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What is your coaching story?

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  • How did you get started in coaching? what motivates you to keep coaching?  Use words or better still, video. We'd love to get to know more about you and your passion for coaching.

    Acting Community Manager
  • David_T

    I'm David Turner, Coaching Children Lead at sports coach UK -  my main sport and passion is the javelin throw, a famously late peaking sport.

    Which means a) despite appearances I may not have hit my prime yet and b) i'm passionate about making the case against early specialisation in the vast majorityof sports/events.

    At sports coach UK I co-author Safeguarding and Protecting Children and several other workshops.  I am schools lead, so I am probably your man should you wish to know anything about coaching in schools.

    When not working i'm usually to be found coaching javelin - my beleif is that we need to reshape much of the debate around coaching children and focus our efforts on enjoyment, not deciding if a child is 'talented' (whatever that word actually means) whilst they're still at Primary School and the development of fundamental movement skills to give children a much better chance of staying involved in sport, at any level, throughout their life.

    And on that point here is me throwing a javelin blindfolded to make a laboured point around balance and coordination to a group of throwers (and parents).

  • pdcollier

    I'm Phil Collier, and have been involved in coaching lacrosse since 1988. I started playing the sport when I was 11 years old at Stockport Grammar School, and went on to play for Sheffield University and England, as well as many other clubs around the country from Heaton Mersey to Hampstead.

    I was regularly made a team captain during my playing days, but I think my first real interest in coaching began when I was 17 yrs old. I was lucky enough to have the England lacrosse goalkeeper arrive as my new school first team coach. He introduced me to a couple of books about the sport (from the USA) which included tactical discussions and guidance on how to coach both individual technique and playing strategy. We also began to play a zone defence as a school team, which was a pretty radical tactical approach back then!

    I continued to maintain and develop my interest in the tactical side of the sport, learning from my coaches at county and national level, sometimes through positive experiences and sometimes through negative. I also started to take my formal lacrosse coaching qualifications. 

    In 1988, even though I was still playing at the top club level, I began my real coaching career as assistant coach to the England U19 team taking part in the world championships in Australia. After that I was assistant coach for the England senior team at the 1990 world championships. In 1992 I became Head Coach for the U19 world championships, and then head coach of the senior England team winning the first ever European Championships in 1995. 

    In 1998 I became head coach of the Scotland men's team, who I took to the 1998 and 2002 world championships. More recently I returned as an assistant coach to the senior England men's team which won the European championships in 2008.

    For the last ten years or so I have been helping the ELA with the development of their coach education courses, and am now one of the main delivers of the new level 3 course.

    in 2014 I was seeking a new coaching challenge and was pleased to be appointed as the National Team Director for the England women's lacrosse team. The immediate challenge is to win the European Championships in August 2015, but the bigger picture is to prepare a team to do well at the 2017 World Cup which is to be held at Surrey Sports Park, Guildford.

    What kind of coach am I? I want my teams to play to win, my players to make the commitment to the team, always want to be learning and trying to get better, respect the game ( no backchat to officials etc), be positive, and above all they must enjoy the experience.

    This is a quick overview of my coaching story. At the moment I am enjoying learning about the differences between coaching men and women. There are a few subtle changes needed to my approach, but actually the truth is that I have always tried to coach the person / people in front of me, and so the England women's squad is just another group of people with their own needs and wants. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

  • ABradshaw

    Hi, I'm Andy Bradshaw - I work within the Talent & Performance team at sports coach UK but I'm also a coach for England Hockey.

    This passion for hockey started at school when numerous broken fingers on the rugby pitch saw me get the opportunity to play hockey (not sure it turned out a safer option!).  I grew to love the sport and upon finishing my History degree at University my career head scratching turned to sport and ultimately coaching.

    Various roles followed in post Student Games Sheffield - Hockey Development Officer, Youth Sports etc then the lure of sports coach UK!

    All the while I was working at my hockey coaching, with Sheffield HC and then in a variety of roles with England Hockey, covering boys and girls at U16, U18 and U21 levels. I currently work with the U18 girls and completed my Level 4 qualification at UCLAN last year.

    I love to see the engagement and enjoyment that players get from hockey (and sport) and trying to help all the players I coach to reach for their potential is what drives me ... especially on some of the cold, snowy recent evenings! (see pictures)



    Hi I am Eugene Young currently Director of Coaching and Games Development with Uster GAA. I cant believe I have been coaching from when I was 18. If I say 40 years it doesnt really give away my age!

    My first coaching job was at College as a student where I took on the Ladies Basketball Team (local leagues and the British Polytechnic Championships back inthe late 70s). Since then I have continued to coached Basketball and Gaelic Football at the University of Ulster, in my local club(s) at all age groups and curently with the senior ladies (basketball) and men (Gaelic Football). Like man parents I have come through the system with my kids in both sports. I was invovled with the Irish Team at the 1991 Worlds Student Games which was a great experience. 

