Hayley Stevenson has just sent her squad out for an “easy run” when Clubbies catches up with her at the Nundah Criterium. It’s a hard slog keeping pace with the 2018 Sportscover Coach of the Year (even on the phone).
The seven-day-a-week dynamo kicks off her personal training at 3.30am, before putting her squad of uber-motivated athletes through their laps - swimming, running and cycling. By 6.30am when most are still in bed, the Wilston Grange squad is towelling down after a gruelling session.
Stevenson - a mother of two- who also juggles a demanding fulltime job with the Education Department, knows what it takes to be a great coach.
“It’s all about creating an atmosphere where people feel comfortable and are also challenged to get the best out of themselves,” she says.
“I really try to focus on that internal motivation as opposed to being that coach on the sideline yelling. I don't want them to be doing it for me on it to them to be you know, doing it for themselves.”
Stevenson can never be accused of monstering the sidelines – she’s often in the thick of the action. The Sunshine Coast Half Ironman and the massively popular Noosa Triathlon completes the squad’s 2018 schedule before a core group take on the Cairns Ironman in June. Stevenson and two others then head to Germany for the Ironman Frankfurt.
But being a coach means her competitive expectations sometimes take a backseat.
“I can’t get in all the training I’d like to – that just really isn’t possible with the time available,” Stevenson adds.
“It’s about holding onto the perspective that I do this for my health and my mental health and work-life balance.
“It’s to be an enjoyment in my life and that’s what I try to bring to the other guys as well. Remember why you’re doing it.”
Winning the Clubbies national accolade has been a huge boost for the Queensland-based triathlon club and the associated Gorillas footy outfit, not to mention Stevenson herself, who’s urged others with inspiring coaches to nominate.
“Absolutely,” she says. “You do it for the love, and what you see the athlete get out of it, but it's also nice to get that recognition as well.”