Talented Coaches Programme

About the programme

Applications have now closed for the 2016 programme, we will keep you updated with how the new group get on!

'The best course I have ever attended, full of different coaching ideas and touches on all aspects of sport. Meet other coaches, share ideas adapt them to your sport.'

Andy Unwin, Cricket Coach

Programme Criteria and FAQs -  Talented_Coaches_Programme_2016_Criteria.pdf

Bob's Blog

A few weeks in

Throughout the year Bob Truswell, a coach selected to take part in the 2014 programme will write about his personal experience. Please see below Bob's first blog. 

The Talented Coaches 2014 met for the second session of the year at County Hall. At the first session, we’d all circled around each other a bit and conversation was a bit stilted. This time, we started to get to know each other over coffee and also over Pete’s “speed dating” session. I took the opportunity to tell my Mansfield Town at Wembley 1987 story. This seemed to do the job and the ice was broken. I also learned a lot more about the other coaches and the sports that they take.

My sport is rugby union and I mainly coach “minis”. Before the course, I was worried that I’d be totally out of my depth and the other coaches would be with elite athletes and they would laugh at me and my Under 8s. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone has something productive to say and all of the coaches are really supportive of each other. We are finding that we can learn massive amounts from other sports and it is brilliant to escape the tunnel vision of our own sports. We are all secretly stealing, ahem, “borrowing”, ideas from each other to use in our own sessions. I think that in a few weeks we’ll be doing this quite blatantly and with the blessing of all the other coaches.

On the course we have loads of sports represented: netball, cricket, rugby, football, golf, archery, wrestling, table tennis… (sorry to anyone I’ve missed). We’ve also got the coach of a sport called Goalball. Fay explained that this is a sport that is mainly played by blind athletes and goes up to Paralympic level. Fantastic stuff!

The theme of the session was to discuss mentoring. We were asked to write down what our own mentor would look like. Apparently, “Kylie” was not an appropriate answer so I was asked to think again. I am looking for someone who deals with entry level to the sport. I’m really interested in core skills and transferrable skills that can be used across sports. I sense a Multiskills course coming on.

We are hopefully going to meet our mentors at the March session which will be held at a Nottingham RUFC rugby match. I’m sure if Ms Minogue is in the East Midlands area, I could get her a ticket.

Lastly, we’d spoken last time about attending a coaching session run by one of the Talented Coaches. Many, many thanks to Steve and Daniel who both put their hands up to volunteer to run sessions for us on Archery and Golf. Can’t wait!

8 Months in….

So, we’re now over half way through the Talented Coaches Programme. What have we learnt?

Well, personally speaking, I’ve learned so much new stuff that I’ve got coaching information spilling out of my ears. I’ve been to sessions on such a diverse range of topics that have really opened my eyes. There are so many fantastic things out there that I’ve NOT been doing. After the courses, I’ve immediately remedied this.

To give you some idea of the variety, amongst other things we’ve had sessions on Sports Psychology, Communication, Nutrition, Creativity in Coaching, Strength and Conditioning. None of these were sport specific and all of them have had an impact on my coaching. It’s really made me think about what I’m doing, pondering progressions and developing children through sport, rather than strictly teaching to the book. I also felt very guilty about the Mars Bar I’d scoffed in the car park just before the Nutrition session on “Eating Clean”.

My personal favourites have been the three Strength and Conditioning with 981 Sports. I didn’t know beforehand that we would be active participants in the sessions. I certainly knew about it when I tried to get out of bed the following morning!! I could hear a constant creaking noise during the core sessions. Ed the tutor told me not to worry and that it was my hopeless back. I’d soon loosen up! We later did a session on stretches and also speed and agility. I have used all of these in my weekly rugby sessions and they’ve gone down a treat.

The networking aspect of the course has also been fantastic. We regularly touch base with coaches from a wide variety of sports, dealing with players all the way from elite level down to beginner. Each has specific issues but there are lots of practices that can be borrowed, adapted and recycled in a different sporting context.

The course has made us all consider our coaching philosophy. I’ve realised that I don’t want to be Stuart Lancaster, but that I have skills at entry level sport to provide players with solid core skills as a foundation for their future progression. I’ve also realised that these skills aren’t rugby specific, and I’ve branched out into soccer goalkeeping and kwik cricket, retaining the same philosophy of core skills.