    Qualifying as a Physical Education Teacher, I have had a chance to coach a number of individual and team sports but my passsion is basketball and Gaelic Footbal - check it out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEAbWrdB9XU  - coaching right through to our senior county level (as per video).

    My invovlement as an Academic at the Univeristy of Ulster allowed me to engage further with University Sports Coaching. In 2001 I was appointed as one of the first High Performance Directors at the then new Sports Institute for Northern Ireland. As part of this programme I was priviliged to attended the World class Coaching Conference in UK Annually - what a great learning environment.

    I am a Master Tutor for the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA)and currently their Director of Coachign and Games Development with Ulster GAA www.ulster.gaa.ie - nothing beats playing your sport but coachng has to come in very close second. Some images and additional information attached.

  • robertkmaaye

    Hi I’m Rob Maaye, the newly appointed Community Manager for ConnectedCoaches. I have worked for Coachwise – the trading arm of sports coach UK – for the last 8 years in a variety of roles. I passionately believe that inspirational sporting achievements are great for getting people involved in sport but it’s good coaching that will keep them coming back for more!

    I’m a fan of pretty much all sports in particular rugby union, cricket and football. I’m an Arsenal fan who is firmly in (and has always been) the #inarsenewetrust camp!

    I’m excited to be involved in this project and look forward to doing all I can to help coaches get the most out of their ConnectedCoaches experience.

    If ever you have any suggestions to improve your ConnectedCoaches experience, or want to see content produced on a particular subject matter please don’t hesitate to push that 'Connect' button and send me a message with your thoughts!

  • dedson1991


    I’m Daniel Edson, in my day job I am the Rugby Activator at Nottingham Trent University, but alongside this I hold a number of rugby coaching positions throughout Nottinghamshire.

    I began my coaching career as a 15 year old after my junior side I was playing in folded and not wanting to move away from my boyhood club, I began working as an assistant coach with the Under 11’s whilst working towards my coaching badges. After that I became hooked, and coaching then became the path I wanted to pursue.

    This led me to Nottingham Trent University where I completed my undergraduate degree in Coaching & Sports Science and then onto my postgraduate degree at Loughborough University, which I am currently completing, as well as working towards applying for my RFU Level 3 in 2016.

    Currently my coaching roles are wide and vast, recently I have accepted the Head Coach role at my boyhood club. As well as continuing in my roles as the Head Coach for the Nottingham Trent University Women’s XV, Director of Rugby at Christ The King School and Head Coach for the NLD RFU Women’s Representative Programme.

    Throughout my short time coaching I have held a number of different coaching positions and been fortunate enough to work with a wide variety of athletes from Under 6’s through to Adults and from complete novices through to Internationals. There commitment, drive and enthusiasm to learn and progress as athletes is key to my continued enjoyment of coaching, and inspires me to continue coaching. The pictures attached are a few snapshots of from my time coaching so far!

    Varsity 2015 CTK Year 11's 2015 

    Mellish Ladies & Girls 2015 CTK Year 10's 2015

    NLD Women's XV 2014 Mellish Ladies 2014

  • pippaglen

    Hi guy's Emma Tomlinson.  

    I started out in sport at the age of 10 joining the local athletics club where I became an endurance runner,  800m, 1500m, high jump, cross country, My coach was amazing, he is the one who gave me the inspiration to become a coach, I wanted to give back what he inspired me to become.  

    I was in every afterschool sports club,  represented notts County and England girls for athletics,played Hockey for school and  was picked to represent nottinghsmshire school girls team, we was coached by England ladies hockey team back in the day.  

    Before leaving school I had an accident that caused me to become parralized, it took 2 years of rehabilitation and was told never to run again my athletics career was over, I attended college I achieved my Betc national in sports and physical education.  I didn't think my qualifications was of any use so went on to become a receptionist.  

    Many years passed had 4 children I lost my husband at a young age I needed something to keep me going, found a job working in school kitchen but that wasn't enough, I  managed to get intouch with Uka to see if any voluntary coaches was needed.  I went back to my local athletics club and met a great lady Becky Silver a great inspiring coach .  She inspired me to become a coach,  helped me through my level 1,  then my level 2 and finally my level 3, Becky supported me through many years of coaching, Becky asked me if I wanted to go on a level 2 multiskiĺĺ course,  so glad I did it's a great course and more should take it. 

    I helped to run the harriers junior athletics group for 6 years with Becky but sadly she passed away, I took her role as head coach and spent many hrs working on my own, planning all sessions and coaching 3 days a wk and attending every competition, I enjoyed being a coach I decided to find a full time job working in schoolS. 

