I have been playing and engaged in sports since primary school, across a huge range of different sports – some more successfully than others.
At secondary school, I was fortunate to have a very passionate rugby coach in Trevor Staker, a Royal Marine PE Instructor. I also had a similar cricket coach in the legendary Stan Eardley. I still hear his immortal phrase, “raise, step and play” every time I hold a bat.
Like many coaches, I started by helping out at my local rugby club and was quickly asked to formalise this role, taking over as head coach once I had passed my Intermediate coaching level, back in 1992.
I now coach rugby at Northern FC in the under-15 age group and Northumberland County at under-15 and 16 age groups.
I am acutely aware of what sport has given me and coaching, for me, is about ‘giving back’.
I often see kids who were lacking in the five Cs (competence, confidence, connection, character and creativity) before sport helped to empower them and allowed them to express themselves as individuals.
My mantra is ‘team is king’.
Getting the best out of a team is quite simple: ask them what they want to achieve and why, and then empower them to take ownership of their own performance.
I have always preferred to use the term ‘situational leadership’ in the workplace. At Cellular Solutions we apply the right leadership, given the levels of competence that we have. In team sports, you need to make a general assessment of people’s talents and skills and work with that, too.
My advice to other coaches is to surround yourself with the right team, use a common language, create a learning environment and focus on performance not results.