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Club & Coach our first Blog post

Club & Coach – Our first blog post

Hi there and thanks for taking the time to come to the site and read my blog.

Over the coming weeks, months, years and further afield I, along with others who have had their arm twisted, will be writing regularly on topics that will hopefully give you and your club some ideas on how to be better at what you do. These will include topics on marketing, funding & fundraising and volunteer development. Along with these, I will be discussing topics such as drop out, luck and topics that I are current and/or have been suggested by you through contacting our Social Media or comments on these blog posts.

So for my first blog post on Club & Coach, i thought it would be a good idea to introduce myself and let you know a bit more about me and the site.

About Me

My name is Colin Manson, I live with my wife, son and neurotic dog on the North Coast of the Emerald Isle. I am originally from, what was before the house building boom of the early 2000s, a small village just outside of Stirling, Scotland. I pretty much grew up at the side of a Cricket/Rugby/Football/Hockey pitch due to a sporty dad, who was also the groundsman/captain at the local cricket club, so was fortunate enough to be involved in the running of and also play many of these sports and more through my teens…especially when it got me out of school.

When I left school, I got a sales apprenticeship Vauxhall Motors. While I did work with a few who were influenced by Derek “Del Boy” Trotter, I was fortunate enough to have a great sales manager who, despite being a Brummie, helped me to develop many of the communication techniques I still use today with clubs, coaches and those I am coaching. After five years, I was sadly made redundant due to imported European cars, however, I grasped this as an opportunity to move into Sports Coaching and Development, as I had been coaching part time with the local council, along with volunteering in various roles with club.

I was fortunate enough to have completed my Institute of Groundsmanship Level 3, and one of the tutors recommended that I speak to the then ICC Development Manager, who also happened to be one of my coaches at junior district level, which lead me to spend a couple of winters based in Chile coaching and helping to develop grounds, then working at a Safari Park in the summers.

While in South America, I applied and was accepted to Bournemouth University to study Sports Development & Coaching Sciences (SDCS). Unlike most, I had not chosen my University on the institutions ranking, history or nightlife. I chose it because the course looked interesting and Bournemouths proximity to other counties…where I gained experience through volunteering. I was fortunate enough to gain a coaching scholarship and awarded the “Most dedicated athlete” accolade for my work with many of the university clubs including Mens and Women cricket.

I fortunately, or unfortunately, left Bournemouth in 2007 during the first few months of the “Great Recession” of the late 2000s. While this meant that the jobs market had all but dried up and the unemployment rate nearly doubling, especially in the rural Scottish Borders where we had moved for my then girlfriend (now wife) job, it provided an opportunity for me to start my own business. It was in August 2007 that I started Multi Active from the front room of our draughty flat in Coldstream.

Through Multi Active Coaching, I was fortunate enough to work with a number of local authorities, National Governing Bodies and Education Authorities, these included Scottish Hockey, A Chance to Shine and Northumberland Cricket. It also lead me to be asked to teach at the local Further & Higher Education College, Borders College, where I lectured in Sports Development, Physiology and the pioneering Borders Academy of Sporting Excellence. While at Borders College, I also lead on the development of the Sport & Physical Activity program for their early school leavers & NEETS (Those Not in Employment, Education, Training or School).

While at Borders College, I was on one of the first cohorts to complete a BA in Tertiary Education, with Teacher Qualification in Further Education, now an industry standard in Further & Higher education lecturers…except here in Northern Ireland!

In late 2010, due to my wife being offered a job back in her home town, we moved from the Scottish Borders to the our current new home on the Causeway Coast.

Since moving over here, I have had the privilege to work in Sport Northern Ireland funded positions with Netball NI and Ulster Hockey in Club & Coach development. These roles included developing the policies, procedures and workforce to launch new coach education qualifications, initiatives and Club accreditation schemes. I also helped individuals, clubs, groups and associations apply for and get funding for a variety of programs.

I am currently working with Cricket Ireland and the North West Cricket Union on the Active Clubs Program. This is a multi-year and multi sport investment from Sport Northern Ireland to support and enable accessible and sustainable participation opportunities through sports clubs.

While working with Netball NI, Ulster Hockey & Cricket Ireland, Multi Active Coaching has continued to expand to offer tutors and assessors in Netball, Cricket, Hockey and Safeguarding. This has been complimented by the formation of Sports 1st Aid to offer sports specific First Aid Training to Sports Clubs.

When not working, I am the secretary of a local hockey club and can be found the odd time on/at the side of a Cricket pitch, golf course or walking the Mutt on one of the many beaches nearby.

Why set up Club & Coach?

Through working in Club and Coach Development, and speaking with others in the same or similar positions, I found that it was incredibly difficult for coaches and volunteers to find out about CPD opportunities near to them. Many colleagues and counterparts from the UK, Ireland and further afield agree that it’s an issue that their coaches, volunteers and staff also struggle with. Here in Northern Ireland, we had 26 councils (now down to 11), 68 Governing Bodies (ranging from Aikido to Yoga) and a number of other partnerships and bodies. The majority of these ran CPD courses, however, communication was not always the best between them all which lead to the sea courses being run on the same night in the same town by two different groups, course attendance being feast or famine with time and resources being wasted on all sides.

Therefore, I decided to do something to try to help. With a vision to help build stronger and more successful clubs through the development of a central place for finding out about courses, workshops and seminars, along with a bank of resources for coaches, clubs and their volunteers, I set about seeing if it could be done. My first effort, well, it wasn’t the be all and end all I was look for, so I set about enlisting the help of some professionals to see how it could be done better. The outcome is the site that you are on now. I know it’s not perfect but its a start and we hope, with your help, to develop it further in the coming months and years….so please do leave us a comment below or on our Facebook  or Twitter pages.

What the future has in store…

We are not wanting to run before we walk, however, we are looking into developing the site continually to benefit you, your club and your volunteers the best we can. This will include updating of courses as they we find them, uploading a range of resources that you may find useful and adding in elements like a jobs section and potentially launching an app. We also hope to expand Club & Coach to cover the whole of Ireland around easter then move over the water after this.

I am sure many of you are wondering how we are paying for this and when you’ll be asked to pay up…well, for the most part you wont be. The site is currently paid for by me and Multi Active Coaching ie its on the same server etc The site will continue to be free for people to use, along with being free for Clubs, Governing Bodies and Local Authorities i.e. anyone whose main function isn’t to run courses for money, to upload their courses and CPD opportunities. As the site expands, we will add in some premium content to download, affiliate links, sponsors and charge for uploading courses (we will have it set up for you to upload them for free yourself shortly).

I hope that this has been informative. If you want to find out more about me you can follow me on twitter or connect with me on linkdin. For regular updates on courses, resources and events on Club & Coach why not sign up to our weekly newsletter or our social media…buttons listed below.

Thanks again for making it this far, I hope you enjoy the site.


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