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Bowling Coach With A Heart For Student-Athletes

Feature: Clara Lau (Senior Coach, Bowling)

Senior Coach Clara Lau may be a new face in the School, but she is definitely not new to bowling.

She started bowling during her primary school years. By the time she was 17 years old, she was in the National Youth Team. After her A-Levels, she chanced upon the opportunity to try out coaching - a turning point in her sporting career where she realised her passion and talent in coaching.

“I was coaching student-athletes from 7 to 20 years old then. I enjoyed interacting with them as I could relate to them very well. It was a fulfilling experience for me as I was able to share with them my experience, help them in their journey, as well as see them grow in sports and in life,” shared Clara, who did a coaching certification with Singapore Bowling Federation (SBF) to freelance as a coach. She later went on to join SBF as the National Assistant Coach in 2014.

“One of the most memorable experiences in my coaching career was during the 2015 SEA Games. I coached and supported Sports School bowling alumna Daphne Tan Shi Jing, and I couldn’t be prouder when she won the gold medal in the Singles event,” said Clara, who fondly remembered that such moments in her coaching career have constantly motivated her to become a better coach, and support her student-athletes to achieve their best.

Despite her interest in coaching, Clara did explore other career options for a short period. She tried out a consultancy role to develop youth development programmes and was an event manager facilitating corporate teambuilding. Her short stints assured her that coaching is still her strength, interest, and calling.

She said: “I wanted to accumulate more life experience in terms of professional growth and development, as well as pushing my professional boundaries to take on new roles beyond coaching.”

In 2020, she joined the Chinese Swimming Club as a Head Coach to lead the Centre of Excellence Programme, and in 2021, she took on part-time coaching at Singapore Sports School before joining as a full-time coach in 2022.

When coaching our student-athletes, Clara takes on an athlete-centric approach. “In coaching, there will be challenges such as balancing the expectation of different stakeholders. Mismatch in expectations can be trying for our student-athletes as it puts pressure on them to meet different expectations, including expectations from themselves. It is important that as coaches, we recognise the concerns of different stakeholders, while putting our student-athletes first and find ways to best support them and take them forward,” shared Clara, who sees coaching as more than just teaching technical skillsets, but being a mentor for student-athletes.

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