I wanted to find something related to my sport to give me the motivation to study properly. It is academic, but relevant to my day-to-day work. We are reading about stuff which covers the situations I face and the solutions. It also creates a whole community of performance coaches, which is brilliant. I never considered I would have so much in common with a football or a triathlon coach and we can bounce ideas off one another and compare methods.
When you are on the slopes, you coach the people you are riding with and they coach you – you each share new tricks and skills. It is a sport which is quite unusual in that sense as it’s not so much direct competition with one another, more the athletes together against the risks. Effectively I’ve been involved in coaching for my whole career so it hasn’t been too big a change from athlete to coach, but the difference is now I am responsible for other athletes.
One of my main motivations is to not just to help in a sporting capacity - my job is way more than what they do in competition. There are not very many female role models who have experienced what these girls are going through in becoming a professional snowboarder so hopefully my experience can help them to achieve their goals.
Triple Olympic snowboarder Lesley McKenna is completing the distance learning MSc Performance Coaching in between coaching the promising snowsport talent in the Roxy European Team and working with the British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI) to develop their coaching programmes.