas City Wizards and I was selected as the first and only female coach to work on it.
This camp was different to others as it was aimed for the more gifted players who may be looking for scholarships and they were considered as ‘premier players’. This is where I began to redevelop my technique of coaching and started looking at breaking down techniques into smaller steps to master the technique as a whole. Looking back this is where I realised getting the foundations right first is vital for developing players.
Returning back home to the UK wasn’t such a bad transition compared to most of my friends as I still had my job at Chelsea F.C. I then started working for the club again and coaching more regularly, whilst travelling as much as I could too.
On my return from travelling I gave myself an ultimatum; find a career or go travelling again and this is when my Greenhouse journey begun! I got a job at Greenhouse Sports and have not looked back since!
The transition from ‘mainstream’ coaching to SEN was pretty major, with very few similarities. The first year I absorbed as much information as possible from my fellow SEN team, courses, teachers and physios. This information I would adapt to my own technique and try to put into place as much as I could. I have worked really hard over the last three years to make my programme a success and deliver real positive experiences for my young participants.
My programme at Richard Cloudesley is well planned, designed and as specific as possible, ensuring that our pupils can be as independent as possible, thus making them well equipped for life outside of school. Everything I deliver is to the benefit our children; physically, socially or cognitively. This philosophy mixed with fun, safety and hard work I hope is the reason I was voted coach of the year and I will continue to do so with a smile on my face, and a ‘G’ on my chest!”