Ali Hurd

Since first joining the XLR8 team in 2019, Ali has developed her craft as a coach across various programs and this season joined the Girls SAP coaching team at Northern Tigers.

How did you first get involved in coaching?

I first got involved in coaching through my old high school. I fell in love with it and haven’t looked back since.

Can you share a brief summary of your coaching journey?

Whilst coaching at my old school, I looked to further my knowledge and skillset so I did my Skill Training Certificate through NSFA. I soon came onboard with XLR8, enabling me to experience a vast variety of teams, age groups and abilities. I was given a lot of feedback, mentorship and support and was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to work at Northern Tigers at the beginning of this year.

How have you found the step to Northern Tigers?

It has been a big step up and I have learnt a lot about how to work at a higher level and drive intensity in my sessions. My need to be organised as a coach has massively increased as well. I absolutely love coaching the girls I have and am so excited to learn and develop my skills in the environment I’m so lucky to be a part of with every session. The transition has been challenging and at some points overwhelming but I believe I have already grown a lot as a coach in the short time I’ve been here.

Can you share a challenge(s) you have faced as a coach?

One of the biggest struggles I have as a coach is maintaining my confidence. Every team and session is different and when I feel a session hasn’t gone as well as I hoped, I feel as though I have let my players down and start doubting my abilities as a coach. I’m a lot better at bouncing back and throwing myself back into things these days with the determination to improve and learn from my mistakes through a lot of reflection. It has taken a lot of time and encouragement from the people around me to get to this point and I am forever grateful to the support I have received through fellow coaches, XLR8 and Northern Tigers, particularly Eilidh, NSFA’s Head of Female Football and Northern Tigers GSAP Technical Director.

What advice would you give to a female thinking about coaching?

Give it a go! It is incredible the amount of support out there to help you get started and guide you through your journey. It’s so encouraging seeing female role models in the community stepping out of their comfort zones and tackling coaching for the first time. Get involved with the Female Coach Mentoring Program headed by Eilidh for support and opportunities to learn and develop and ultimately have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of young people in a safe and inclusive environment. It can be scary, personally it took a long time for me to feel brave enough to step in and run sessions, but it has been such a rewarding experience and I recommend it to anyone who is involved with the sport to at least consider it.