    I currently work for Express coaching services in Nottinghamshire, working with this company I've  since become a level 1 wheelchair basketball coach, level 2 basketball coach and level 1 referee.  I'm hoping to add another sport to my belt when I have 5 spare minutes.  

  • Malcolmlf

    I have been asked this question before, and the lengthy piece below was the response.I hope that you will forgive the bias towards athletics, the sport that it was written for:-


    The Accidental Coach

    It was never my intention to be a coach, indeed throughout my life as an athlete, I was never formally coached, nor did I come from a sporting background. My father was a speedway, grass-track and stock car racer, who constantly reminded me that throwing things wouldn't earn me a living. I competed on, and still do, having won an English Schools title in the Hammer, to winning the same event in the World Masters Champs. I have over the decades, won 240 titles at county level and above, but whilst being very competitive and training hard, I never made it to full international level. I did however throw the Hammer over 60m over four consecutive decades, first doing so in 1979, then lastly, at age 46, in 2002. Only one other British thrower has achieved this, Olympian Mick Jones, who blew it away by throwing over 70m over four decades.

    I had the very good fortune of living, about three good Discus throws away from, the family home of the Tancred's in Ipswich. Father Adrian competed in the Decathlon at the 1948 Olympics, whilst son's Bill and Pete were both Olympians at the Discus and brother Geoff was a Combined Services Hammer champion. So I was able to use their throwing circle, at a factory field, to both watch them training and get tips from Adrian. That year I also trained with Charlie Clover, who had just set a UK age record, then a world age best with the Javelin, as a 17 year old. The next year he would throw 84.92m, to win the 1974 Commonwealth Games and set a World Junior record. So at the start of my throwing career I was able to observe and learn from the very best. It was also a few scant months before I started coaching at age 18.

    I sat on the grass banking of a track, watching a female junior international Discus thrower being coached. After a while I was left wondering, why doesn't her coach tell her, what she's doing wrong? It was then that I realised I was seeing something the coach hadn't, which dispelled my belief that coaches knew everything and were almost omnipotent in stature!

    Observation is a major facet of coaching; it also fitted in with my career, which would span 35 years, as a Customs Officer. A job that also taught me tenacity and not to believe anything until it could be proved, two other areas that a good coach needs to develop. Initially I coached athletes at my club and, at age 21, began working with Susan King, who happened to be my manager's daughter. She soon set a World age best in the Shot and over the next few years, under both mine, then Geoff Capes' charge, she held all the age and English School's records for the shot, before retiring at age 18.

    As an athlete I was part of the National Hammer Squad, on and off, for 10+ years, again learning from our top coaches and throwers. My apprenticeship was well under way and I was a sponge for knowledge and new ideas, which I tested out, usually on myself, before adding them to my coaching toolbox.

    By the mid-eighties I was experimenting with video and computer editing. With the visit to Ipswich by double Olympic Hammer champion Yuri Sedykh in 1986 I was able to produce a video of his training and some throws comparisons. 27 years on, I am still being sent requests for copies. In the start of the 1990's, I then worked on producing sequences of athletes on computer, and printing them for the use by the athletes and their coaches. So primitive was the system used, that both the above were produced through an Amiga computer, with 1Mb of processing RAM.

    Fortune again struck, when Olympic Discus thrower and the first athlete to win an AAA title at all the age groups, Paul Mardle moved to Ipswich for work. Whilst he settled and looked for a house, he lived with my family for nearly a year, so again I had a highly skilled athlete to observe, question and learn from. Three years later, Mark Proctor returned to the area from overseas. I had known him since he was about 11, and he asked if I could coach him. From 1989 through to 2000, he improved to 20.85m and was the first male Shot Putter in the UK to attend all the current major championships.

    Because Mark had been a bobsleigh competitor, and that sport was very interested in how he had developed, I was asked to design some strength programmes for the British Bobsleigh Association. They liked what I produced and I was offered the post of Strength Coach to the British Team, in the lead up to the 1998, Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Then, as now, I had never seen a bobsleigh event live. I had to work from scratch, as there are no books available to help design programmes for this sport. The 4-man team picked up an Olympic Bronze medal and I was dropped from the programme! I moved to the Netherlands Bobsleigh Team, again as Strength Coach, and over two years they improved to 7th in the world, from 23rd. After the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake, I had a brief return to the British Team, but ceased any activity with the sport in 2003, very interesting though, and a time of great learning for me. I was proud of the results both teams produced.

    All through this time, I was still coaching athletics and finding myself on National Squads, but now as a coach. Because of the work I'd done with Mark Proctor, I was now on the Shot Squads, as well as Hammer. So once again I was expanding my knowledge and stealing every good idea and concept I considered useful. In 1999, I was offered the position of National Coach, for either the Shot or Hammer. I declined, citing I was too heavily involved in Bobsleigh, to do a good job, little knowing I would be dropped by that sport so soon after!

