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#UKCoachingSummit2017 - Live Blog

Read the news story: Key message from UK Coaching Summit in Northern Ireland - coaching is people inspiring people

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Well that's it from the communications team here at the UK Coaching Summit. We enjoyed bringing you the key moments and learning from across the two days. Thank you for following our live blog, we look forward to seeing you next year in Scotland. Final word should undoubtedly go to our hosts and stalwarts the Sport NI team. Thanks guys. 

 And of course one last word from Andy Heald...


Thanks for rejoining us after that short break - we had a flight to catch! Here's some of the feedback we've been getting from delegates and speakers on twitter. Honoured by the love guys, we're glad you enjoyed it.


Thanks for being with us at the UK Coaching Summit in Northern Ireland. Keep tweeting using the hashtag #UKCoachingSummit. The live blog is taking a break but we will be continuing shortly.

In the meantime enjoy this video interview with UK Coaching's Andy Bradshaw, who gave us some insight to the positive feedback he and Karen Roberts received for their session: 'Only the Curious Have Something to Find!'. This session looked at how UK Coaching's strive programme develops the underpinning principles of coach development - observation, supportive questioning, curiosity and understanding learning theory.


The end is nigh...

Alan Curran, Sport Northern Ireland's Performance Systems Manager and Iain Kennedy, sportscotland's Sport Development Head - Coaching and Volunteering, are welcomed to the stage for their closing remarks, and the handover presentation between Sport NI and sportscotland, who are hosting the UK Coaching Summit in 2018.

Speaking first, Alan thanked delegates and speakers for attending; sharing and inspiring. He hoped they appreciated the scenery and the overall experience. Part of Sport NI's approach to this year's Summit, as well as keeping in with the theme of 'Extending our Reach', was to let delegates experience Northern Ireland; through the Slieve Donard, the outdoor sessions at Tollymore and the local food, gin and beer at the social.

As an acknowledgement and part of the handover to sportscotland, Alan presented Iain with a picture of the Slieve Donard hotel. In return for his gifts and well wishing, Iain Kennedy presented Alan and the Sport NI team with a bottle of Grouse whiskey and a box of shortbread before turning to address the delegates:

"I felt that the most important thing about coming to a Summit was the whole experience. It's all about the location, the venue and the setting; coming to somewhere that inspires you, that motivates you - not only the environment but the people in it.

"It's the complexity of formal learning and informal learning; it's the emotion that you get when you listen to people’s tales of what they've done and how they've done it. A couple of times I’ve nearly been crying because I could relate to what was being said.

“I also think a couple of key things is the networking and the socialisation and the brilliant innovation of the guys from [Sport NI] have done this year in the cultural welling into [the Summit]. I think totally the whole experience of coming here to Slieve Donard and Tollymore has been absolutely fantastic.”

The delegation were then shown a promotional video inviting them to Scotland next year for the Summit, which will be held in Edinburgh at the brand new Oriam Sport Performance Centre on the 26-27 June. And for what Iain promises will be a really Scottish affair.

We look forward to it Iain!

Alan Curran

Iain Kennedy


Karen Creavin, Head of Well-being Services at Birmingham City Council, is talking now. She oversees nationally acclaimed projects within the service such as Active Parks, Big Birmingham Bikes, and Active Streets. She is a regular speaker at conferences and training sessions on the links between health, well-being and sport.

She said in her talk 'Let's Give the Birmingham Citizens What They Want and Get Them Active':

"Word of mouth from a trusted source is the number one way of influencing people to get active."

 Karen Creavin


Nearly 200 delegates are back in the Grand Ballroom of the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa for the closing addresses.

Our host and compere, Graham Little, just delivered an emotive summary of the past two days. From a non-coaches perspective he found the ideas from the sessions he attended and the conversations he had eye-opening, quoting one of our speakers Dr Ceri Bowley, who said - paraphased - that a child has a close to nothing chance of becoming a professional footballer but with the right coach, has a 100% chance of becoming a better person.

Graham went onto say that:

"Hundreds of thousand of coaches will never know how many lives they've changed; their influence has never been more crucial."


Some more highlights from our delegates, and Sport Northern Ireland; this time from the sessions at the Outdoor Activity Centre in Tollymore. Idyllic indeed Jon. 


