Demand rising for bowls coaches
Since Josie Uren took up coaching four years ago she has gone from strength to strength and she is now looking back on the biggest challenge of her coaching career so far.
Josie was called up as one of three coaches for the World Bowls Championships in Adelaide, which ran from November 24 to December 9. Although she describes the level of bowls as "way beyond" her skills, she is clearly considered a top coach by those in the know.
The New Zealand Black Jacks team took three coaches instead of the usual two - one for each discipline - and Josie was delighted to make up the numbers. The team came back from the competition with a very respectable three silvers and a bronze.
Her foray into serious coaching began in earnest about two years ago when Josie had to give up playing because of an elbow injury. She has always been a keen and competent member of the Takahanga Bowling Club, and has won many a competition locally and region-wide.
In 2008 Josie took up an assistant coaching position with the regional talent development squad, which covers Marlborough, Canterbury, Buller, West Coast and Nelson. Since then she has been involved in coaching the New Zealand under-18 team, which has seen her travel and commit an enormous amount of time to learning and course work.
"It's really good because Bowls New Zealand has a pathway for coaches. It is really a sport now that facilitates a pathway," she says. "Traditionally bowls hasn't really had coaches but it's now really taking off. They are rolling out performance level coaches and players, especially young players coming through, are actually asking for coaching."
Josie says the commitment to coaching is great, as she is starting to realise - especially the amount of studying required - but she has been grateful for the exposure to other top level coaches from whom she says she has learned a great deal.
And on top of all the coaching she is now doing, Josie will be making a comeback to playing, starting with a trip to New Plymouth for the nationals next week. She will continue to do coach training over the winter months, which she says has a good interest on a local level.