British Gymnastics High Performance Coaching Scholarship a success

Paul Brett HPC piece

We are delighted that the British Gymnastics High Performance Coaching Scholarship is benefiting the professional development of coaches who have successfully completed our High Performance Coach Development Programme.

The programme supports their development by providing the opportunity to access funding towards a sports coaching related undergraduate or post-graduate degree.

Two top level coaches, Paul Greaves, a trampoline coach from Sheffield and Brett Ince, a women’s artistic coach from Park Wrekin, in Telford have recently used the scholarship to further their studies. We caught up with them to find out how it has benefited them…

What made you apply for the programme?

Paul: “Coaching for me is about helping people to continually improve and develop. If as coaches we also don’t continually develop ourselves then we are at risk of our practices becoming stagnant as opposed to innovative, this is the main reason for myself applying for the program. I love learning and developing new ways of thinking and this is another main reason for me applying for the programme.”

Brett: “I applied for the programme after I was informed by John Trower about the course at UCLan. John is a coach mentor on Adrian Stan’s HPCDP and also does a similar job on the university course.”

What degree did you undertake using the scholarship and what was your experience like?

Paul: “I undertook a Post grad diploma in Elite Coaching practice which I’m currently topping up to a Master’s degree in philosophy. The post grad diploma was extremely powerful in aiding my development as a coach and indeed a person. Working with elite coaches from a variety of sports was so valuable as we were able to share practices, develop solutions to problems as well as becoming a support network for each other. Since completing the course I am still in contact with many of the coaches and continually share ideas and experiences in order to support one another.”  

Brett: “I did a post-graduate diploma in elite coaching practise at UCLan. I found the course very helpful. It was a dimension of coach education I had never experienced before. It requires good time management because there is plenty of work to do but you do get the rewards for your work. It is also a great opportunity to mix with elite coaches from other sports.”

How has it helped you in your professional development?

Paul: “The course has greatly increased my knowledge and indeed confidence in numerous areas such as cognitive development, skill acquisition and psychological characteristics for developing excellence. As a direct result this has helped not only with my own personal coaching but indeed with my role as a coach educator and developer. There is so much relevant and useful research and knowledge out there that so many of us simply are not exposed to. By being part of the course it opened up so many avenues of exploration to further enhance my coaching tool box.”

Brett: “As the course is not Sports specific, it forces you to analyse the very core of your coaching and rebuild the basics upwards. Reading research and material I would never have done unless required to, has given me even more coaching tools.”

How important do you feel it is, that coaches and professionals within our sport are constantly learning/upskilling?

Paul: “Continually developing yourself as a coach is an absolute necessity. Learning is not only about learning what to do but indeed what not to do,  you can learn so much from your own and other peoples mistakes. One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was from my Mentor, now our Head National Coach, Tracy Whittaker Smith who advised me to further my education in whichever way I could. Coaching is not simply teaching athletes a set of moves/skills it’s about providing them with all the tools necessary to develop and improve in order for them to reach their potential. The more learning and upskilling we do as coaches the more chance our athletes have of succeeding. I truly believe that the day we stop learning is the day we die, so my advice would be to take every development opportunity available to you!”

Brett: “If you stop learning as a coach then it’s probably time to retire. If you are continually learning and trying to become a better, more skilful coach then that mindset will rub off on the athletes and coaches around you. As an extra, I want to personally thank British Gymnastics for the opportunity. I would never have been able to afford it without the help and hopefully the investment in my education will help British Gymnastics in the future.”

If you have taken part in the High Performance Coach Development Programme and are interested in a high performance coaching scholarship, find out more by contacting educations@british-gymnastics.org, or alternatively if you are moving through your coaching pathway and want to do the next course please have a look at the options available to you online.

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