Fostering the talents of future Olympians

As seen in the Coffs Harbour Advocate.

AUSTRALIAN softball great Nat Titcume achieved the Olympic dream three times - her medals from Sydney, Beijing and Athens testament to her journey and hard work to reach the top of world sport.

Now a teacher at Bishop Druitt College, Titcume and a number of elite coaches based on the Coffs Coast are committed to fostering the talents of future Olympians.

As a teacher, Titcume has mentored professional athletes in multiple sports such as Samir Dar in boxing.
Leading coaches Dr Dee Anderson and her colleague Glenn Warry say they know only too well the level of talent that exists on the Coffs Coast.

Anderson, who is known for her contribution to elite athletes, will serve as a performance and well-being specialist for the Australian Women's softball team at the  Tokyo Olympics in July, should the Games avoid fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic.

"We have committed our lives to assisting young athletes, their families and the business sector and have been fortunate enough to work with the likes of Ian Thorpe, Cathy Freeman and  world champion Red Bull air racer Matt Hall as well as many of the country's best high-performance coaches," Anderson said.

So, what does it take to reach these heights?

Three time Olympic softballer Nat Titcume with the medals she won in Sydney, Beijing and Athens.

Three time Olympic softballer Nat Titcume with the medals she won in Sydney, Beijing and Athens. Photo by the Advocate. 

According to Warry, talent alone is not enough to guarantee ongoing success.

"It takes a great deal of self-awareness, a tenacious appetite to focus on excellence and a capacity to build resilience, so that the ongoing transitions in life can be navigated successfully" he said.

Warry, who is CEO of Football Coaches Australia, said he believes the challenge for the Coffs Coast is to "ensure ongoing high-performance support is provided for schools, teachers, coaches and student athletes to enable them to remain on the Coffs Coast."

Student athletes shouldn't have to leave the Coffs Coast to excel, according to Glenn Warry. "Although most secondary schools in the Coffs region have some form of high-performance program, there is still a greater need for government and business support," Warry said.

Warry and Dee Anderson will be working with Bishop Druitt College and Orara High School and will be facilitating a number of intermit events for high-performance youth, their families and local business.

In Bishop Druitt's case, it is aiming to foster success for its students by having the influence of three-time Olympian Nat Titcume in a teaching and guidance role at the college.

Titcume won Olympic medals in 2000, 2004 and 2008 and has 352 career caps for Australia in softball - 36 of those at the Olympic level.

Titcume captained the team between 2004-07 and during this time held the position of head of physical education and health at Wesley College.

Three time Olympic softballer Nat Titcume with the medals she won in Sydney, Beijing and Athens.

Three time Olympic softballer Nat Titcume with the medals she won in Sydney, Beijing and Athens. Photo by the Advocate. 

Anderson said it was an amazing achievement to be selected for one Olympics but to compete in three took a special character and Titcume's appointment at Bishop Druitt would have a huge impact on our community.

"Nat's knowledge and experience will support the school's sport, dance and the arts students and is the next step in the creation of the school's sports academy," Anderson said.

"Sport's a way of activating a community too, just by participating athletes  are stronger for it. We want to see Coffs continue to lay claim to Olympians and elite achievers into the future."