Zarck Visser begins his journey to becoming a coach
SA long jump star Zarck Visser is already preparing for life after his adventure in the sand-pit. The 31-year-old Commonwealth Games silver medalist wants to fulfil his desire of becoming a coach when he retires from the sport. Visser is one of the athletes that will attend the Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) National Coaches Course Level 1 three-day training program which gets underway at the Boksburg Stadium today.
Participants will begin with a virtual training course today and then practicals tomorrow with exams on final day of the program on Saturday at 9am. Those who pass the level 1 beginners course will be issued certificates of competence. Visser said he knows that he is nearing the end of his career and that he does not want to be lost to the sport when that time comes.
"I am going to do level 1 and my goal is to get to a national qualification of level 3. I know that I will do better as a coach than I did as an athlete. In training I always help my teammates out with guidance and other basic things," Visser told the Top Runner. The 2014 African champion said he does not know how long he has left before he calls it quits but he said that his passion for coaching developed in 2012 at a school in Linden where he coached the kids. "I see myself as a coach and I want to use these three days to learn as much as I can about coaching. I want to develop a strong bond with my athletes and turn them into champions," said an excited Visser.
The jumper has made the cut and been included in Athletics South Africa's (ASA) Olympic preparation squad. Although his last competition before the lockdown was back in 2019, the three-time SA champion says that he is not in a hurry to get back into the sand-pit as he is still working on his fitness level together with his Namibian coach of three years Roger Haitengi at the University of Johannesburg. Visser doesn't feel any pressure that he may lose his spot in the squad because there are only two long jumpers in the team (himself and African champion Rushwahl Samaai) following Luvo Manyonga's suspension for doping whereabouts last month.
"The first training sessions were a bit hard as I was out for three to four months due to injury. I am in the Olympic squad and not under pressure to rush my return to the track. I am planning to compete in the SA senior champs or somewhere in May. Luvo is out for a while and there is no pressure on me. The deadline for finalizing the Olympic squad is at the end of June. I am not in a hurry. I want to make sure that I am 100% fit before deciding on my next competition," explained Visser.
Visser said he has a side hustle that helps to feed him and his family during these difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic."I have a side hustle, a small business that brings in a few cents. I am also a sports administrator at UJ and that is going well so far. I am spreading my wings and don't overly rely on athletics," he said. Visser said that fellow athletes need to understand that their career would end and that they won't receive any source of income when that time comes if they do not have a Plan B. " An athletics career can end anytime due to injury or old age. You can't just expect to walk into a job just because you are a former athlete," he warned.