What is your role at Elite Youth Sports and how long have you been with us?

Hi i’m Ryan and my role at Elite is a level 4 sports coach apprentice. This role involves going into different primary schools throughout the week and teaching their PE lessons. I have been working at Elite for a total of 3 years. I started working at Elite, then left to go to college for 2 years, once I finished college, I then came back to complete the level 4 apprenticeship. 

Doing an apprenticeship has allowed me to gain practical, on the job experience in a real working environment. This suits me much better as I’m able to develop my skills and knowledge through direct experience, rather than just in a classroom. 

What made you want to become a sports coach?

Being a sports coach is a challenging and rewarding career. I’ve always had a passion for sport and want to use my skills to help others. I enjoy working with people, building relationships and making a positive impact on their lives. Seeing the smiles on the athletes faces when they achieve their goals is so rewarding.

How do you handle and resolve conflicts between players?

When conflict arises between players it’s important to address it as soon as possible. I talk to the players privately and separately to gather information about the issue. It’s important to avoid blaming or accusing language. Understanding the root of the problem can help me to find an appropriate solution. Once I’ve found this out, I’m then able to mediate a solution. I have a discussion with the players and ensure that they find a mutually acceptable solution and take responsibility for their actions.  

How do you approach building team chemistry and creating a positive team culture?

To help build team chemistry and a positive team culture, I establish a supportive, friendly environment where athletes feel valued, respected and encouraged to take risks and learn from their mistakes. I put emphasis on the importance of teamwork and celebrate their successes. It’s important to recognise the contributions of every athlete as this can help to build morale and boost confidence.

What methods do you use to motivate your players and keep them engaged and focused?

I make sure that when I’m lesson planning, I’m making them fun and enjoyable for everyone. I am creative and adaptable and enjoy adding variety into my lessons. This can help to keep athletes focused and prevent boredom. Setting clear goals, providing positive feedback and having healthy competition can all help to motivate a team.

What is a piece of advice you would give to a person who is just starting out on their coaching journey?

My advice would be to prioritise building strong relationships with your athletes. This can help to create a sense of trust and respect. It also allows you to understand everyone’s skills and needs better. Coaching isn’t just about teaching skills and strategies, but also about inspiring and motivating success. Having a clear vision of what you want to achieve as a coach, and communicating this, can inspire and motivate others. 

Coaching also requires a fair amount of administrative work to be able to properly plan and carry out lessons. As an apprentice I also have coursework which I do alongside coaching so I like to always try and stay on top of that. I like to seek out feedback from Molly, the head coach at Elite, so that I can continue to always improve my techniques when it comes to my coaching approach. Finally, being patient and persistent is key to success. With hard work and dedication, you can become a great coach who actively impacts the lives of your athletes.