    Dropping back into athletics I stayed on a low profile, working locally and accepting some invitations to coach further afield. Over a period of years in this period, I realised, that despite of my position as an athlete and a coach, I had no idea of whom the National Coaches were for the throws, which I considered very disturbing. When I did find out who held the positions, I contacted them and asked if I could attend a National Squad, at my own expense, as an observer, but both refused. I discussed this with fellow competitor and close friend, Rob Earle and we decided, that rather that criticising and sniping from the sides, we would set out to try and cause change to happen. I believed coaches were being stifled by an athlete centred system and that there was no pathway of development for coaches. This seemed wrong, as athletes are transitory, whilst investing in a coach can pay dividends for tens of years.

    In the early years of the century, I decided to make a trip to Sutton, in South London, to observe the South East coaching squads. The Hammer coach for that day didn't appear, so after a while I just started helping out. At the end of the session, I was asked if I'd care to take up the position of Hammer Coach for the Squad. I accepted, relishing the chance to work with the other coaches, including Mike Winch and John Hillier, with the days being organised by Mark Chapman. These squads were coach centred, with athletes only being coached through their own coach, which was a system I endorsed. These days became so successful, that we were getting requests to attend from as far afield as Cornwall and Lincolnshire. This work coincided with having been asked to be regional coach for the West Midlands, in the Shot and Hammer and then being made Throws Coach Coordinator for the Eastern Region. Finally I was working in my own neighbourhood.

    Within about a year of joining these groups I was offered the post of National Coach for the Hammer. I had come a long way in a short time, but again this was short-lived, as the national coaches were disbanded after a year, being replaced by a coach coordinator and lead coach, who was Lorraine Shaw for the Hammer. Whilst Lorraine dealt with the athletes, I started to bring in coaches on the basis of their potential, rather than just inviting only those coaches with athletes on the squad. So again the idea of a coach pathway was being instigated. I felt that this system worked well and we saw improvements happening, which was down to the work of both Lorraine and myself.

    Another reorganisation took place and the old system passed on. I applied for one of the new national coach mentor posts, for the Hammer, but was unsuccessful initially, fifteen months later I was offered the post and over the next two years also took on the role for the Shot and Discus. With this England based programme, the standard of throws coaching has improved and the heavy throws have been the most improving event group in the last few years.

    I have now taken on the post of being the Event Group Lead for British Athletics, which brings me right up to date (2014) with my career, as the initially, accidental coach.

    By the way Dad, they now pay me!

    In this post, my remit is coach education and event development. The role straddles both England Athletics and British Athletics. My education role sits with mentoring and event knowledge for coaches. It is not coach qualifications, for which we have specific staff to deal with. The Event Leads will be working closely with that side of things, but will not be involved in the day to day running of it. I still sit in overall control of the National Coach Development Programme (NCDP) for the throw, which is an England initiative, to mentor, help develop and support coaches. This can take many guises, from specific media to international coach and conference exposure.

    The team of National Coach Mentors for the throws are now:- David Parker - Javelin; Rob Earle - Hammer; Mark Chapman - Shot & Discus South and Ivan Washington - Shot & Discus North. Neither their job, nor mine is to coach athletes. Athletes and performance still sit with the Performance Team at British Athletics. This is a very important distinction, as some members of our community believe the Event Group Lead role, is that of a national coach, it is not, it is as spelt out above. Unfortunately we do not yet have a Performance Coach in place for the throws, which leaves us at a disadvantage at the moment.

    In as much as the NCDP in an England Programme, I am tasked with assisting the other Home Countries/Celtic Nations in the development of the throws and coaches. Even before the start of this initiative, I had been forging links with our neighbours and inviting some coaches to our events. I look forward to meeting with their coaching staff, progressing the throws in those countries and sharing ideas with them.

    Sitting below the mentees on the NCDP, there is the Local Coach Development Plan (LCDP).

    The England Athletics Club & Coach Support Officers (CCSO) runs these throughout England. These are reactive posts, which work best when the coach approaches them for help, or with ideas to improve. If they are not contacted such, it makes it very difficult for them to help coaches and clubs in the way that they need. It really is a case of, if you don't ask, you won't get!

    My initial aim, which is already well progressed, is to have a direct link to every throws coach/interested party in the UK. I want to be able to communicate with the whole throws community, from grass roots to international, so no coach feels isolated and left out. I already have gathered a mailing list of 300 plus people, so if anyone out there is not getting frequent e-mails from me, you need to contact me and give me an e-mail address.

