Women’s Coach Development Programme spotlight: Kerry Chalk (Holmes Chapel)
August 27, 2022 | by Matt Halfpenny
As someone who believes you never stop learning as a coach, the Level 2-qualified coach is keen to make the most of the opportunity to join the WCDP.
How did you first get involved in boxing?
After many years as a dedicated youth/senior Muay Thai competitive Boxer, I thought I’d left my passion behind to focus on my career and starting a family.
As my stepson entered teenage years he gained an interest in boxing and we often bonded over pad sessions at home covering the fundamentals. Around this time our local high school was experiencing really dangerous pupil organised fights after school in the park. Our now Club Head Coach, Kev, who was already an experienced boxer, coach and judge, posted on the community group to gain a view of interest for a local boxing club. The interest was huge and I took my stepson along to the open day.
A few months in, I messaged the Club offering some coaching help thinking I could pop along for the odd session and hold some pads to take the pressure off Kev. I hadn’t quite realised that it would reignite the passion I had left behind, but this time rather than unlocking my own potential I loved helping others recognise theirs.
Since my first day, I have thrown myself into coaching, giving as many hours as I could away from a full-time job and my own family. I have carried out female-only sessions in the local school and started a female-only session in the gym, with the focus being confidence and fundamentals, until they join the mixed classes.
I am now a Level 2 coach and am kept busy working closely with the club carded boxers and North West regional female squad. I am very lucky to be supported by our incredibly hard-working Head Coach Kev, who has been a great mentor for me over the years, showing me a lot of guidance and trust, along with our Level 1 coaches Zoe and James, who have always encouraged and pushed me out of my comfort zone to believe in myself and keep progressing.
How pleased are you to be involved in a programme that is actively bidding to push women’s and girls’ boxing forward?
When I found out I had been accepted my initial thought was “I’m so proud of myself”.
I’m very passionate about all boxing whether its males or females, however, its very clear we as a boxing community need to do more to engage with/encourage more females into the sport whether that’s boxers or coaches.
I think it’s fantastic that we have this resource available and great that people like Laura (Sargeant) are using their platforms in such a positive way. I’m really thrilled to be a part of the continued movement and plan to make the most of the opportunity.
What do you hope to get out of the FCDP that can improve you as coach?
I am a firm believer that you never stop learning as a coach.
I think the programme will provide me with accountability and permission to focus on myself and my own development as a coach, which will create so many obvious benefits for my club and boxers.
I am keen to take myself out of my comfort zone, improve my coaching pad work across different boxing styles and gain more experience and confidence across sparring and bouts by practising efficiently, identifying the key coaching points and delivering the feedback in a clear manner.
How much will attending the FCDP help you in your club environment?
I am really looking forward to growing in confidence within my club environment, taking back new coaching ideas for different style boxers and sharing new perspectives.
I also believe that I will be able to pass on the increased knowledge, and improved skills to our group of foundation coaches heading towards their Level 1.
Who are your biggest boxing inspirations?
The obvious inspirations for me are Katie Taylor, Terri Harper and Chantel Cameron… all successful female pro boxers who have made sacrifices and don’t shy away from the high-pressure fights. I also believe they go about their business shedding a “positive” light on boxing.
I am however, also inspired on a daily basis by boxers in my club, who despite me telling them may still not realise it.
There’s a boxer overcoming lockdown challenges, staying motivated and fit throughout and now using his skills to motivate and coach the younger boxers and another losing bout after bout but taking feedback, practising and not giving up before eventually reaping the benefits of all his hard work.
Then there’s the female boxer who came into the gym two years ago refusing to take her coat off all session who is now having skills bouts for the club. They are all inspire me to be better and keep going.