Our sports coaches across all sports disciplines are really our society’s unsung heroes. “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world, is and remains immortal.” ― Albert Pine.
Today I am talking to Swimming Coach Leon Anderson (Hillcrest) in Gauteng. A great Swimming, Biathlon, and Triathlon Provincial champion in his time. Entrepreneur, fine tuned to the success if our kids in the pool and one who knows the sacrifices needed for success too well. A joyful man who daily takes the sting of hard training away from our kids with a joke and large doses of humor to keep them going. Thank you Leon!
I think our coaches do not always realise how they impact the lives of a generation with their coaching, their caring their encouragement and advice. With this series “Meet the Coaches”, I want to say: coaches you matter, you make a difference and you are sent by God to guide and lead our children in their sports paths. I want to thank and celebrate our coaches for their long, hard hours and passion in teaching and training our children not only in sports skills but also in important life skills.
Bio / Stats
|Name & Surname||Leon Anderson|
|Date of birth||1969-04-09|
|Place of birth||Zeerust|
|Favorite City/ Town||Ballito|
|Favorite Song/ type of music||Enjoy a big variety of music, big fan of the 80’s|
|Favorite Movie||Big Blue|
|Qualifications (Swim/ sports)||21 years of coaching experience|
Tell me a little bit about your own / personal swimming / sports career / journey?
Started swimming at the age of 7 in Natal, moved to Rustenburg at the age of 11. Achieved Provincial colours in swimming. Went to the army, swam 1 more year in Vanderbijlpark where I also started coaching at the age of 22. Achieved Provincial colours in Biathlon. Moved to Pretoria, started Pretoria East swimming school. Achieved Provincial colours in Triathlon. Started coaching at Woodhill College in 1992.
How / why did you get involved in swim coaching?
My 1st job was with the Vanderbijlpark town council at the public swimming pool. Met Joyce Reitz who was the swimming coach and mentor. Started giving swimming lessons then later I took over the coaching duties from Joyce.
How long have you been coaching?
What do you think are the top 1 or 2 characteristics of a good coach?
Passion and a good understanding for the sport and the relationship with his/her swimmers.
What is your favorite part about coaching?
Difficult to say. Just to watch my swimmers working hard at a training session and to see their progression. Then those moments where a swimmer is so happy reaching his/her goal from a bronze medal at level 1 or a gold medal at level 3.
At this moment – what are you working on / towards with your swim team?
To get the level 1 swimmers to qualify for level 2 and level 2 swimmers to qualify for level 3.
If you have to sum it up shortly, what is your number one aim / main goal as a coach for now and for the future?
To get my youngsters to a level where they can qualify for Nationals in a few years time and from there hopefully qualify for major International events.
Are your all work and no play with your swim squad?
Ha ha, they have enough fun time.
If you could change a rule in swimming, what would it be?
Only allow swimmers to swim competitive from the Age of 12. They can still do time trials fun galas exclusively before then.
Besides your professional work as a coach – what do you have a passion for?
Time with the family, running, cycling, swimming, fishing, crayfish diving.
Name the best moment of your coaching career so far?
Must be Ruan at level 3 with his “to many” medals.
Tell me what you like to do to relax?
To watch sport, good movie or fishing.
What word of motivation / tips do you have for young young swimmers / athletes?
Be consistent in your training and never give up.
What is your personal favorite motivational quote?
Ha ha “No PAIN NO GAIN”
Besides your swim coaching, what other business ventures / community projects are you involved in?
I am also the owner of the Pretoria East Swimming School.
Message to swimmers: With hard work and by enjoying what you are doing, you will meet your goals.
To parents: Let the coach do the coaching.
Thank you so much Coach Leon for taking this interview and for all that you do for our children. We would like to wish you all the best for the future and for your plans ahead. Blessings!