Six Scottish coaches gain highest award

Six Scottish coaches gain highest award

Six Scottish Rugby coaches from the international and domestic game have achieved the highest qualification open to them.

After two years’ study – where they have been challenged well outside their comfort zone – they have successfully completed the United Kingdom Coaching Certificate (UKCC) Level 4 coaching course, in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University and sportscotland.

It’s the top benchmark in our coach education framework and by the coaches’ own admission led to “some real light-bulb moments.”

The six coaches are: Scotland 7s Head Coach Ciaran Beattie; Super6 coaches Graham Shiel (Head Coach, Boroughmuir Bears); and Fin Gillies (Forwards Coach, Heriot’s Rugby); Tennent’s Light National Competition Head Coaches Bruce Ruthven (Melrose Rugby); Derek O’Riordan (Murrayfield Wanderers); and David Wilson (Assistant Coach Boroughmuir Bears Super6 and Head Coach Biggar).

They started on the post-graduate diploma in August 2018 and undertook the programme part-time, to allow them to balance studying around other commitments,

Over the last two years they have worked on five key areas:

  • the craft of coaching;
  • supporting high-performance;
  • leading people;
  • the mind factor in high performance; and
  • technical and tactical aspects of high-performance coaching.

Scotland 7s Head Coach and former Selkirk and Scotland 7s scrum-half Beattie, said: “There have been some real light bulb moments. It’s been great having like-minded (and people with differing opinions) to bounce ideas about with.

“We did a session coaching netball, we weren’t given any prep time and had to just adapt; it was great fun.

“With each module I came away asking more questions. The leadership module gave me a great insight into how I want to go about my coaching, it will shape a lot of the things I will do moving forward.

“It’s been full on, being a dad to three kids as well as running an international 7s programme plus all the travel and the workload of this has been tough, I won’t lie. But good things don’t come easy and it’s been well worth it. Thank you to Edinburgh Napier University and Scottish Rugby for the opportunity.”

Scotland 7s Head Coach, Ciaran Beattie.

Heriot’s Super6 Forwards Coach Fin Gillies said: “One of the things that really stood out for me was the opportunity to be a part of the national squad preparation for some international matches. Watching Gregor and his coaches prepare their team for the weekend fixture and the way they managed their team run was a great learning experience.

“The leadership module introduced me to the theory of leadership, it showed me just how little I know about the subject and how important effective leadership is.

“Over the last two years I feel I have gone through quite significant changes as a coach, in turn that is hopefully making me a more effective coach for Heriot’s Super6. I hope I am now perceived by the players at the club as a calmer more measured coach, someone who wants to work collegiately with the players and also someone who doesn't think they have all the answers but has the tools to get the answers to any questions.

“I think we all learned how to be quite focussed with our time and it probably gave us a greater appreciation of down time.

“As much as it was a challenge it has now given me a real appetite to continue to study, learn and improve.”

Boroughmuir Bears Head Coach, Graham Shiel.

Boroughmuir Bears Head Coach and former Scotland centre Graham Shiel said: “In my role as a Super6 coach, the Level 4 course has allowed me to utilise a wider range of skills to engage individuals as well as the whole group.

“Whilst our role demands a sound knowledge of technical and tactical rugby coaching, it forced me to explore other topics, such as self-regulated learning, leadership and sports psychology and how I use these within my coaching to improve myself, the players and management working within the Bears programme.

“The course demands significant time in order to get the most from it and time is something that all of us on the course had in limited resource due to our other commitments. It’s rewarding to have completed the Level 4 course and having explored in detail new aspects to use in my coaching which I may not otherwise have had a chance to do so.”

Neil Graham, Scottish Rugby’s Head of Coach Education, said: “Well done to all six coaches on this achievement.

“With the recent promotion of John Dalziel, a previous Level 4 graduate, to the national management team, it’s important that talented young Scottish coaches see that we have a pipeline to advance their career, particularly when they have shown the determination and application to improve.”

Dr Susan Brown, Lead for Partnerships and Enterprise in Sport at Edinburgh Napier University said: “Over a number of years we have worked closely with our governing body partners to develop education programmes which have an evidence based practical purpose; adding value to the already substantial experiences of the coaches, but tackling issues they may not have considered or applied previously in order to take them to the next level of coaching practice.

“Our main objective is to give the coaches additional tools to work with in their coaching journey so that they can effectively support the development of their athletes and teams, not only now but in the future as their journey evolves.”

Ruari Davidson, sportscotland Partnership Manager, is delighted to have worked collaboratively with Scottish Rugby and Edinburgh Napier University on the development and delivery of the coach education course. He said: “It supports sportscotland’s ambition to develop world class coaches across all sports. Scottish Rugby have created a fantastic learning opportunity for each of the coaches to further develop the skills, knowledges and behaviours required to be effective and confident coaches in each of their respective environments.”

Scottish Rugby will be announcing a new coach development pathway, to replace the UKCC framework in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out on for further information

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