    Contact mfenton@britishathletics.org.uk

    The biggest obstacle to the throws really improving, and the events fulfilling their potential, is the lack of access to throws facilities nowadays. Very few parts of the country have throws facilities that can be used all year round, this is especially so with the Hammer. Unfortunately the infields of tracks are very appealing to ball sports in the winter months and also a good source of income for the facility provider. If a facility is to lose its infield in the winter, then the club must press for an alternative site to be provided for the throws. The sticking point though is, that most clubs are happy to have a track and don't care if the throws areas cannot be accessed. This may sound harsh, but it is the fact of a throwers life. At my own track in Ipswich, it took 21 years to persuade the council to allow throwing all year round. The throwers too have to fight to keep facilities usable. Press your club, your council and your MP over the matter and keep doing it. We may have the talent, the coaches and the knowledge, but without facilities it comes to nothing.

    Long term, I want to be judged by how much the throws and the coaches improve, and that they are satisfied with the service they have been given. With, for the first time, a full complement of National Coach Mentors in England, I hope that coaches will get a more personal service than I could offer, when running the entire heavy throws. If coaches want to attend an event we are running as observers, I usually allow this. I never want to turn a coach away as had happened to me. I have no intention to stay in this post too long. Such positions require fresh blood to infuse the sport. Fresh blood I hope, that has passed though the veins of this system and is ready to carry forward the sport.

    Kind Regards,

    Malcolm Fenton


  • CoachWYSE

    I'm currently President [edit - was formerly VP] of the British American Football Coaches' Association, and was Director of Coach Education from 2008-12. Whilst this is a voluntary role, I'm relentless in my efforts to develop players and coaches, and particularly to bring an evidence-based approach to a sport that relies too heavily on a North American-based model (in which the "cream rises to the top" without necessarily being influenced by coaching).

    Lots of cross-over between the work in "my" sport and my professional role - I'm Head of Advanced Apprenticeships in Sporting Excellence(AASE) at South Gloucestershire & Stroud College. I work closely with a number of National Governing Bodies of Sport on their talent pathways with 16-19 year olds, and the associated staff. My work brings me into close contact with coaches and other staff in Basketball, Boxing, Football, Fencing, Judo, Rugby Union,  Table Tennis, and Wheelchair Basketball

    I also have my own "Precision Athlete and Coach Development" Group on Facebook. You are more than welcome to join ... https://www.facebook.com/groups/ClockwYseC04CHING/

    A fuller version of my coaching 9and playing) story can be found on pages 42-51 of  http://issuu.com/sophierobinsonsportsphotography/docs/internet_copy_magazine/1?e=17192278/12962601

  • andrewb62

    hi - my name is Andrew Beaven, and I am a crickegt coach, working for myslef and also with the MCC Academy and the Essex County Cricket Board.

    My first experience of coaching others was at University, where I worked for a season with the newly formed Ladies' section. After graduating, I helped out with coaching and umpiring for the Colts at my local cricket club, the Oakfield Parkonians, but only started out on the formal coaching pathway in 2009 when I took the ECB level 1 "Coaching Assistant" qualification.

    I am now a level 2 (UKCC2) coach, working extensively with the Colts' section (U9-16) both outdoors and indoors during the winter, delivering both group and individual coaching and devising programme and session plans for the Club. In 2013 I began work with the senior players, working across all XIs of the Club.

    Practical experience, and in particluar the opportunity to work with other coaches, has modified my own coaching practices, but I also try to make a commitement to ongoing CPD. In the last year, I have attended coaching conferences of both the ECB Coaches Association and the FA Licensed Coaches' Club, and participated in pilot workshops and e-learning projects for the ECB "Coaching Young People & Adults" and "Coaching Children" programmes.

    Since the spring of 2014 I have been a member of the team of coaches at the MCC Academy, Lord's, working with children aged 4-13. I have been Lead Coach for group of “Cricket Cubs” (age 5-7) and Little legends (age 3-4), with responsibility for delivering and developing coaching programmes to support the players’ individual development.

    In 2015, I have joined the coaches working for Essex County Cricket Board at the Graham Gooch Indoor Cricket Centre, and around the County.

    I am also a qualified cricket umpire, working to achieve the level 1a qualification in 2015. I recently started on the football coaching pathway, completing the FA Learning level 1 course in 2014.

  • DBrown

    Great story Emma, good luck with following up on your Coaching Quals - upward and onward!


  • pippaglen

    Thanks Denise,  I have since left the harriers and moved on due to work commitments, however I still coach athletics throughout schools and have progressed in  different sports massively. As you say onwards and definitely upwards With great determination I will achieve 😀

  • tabletennistom

    Hi all

    From as early as I can remember I was a sports addict - football, rugby, cricket, athletics, tennis, table tennis - I would play everything. By aged 12 I started to specialise in footabll and was selected to play football for the county. But then disaster struck, I tore my anterior cruciate ligament, which is quite a rare and freak accident for a 12 year old. 

    I had to stop playing all sports until was 16, when I had a major operation to reconstruct my knee. In short I never really recovered from this injury. And despite trying to play football over the years, the knee was never stable enough to allow me to participate fully.

