Proving that good things come in threes, we are excited to announce our third new staff appointment in as many weeks, with the arrival of Jumps Coach – Natasha Harvey to the Altis. Following swiftly on from the arrival of Ricky Soos, Harvey will further boost the quality and depth of staff tasked with nurturing the performance of athletes based here at Altis.
The five-time All American has most recently been based at the University of Oklahoma – working as a Sprints Coach and Assistant Director of Operations. With sights now set on starting a new chapter of her life in Arizona, Harvey’s new role will be primarily focused on assisting Coach Pfaff with the Combined Events and Jumps program.
In addition to her sporting aptitude, Harvey also excelled academically – earning the School of Education ‘Outstanding Exercise Science Student’ upon graduation from Jacksonville University in 2009, with a 3.58 overall GPA. In 2012, she earned her Master’s degree in Sport Management and Leadership.
“We’re truly excited to welcome Natasha to Altis” said Coach Pfaff “She brings a diverse skill set and wide array of experiences to an ever-growing squad of internationals”. “Her two years at the University of Oklahoma working with Coach Tyler have provided Natasha the breeding ground to make her one of the brightest – and most sought after – young coaches in the country” added Performance Director – Stu McMillan.
We sat down to find out more…
Natasha, great to be welcoming you to Altis! Could you start by telling us a little about your background as an athlete and coach?
I competed for Jacksonville University from 2005-2009 under Head Coach Ron Grigg. During my college career I competed in a host of event ranging from the hurdles to the combined events. My specialty was the LJ; I was a 5 time All-American in the event. I started my coaching career at my Alma Mater as a Graduate Assistant and after finishing my degree I joined the University of Oklahoma staff as an Assistant Sprints & Hurdle Coach. This was the position I held prior to joining the Altis family.
What would you say was your greatest accomplishment as an athlete?
That’s a tough one. During the 2008 season in preparation for the Olympic Trials I watched the Youtube video of Mike Powell vs. Carl Lewis competing at the 1991 World Championships. I remembered thinking if I could just tap into some of their competitiveness, consistency on the runway or confidence I would be a better athlete. Months later at the 2008 Outdoor National Championship I finished 2nd behind World & Olympic Champion Brittany Reese – my highest NCAA finish. As if that wasn’t sweet enough, Mike Powell did the awards presentation. I’ll never forget that rainy day at Drake.
And as a coach?
During my first year as a full time NCAA Coach zero athletes from our group qualified for the Indoor or Outdoor Championships. The following year we were represented at both Indoor and Outdoor Championships and left with 5 All-Americans. What we were able to accomplish in 2 years makes me very proud.
How did you hear about Altis and what brought you here?
I started hearing about Altis last year through Kevin Tyler. He hosted a Coaches’ Education Series at our University and Stu McMillan, Dan Pfaff and Gerry Ramogida were guest presenters – it was likely through their presentations that my interest in Altis was peaked. Nearly a year later when I was made aware of a position opening up at Altis I was immediately intrigued. I believe that Altis is on the cusp of something that could change the face of our sport – change the way athlete’s needs are met, change the way coaches teach, learn and develop – that evolution is something I jumped at the chance to be a part of.
Can you tell us a little about your coaching philosophy?
Honestly, I think my coaching philosophy is evolving. In my previous role I learned that there is no magic workout or program. There are a many different ways to achieve a result. However, to achieve the desired result across a diverse event group can prove to be quite the challenge. In that, I realize that as a coach you have to be adaptable and reputable in your programming. I am excited to surround myself with the best coaches in the world at the Altis, sink myself into training design & implementation in hopes to swim when I get the opportunity to have my own group.
What makes a coachable athlete?
One who is: Accountable, goal-oriented, invested, honest, devout, curious, tenacious, and interested in having a healthy relationship with me.
“I am looking forward to being in a place that has a clear vision, and plan in place to see that vision come to fruition”
What specific attributes set jumpers apart from the rest of the event areas?
Rhythm & Patience: In the run, through the rounds, off the board.
Versatility: Jumpers are typically athletic. They can adapt very well to different situations and are likely to excel at other events.
Good jumpers are intrinsically motivated: Primarily you are your own stimulus on the runway, you alone have to get it done.
Elasticity: While most power and speed athletes could benefit from developing their elastic strength, this is a quality that jumpers naturally have.
What are you looking forward to about being based here?
I am looking forward to being in a place that has a clear vision, and plan in place to see that vision come to fruition.
I am looking forward to surrounding myself with people who will add to my life as I add to theirs.
I am looking forward to learning from the best coaches and athletes in the world and redefining my coaching voice, philosophy and methodology.
Natasha, thanks for your time, and welcome to the Altis Family!
Natasha Harvey is on Twitter, you can follow her here.