Coaches get ready, get set to be sporting champions

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Published Date: 

27 Nov 2012 - 12:09

SPORTS enthusiasts throughout Argyll and Bute have the opportunity to start honing their skills as Argyll and Bute Council opens bookings for the Coaching Champions programme on Friday 30 November.

The award-winning sports coaching programme returns for 2013 with a refreshing new array of courses and opportunities for existing and new sports coaches.

Coaching Champions is recognised across the country as the premium event for training in sports coaching, and attracted over 450 participants to the 2012 event. It has grown steadily over its six-year life to offer local opportunities for coaches, teachers, instructors, clubs, youth leaders and community volunteers to train in quality sports coaching. The majority of courses are provided for clubs and organisations training new coaches or for people wishing to train in a new sport. This foundation training ensures that children in Argyll and Bute get the best quality, most up-to-date coaching which is supported by sportscotland and the governing bodies of sport.

Coaches require to learn more than just the content of their chosen sport. They need to be familiar with first aid, child protection, organisational skills, nutrition and how to be a good coach. These areas are covered in the Coaching Essentials section.

Outdoor adventure sport requires leaders to be competent and confident of their own skills, and Argyll and Bute Council works with Stramash Outdoor Social Enterprise to provide a mixed programme to build these skills. Also included for the first time are Duke of Edinburgh Expedition Supervisor and Assessor courses where volunteers within this excellent programme can train under competent tutors and pass their skills on to local young people.

Following last year’s success, this year’s Swim School has been extended, including sessions in Dunoon and Helensburgh on water polo, coaching swimming and adult/child specialist courses during February to April.

Another great addition is the Coach Academy - a section specifically designed for experienced coaches and teachers to hone their skills and ensure the pathway they offer to their children and athletes is planned, appropriate and progressive. Two of the finest mentors have been enlisted to help, including Kelvin Giles, an Olympic rugby, tennis, golf and athletics coach, who will deliver a full day of skills development experience. There will also be a session with Tony Stanger, talent manager at the Scottish Institute of Sport and well known as a British Lion and Scottish rugby star. He will help coaches recognise what helps to develop talent in sport and how to recognise it.

Other courses of note within the packed programme, reflecting the growth of sport in Argyll and Bute, are triathlon, netball, hockey, athletics, Nordic walking and archery, but the traditional sports of football, shinty, rugby, badminton, basketball and volleyball are not forgotten!

Community groups, youth organisations and schools are particularly encouraged to look at the table tennis, netball, basketball and volleyball courses where a fantastic discount is on offer to encourage more playing of these sports in our area. With a new approach to the management of school sports facilities being encouraged by the Scottish Government and sportscotland, these sports and activities have great potential and need qualified coaches to help grow opportunities for young people.

Argyll and Bute Council’s lead councillor for sport, Councillor Dougie Philand said that Coaching Champions was an opportunity not to be missed by anyone wishing to become a quality coach, or wanting to improve their skills.

 “This is a unique event in Scotland – no other local authority runs anything like it, and we’re proud of what it has achieved so far,” he said.

“It reflects Argyll and Bute Council’s desire to increase participation in sports and physical activity, and combat social inequalities through getting people more active in our unique natural environment.

“Coaching Champions meets the aims of our Sport and Physical Activity Strategy by increasing the number of coaches in Argyll and Bute, improving the quality of coaching on offer and encouraging a general boost in sports participation.

“It has a number of distinct elements which will appeal to a wide range of people who are currently involved in sport or who would like to take the first step on the sports coaching ladder, and I would encourage anyone interested to sign up. It’s a fantastic event.”

The event takes place in Oban over the weekend of 1 to 3 February 2013, and booking opens on Friday 30 November. Courses can fill up very quickly, so early booking is advised.

Free minibus transport to Oban is available for participants from Dunoon, Campbeltown, Rothesay and Helensburgh (and anywhere en route during these journeys), however places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

During the weekend, those taking part will also be able to vote for their chosen Sports Coach and Volunteer of the Year in a number of categories. This peer recognition gives winners not only a memento of their achievement, but also qualifies them for the Scottish Sports Coach awards later in the year.

A full list of the courses on offer, what they cost and how to apply is on Argyll and Bute Council’s website at 

All courses are subsidised and supported by Argyll and Bute Council and sportscotland.

For further information, please contact