    But I had to do something! And that's when I to back into a sport I enjoyed as a child - table tennis, which was a little easier on my knee.

    The seemingly simple challenge of hitting a small ball, with a small bat, over a small net soon turned into a lasting passion. The sport is not as simple as it looks! To develop the movement, coordination and technique to return balls travelling up to 100 miles per hour can take a lifetime to master. 

    I played for many years in the Central London Table Tennis League for Finsbury Table Tennis Club and during this time did my first coaching qualification, so I could help out at the club. 

    From here, my interest in coaching grew. With fellow coach Sanket Shah, I set up Highbury Table Tennis club and spent more and more time coaching other players.

    In 2013, I moved to Cambridge and now coach and play in the city and surrounding areas. 

    I focus predominatly on 1 to 1 coaching (there seems to be huge demand!). I coach players from 10 years old to over 80 years old. I often find it is the adults who have the biggest appetitie to learn. Because table tennis can be played by any age - even if you start at 60, you still have plenty of time to become a very good player. 

    I coach part-time, up to 10 hours per week, and have a desk based job for the rest of the week. I also a keen table tennis blogger and have started creating some online video tuturials too.

    Find out more about me here: http://www.tabletenniscoach.me.uk/


  • jorideabike

    Hi all,

    Well my coaching story is only really just beginning compared to some of the others on here. I have been coaching for 3 years with many more to come I hope!

    I am a cyclist and as such a cycling coach. Currently qualified as a Level 2 UKCC Cycling Coach and have very recently undertaken my Track Cycling Award and am currently fulfilling my 6 hours needed to be fully qualified.

    I got into coaching a bit by accident, my mum was a cycling coach for quite a few years before me and I only got the idea that I might want to do it when I left home and starting working and joined the club I used to cycle with when I was 6 or 7 and they were still running the monday night sessions I used to attend many years before. I could see that they needed to changed what they were doing and bring a bit more excitment to the sessions. I felt I could fill a much needed gap, being younger so not the childrens parents age and being female. It took a bit of persuading for the head coach to find me some funding that would enable me to attend the course. Whilst I did the course in 2012 I didnt actually finish all the paperwork until Dec 2014 but in between times I learnt so much and formed relationships with all the parents and children there inculding the group of girls that are now thriving in the club, which while I didn't bring them to the club I believe my presence encouraged them to stay.

    I enjoyed it so much infact that I quit my job and have just finished my first year studying Sport Coaching and Sport Development at university, the only thing I don't like is that I had to move away from the area and now don't have a regular group to coach.

    I am not yet sure where I want my degree to lead me however I am about to train (tomorrow in fact) as a Balance Bike Instructor/Coach which is a new challenge for me and I am looking forward to it :)

  • RachelWhyatt

    Hi my name is Rachel Whyatt and I coach ice hockey for Slough Junior Jets. The first comment I get is "wow - ice hockey" but it has been a sport that I was brought up with, one that I continue to love!

    I started off figure skating at around age 5 in Nottingham (being a girl that's what we did!) and even though I went to hockey games as a child and my younger brothers played, I never showed any interest myself - there were no other girls.  When I was 14 I was invited to play for the Womens team, juggling both hockey and figure skating - which is actually pretty difficult!

    We had several coaches over the years, always a Dad or boyfriend but I was really inspired when one of my team-mates (ex GB) took on the role and I asked her if I could take a session to see what it is like (aged 17 and coaching the Womens Premier team!). I actually did my Level 1 cos I wanted to learn how to play, no one had really taught me in detail - and then 2 years later did my Level 2.

    After university, I lived in Austin, TX for 2 years, I was on the ice almost every day, coaching the squirt travel team and playing on several adult teams. I was fortunate that I was able to take my Level 1 and 2 USA Hockey in the same weekend as there was a push to get certified coaches. I was also a camp counsellor and on ice assistant coach for 6 years at a summer hockey camp in Canada, surrounded by so many amazing people - even met Wayne Gretzky and Hayley Wickeneiser.

    Came back to Nottingham and focussed on my "playing career", but ended up working in London and taking on a coaching role with Streatham u16s. A couple of years and a broken leg later, I'm now with Slough Junior Jets, coaching the u12s.

    What I would like to see is a lot more focus on coaching, developing everyone, not just a few, making courses more accessible and cheaper. Through quality coaches we get quality players...

  • MatteJHart

    I got into assistant coaching at my local gymnastics club when I was 14. I soon stopped training myself and enjoyed working with children and helping them enjoy a sport I had got so much from. I kepy my coaching up through my teenage years and eventually decided to try and make a go of it. I applied myself and worked my way up the qualifications. I enjoy learning and studying and that has fulled my own coach education.