The best thing, though, is that the course gave me the confidence to apply for a post with the Three Counties Girls U13 Coaching Squad. I was very hesitant about this but Pete Forster was very supportive and said, “Go for it!” I brought out all of my Talented Coaches knowledge at the interview and was successful in getting the job. I don’t think I would ever have even considered applying if I hadn’t been on this course.

Post Talented Coaches Programme:

We had the first indoor cricket nets of the season last night for the Under 11s. It’s made me think about my coaching journey and I wanted to give you a progress report on life since our Talented Coaches course ended.

My sporting base has solidified and I’m now firmly involved in rugby, goalkeeping and cricket. The course helped me to really think about my coaching philosophy (Richard Cheetham!) and I realised that I absolutely love entry level coaching where you can make a huge difference by embedding core skills at an early age.

My coaching opportunities have mushroomed. This week panned out like this:

Sunday- U7/8 tag rugby at the club

Monday- Schools Yr3/4 tag followed by observation at Nottingham Forest Goalkeepers Development session at Jo Whit.

Tuesday- outfield football to help out an injured coach. Organised a conditioned 3 v 3 tournament. Blotted my copybook by continually awarding “Tries”

Wednesday- Writing session plans. Plan – Do – Review

Thursday- indoor cricket session for years 1 – 6. Mixed ability, age and experience. Creative coaching!

Friday- U13 girls contact rugby. They are now becoming very good and I’m sort of at the point where I will pass them on to someone else and I’ll drop back to welcome new starters ready for next season

Saturday- touchline dad watching my boy play for his football team

It’s only when I’ve sat back and reflected that I’ve realised how much the Talented Coaches sessions have affected my coaching activity. I now use the 981 fitness stuff in every session. My kids are sick of planking and dead beetle. I see other coaches shouting at children, whereas I try to stay quiet and highlight positives. I’m a huge fan of the idea of developing children through sport, rather than the other way round. This is sometimes a bit challenging in football, but we are getting there.

I’ve really stepped outside my comfort zone. I never thought I’d be reffing inter-county rugby matches, but I’ve done this many times this season. I’ve met some fantastic, inspirational people both on the course and as a result of it. I recently got a chance to shadow a Derbyshire Cricket Board coach, Jake Needham, on primary school sessions. This has really helped my delivery and dealing with big groups.

So, what’s next? I’ve signed up to do my soccer Level 2. You can’t do Goalkeeper Level 2 until you have this so I will grit  my teeth and get stuck in. I’m booked on the National Goalkeeper’s Conference at St George’s Park in April which I’m unbelievably excited about. Sessions with the England Ladies goalie coach and talks from John Carver and Pat Bonner. I really can’t wait!

But best of all, myself and Pete are trying to pass on your / our ethos to coaches around us. We’ve now both got management roles at the rugby club and we’re trying to create a pool of like-minded, positive, player-centred coaches to take over the torch and pass it on.

All in all, I can’t thank you enough for putting me on the course and for the fantastic opportunities that it has raised. It has really been life-changing and I don’t think I’d have done half the things I am now doing without the course.



Talented Coaches Programme Previous Feedback

I cannot express how much I personally have gained from the Talented Coaches programme, it is a great programme to be part of and would recommend the new recruits take advantage of all the training opportunities on offer to them, even if it is not connected to their sport. What they can learn from the tutors and coaches is invaluable.

Pauline Gourley, Nova Swimming Coach

I've taken a great deal from the programme - I've developed a number of areas of my coaching and feel that the breadth of experience I have gained has given me great confidence. It’s a fantastic programme & I know that those being coached across the County will benefit from it.

Andy Stout,RugbyCoach

Further more I would just like to personally thank you for the experience that was Talented Coaches Programme, as I got a vast amount of experience and knowledge out of the course which is being put to good use atMansfieldSC.The course was invaluable to volunteers like myself and long may it continue as the net result goes out to many many more people as we pass on the skills and knowledge gained from it     

Grahame Hempsall, Swimming Coach

I just wanted to thank you for everything you have done for me over the past year, the course was very inspiring and as a young coach it was very nice to know that you are appreciated.

Jordon Wetton, Football Coach 

Coaching Development Officer

The Coaching Development Officer at Sport Nottinghamshire is Pete Forster he can be contacted on peter.forster@ntu.ac.uk you can follow Pete on Twitter for updates @CoachingNotts

Talented Coaches Case Study