    I'm now coaching skills I didn't know existed when I was a young coach. I love how explosive and exciting gymnastics is. I have ended up in TeamGym, specifically coaching junior and senior men. I like that this thread of gymnastics breaks away from the early specialisation stereotype within gymnastics. As long as they have some good foundations or are willing to work hard, TeamGym can offer someone a career in gymnastics that other, more traditional gymnastics disciplines, perhaps could not.

    I enjoy coaching young adults because you are involved in their lives futher than just a physical activity they are engaging in. You are in a position as the coach to help them become the adult they want to be and help them tap into their potential. It's the life lessons of committment to a team, time management and self-confidence that I enjoy coaching as much as the somersaults and twists. 

  • Erin

    Hello everyone, 

    My name is Erin, I started helping out at junior hockey sessions when I was about 13 and have been coaching ever since. I have spent time developing my knowledge across a few different sports and have Level 1 certificates in Cricket, Handball and Stoolball and I am a Level 2 Hockey Coach. Hockey is my main sport and I am the Junior Coordinator at my local club whilst also coaching various age groups (junior & senior). I am also a coach at the local Junior Development Centre (JDC). Graduating in 2012, I have a degree in Sports Coaching & Development which has provided me with a solid foundation of knowledge to relate practical coaching with the ever chaging sports industry. I am constantly looking to improve my coaching and learn from others to help provide the best to the athletes I coach. 

    I hope that I learn lots from being a part of this community. 


  • eyerite

    I'm currently the Director of Swimming & Head Coach for Hatfield Swimming Club in Hertfordshire, although I will soon (in early September) be taking up a new position as Performance Coach for the City of Glasgow Swim Team.

    My coaching journey started in the early 1990's when I began to help out with some of the sessions at the swimming clubs I was training at (Bradford, York and later Warrender in Edinburgh).  I decided I wanted to pursue a career in coaching and quickly did as many of the swimming governing body qualifications as I could at that time.  I also signed up for a Masters degree in Coaching Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

    I was in the right place at the right time when I got my first proper paid coaching position as Head Coach of Warrender Baths Club in Edinburgh.  I had been swimming at the club whilst doing my masters degree and when the coach we had unexpectedly left late in the season, the club asked me if I would take over.  They were at a bit of a loose end at the time and short of money and I fit the bill for them - I came cheap!  That was 1996.

    I stayed at Warrender for 13 years before moving to work for Scottish Swimming as the Performance Coach at the National Centre in Stirling (based on the University of Stirling campus).  Four and a half years of that and I then took the position I'm in now at Hatfield.

    I enjoy coaching and stay motivated to do it because (1) I think I am good at it, (2) I love helping dedicated young people try to achieve their goals, and (3) it's exciting to be involved in a sport that you love, particularly with the aim of achieving at the highest possible level.

  • JoYapp

    Hi All

    My name is Jo Yapp and I am a very proud mum of Megan (4) and Jack (2). Both keep me very busy.

    I started coaching Rugby 2010 after I retired from playing. I was also a P.E Teacher for 5 years.

    In 2010 I moved to Exeter and instead of getting a teaching job I started coaching at Exeter University. Alongside coaching there I started to go through the various coaching qualifications and I am now a Level 3 coach.

    Whilst still coaching at the University I progressed from coaching South west u15's, England 7's development and now England ladies u20's.

    England U20s at Exeter Univeristy are now my current roles both part time. Both roles are great, as I find that particular age group really receptive but also challenging.

    I am currently on thre Aspire programme which has really supported my coaching. Working alongside my mentor has really challenged me and given me the time I need reflect on my coaching and set appropriate goals.

    Look forward to using this website.



  • DannyNewcombe

    I am Danny Newcombe. A full on pedagogy geek! Interested in all aspects of physical pedagogy from primary phys ed through to international hockey coaching. This might explain the number of roles I am currently doing:

    Hockey Coach for Wales Senior and u21 International Hockey Teams. Hockey Coach for Southgate Hockey Club. Lecturer in Sport, Coaching and PE at Oxford Brookes University. Director of Coaching for Boing Kids. Coach Educator for England Hockey. Ed. D Student at Oxford Brookes University. 

    Passionate about reducing the theory to practice gap in physical pedagogy. Current research interests are in non-linear pedagogy and scaffolding.

    Looking forward to some lively discussions. 


  • LawrieOK


    Feeling honoured to be invited to join CONNECTED COACHES pre-launch - awesome entries on this forum already. I am lucky enough to have met a few of you already, and I hope to meet more in the years ahead.

    Having been raised in South Africa I was exposed to most sports from an early age, and being at boarding school I had plenty of opportunities to try them all. Rugby was compulsory, but hockey captured my heart. 56 Seasons later I am still actively pursuing that love, although I finally stopped playing at the end of last Summer. My playing and umpiring careers have taken me to the top of the pile, and given me immense pleasure along the way.

    My coaching story unsurprisingly started late in this never ending journey, and is founded in the long held belief that I should give back to the sport I love as much as I possibly can. Every hockey player should be given the opportunity to get as much enjoyment from our sport as they can; whatever I can do to aid this I will do. 

    Holcombe HC, in Rochester was my first port of call when I arrived 20 years ago. After a few Seasons playing there I was approached by Members to coach the U18 Boys, which led to me becoming their first Director of Junior Hockey. Establishing a JDC and later JAC was a logical progression, and eventually led me to a few years in the JRPC programme too. To be able to do all this 'coaching' to some sort of acceptable level I attended the usual NGB courses. I am not a fan of this style of 'qualification' to be honest - e.g. passing a driving licence test does not prepare you for driving a vehicle in my opinion. CPD however is another love affair for me.

    Nowadays I am a professional hockey coach - working for an Independent School in London, coaching at a Club based at the Olympic Park, supporting coaching iniatives for the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre and Others, and currently coaching the ENGLAND HOCKEY Mixed Team in preparation for two Internationals against WALES in July 2015.

    Although I am a late developer, coaching excites me because of its multi-faceted nature. Every day brings a new challenge, a new opportunity to learn, a new experience for me and my charges. The possibilities of technology in coaching is a world I am working to get to grips with, as my target audience are all techno-natives.

  • LawrieOK

    Hey Andy, I would appreciate connecting with you asap. Thx, Lawrie.

  • Blake

    Hello everyone. By way of formal introduction, my name is Blake Richardson and I have joined Coachwise as a content creator working for the marketing department.

    I was group sports editor of the Bradford Telegraph & Argus and York Press newspapers for 13 years and before that worked at The Press Association. I kicked off my journalism career 23 years ago (is it really that long ago?) as a sports reporter at the Harrogate Advertiser.

    By way of informal introduction, I am and have always been sports mad. I work, rest and play sport. My job, my hobbies and my hours spent lounging in front of the television: sport, sport and sport (with the exception of Game of Thrones!). In short, to use golfing parlance, my wife is a 'sports widow'.

    My amateur career as a sportsman can best be summed up by the phrase 'jack of all trades, master of none'.

    At the age of 44, I have long since  retired from football (I still have daily withdrawal symptoms though) and boxing (I dabbled as an amateur in my early and mid 20s but my face will testify to my lack of talent) and having children has done for my golf career (I WILL be making a comeback some day).

    But my top two passions are running and cycling, and the latest addition to the family is my Trek Elmonda SL6 road bike. Just as expensive as having a new baby and, some Lycra-clad enthusiasts might say, though obviously not me, just as gorgeous!

    I have given up trying to better my half marathon PB of 1hr 23mins but am still hopeful of lowering my best time of 18.50 in the Hyde Park Leeds Parkrun. The problem is, I set that a week after cycling from Lands End to John O'Groat's in June 2013 when I actually had leg muscles in my skinny pins.

    After a number of years on the production side of newspapers and websites, designing pages, writing headlines and the like, I am looking forward to indulging in a writing revival.

    I am genuinely interested in coaching techniques and philosophies and will derive great satisfaction from talking to coaches from a broad spectrum of sports, grass roots to elite level. If I can be another small cog in the wheel as we strive towards the common goal of swapping ideas and sharing knowledge to develop coaching expertise in the United Kingdom then, well, job's a good 'un, as they say.

    I will be immersing myself in ConnectedCoaches and a lot of my time will be spent researching and writing blogs for the site, so if there are any topics you want to discuss or coaching pearls of wisdom you want me to publicise, don't hesitate to get in touch at brichardson@coachwise.ltd.uk

  • HockeyCoachSJE

    Hi, Steve Eversfield

    Well I started playing hockey when I joined the Army some 30+ years ago, when we still played on grass!!

    Having played throughout my career within the Military I had a short spell with Osnabruck in Germany and several clubs in UK.

    Having represented the Army Medical Services and eventually the Army & Combined Services Masters I started to slow down, a bit anyway, and found myself drifting towards coaching. Eventually I decided that I ought to get some formal coach education and in due course completed my EH UKCC Level 2 and the Bronze Goalkeeping Award. Along the way I also qualified as a MIAS level 4 Mountain Bike Instructor and a RFU Level 1 Coach.

    All of this coach ed set me on a path that crossed over with my service career and whilst I completed the Army Instructor Supervisor qualification it seemed I might have a talent for this education, mentoring, development lark.

    Through either a thirst for knowledge or as a gluten for punishment, over the last two years I have thrown myself into a MSc in Performance Coaching, whilst still serving and coaching In the England Hockey Single System at Development, Academy and Junior Performance levels.

    More recently I have become involved in SCUK Talent Coach Development programme as a Coach Developer for Sport Hampshire & Isle of Wight and remain the Development Officer at Gosport Borough Hockey Club.

    Thanks All

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