It was great to speak with Aymeric Beard from Basketball Scotland. She gave us few insights into her experience of the UK Coaching Summit from a delegates perspective. Her favourite moment came from the Tollymore outdoor session: What do Women Want? -exploring ways in which women can be supported and inspired to become involved in coaching.

Hear what she had to say...


A few other highlights from earlier this afternoon...


As we wait for our delegates to finish their lunch before coming back into the Grand Ballroom for the closing statements, here is portion of Craig Blain's excellent, earlier talk on the Coaching Framework - which sort to identify what effective coaching looks like and filmed by Sport England's Head of Coaching, Stuart Armstrong.




After a quick cuppa and a chat - in-between mouthfuls of delicious Slieve Donard cookies - our delegates have returned for the second batch of sessions on day two of the UK Coaching Summit.

We're with Gavin Atkins from Mind - the mental health charity - and Liz Burkinshaw, UK Coaching's Development Lead Officer, who are giving their talk 'Getting Active for Mental Health'.

Gavin and Liz are sharing how mental health awareness for sport and physical activity training, has helped over 75,000 people with mental health problems to become physically active.

Delegates are taking part in an activity which looks at how coaches can understand and look out for signs of mental well-being. Questions from the floor, post activity, included how might a coach better spot mental health problems amongst their participants and the ambiguity around trying to do that; and the potential of misinterpretating the symptoms of conditions.

Liz Burkinshaw said:

"We're not asking coaches to diagnose. Some confusion [around symptoms] tends to be linked to stereotypes that we've seen either correctly or incorrectly represented in the media or from our life experiences. [Mental health conditions] don't fit neatly into a box there's a range - in the same way there's a range of young people; women - there's a range of different motivations, needs [people with mental health conditions] might need from a session. Potentially the reason why doesn't really matter to you as coach, as long as you're inclusive in your coaching."   

Liz Burkinshaw


It's a pretty unique spot Rus. Glad you're enjoying it. Think it might be cold in that sea though...


Meanwhile, elsewhere...



The first of today's sessions have begun and we're in the Chandelier Room for Dr Juliette Stebbings' talk titled 'Empowering Coaches'.

This session will offer delegates the opportunity to learn about the theory- and evidence-based foundations of Empowering Coaching and why it is important for the coach and participants. Principles of empowering climates are being presented, illustrated and discusssed via 'real life' examples from different sports.

Currently the delegates - who have come in their droves - have been prompted by Julliette to think about which coaching strategies might motivate and engage players, ie be empowering and which might discourage players, ie be disempowering.

Delegates have been asked to discuss on their tables the following:

  • What coaches might do and say?
  • How coaches might organise the session?
  • Why, when and how coaches might communicate with players?
  • Why, when and how coaches might give praise and provide feedback?

The room is litreally buzzing with the sounds of discussion - helped by the sunlight pouring into the room on this beautiful day.

Juliette brings the discussion back to the front and recaps some of the ideas she heard from around the room:

  • Empowering coaching: Open questioning; giving participants leadership and decision making responsibilities; involving participants in the coaching process.
  • Disempowering coaching: Concentrating on winning; ignoring participants needs; being less friendly; coaching with too much structure and being too rigid.

Empowering Coaches

Juliette Stebbings




Straight2Swimming was founded by Edel Convery in 2014, when she saw the opportunity to engage her idea of helping youth affected by scoliosis by getting them a closed swimming session that allowed them to overcome the fear of sport due to self-consciousness or pain.

Graham Little interviews Straight2Swimming coaches, Eimear Brown (left on the sofa) and Dara Hamill (right) about their work on the programme - posing a question to Eimear he asks if she could sum up the positive experience the programme has had on her life.

Eimear said:

"A little girl came to me about six months into our first year...she came into the pool, shaking; nervous, and she wanted to get out after five minutes and she stayed in for ten, and the next [session] 15 and a year and a half later, after all this work, she took her first three swimming strokes by herself.

"It was the most emotional moment of my entire life; I started to cry, her mum started to cry and this little kid was looking at me like 'why are you crying, I'm just swimming'. It was incredible and a moment I will remember for my whole life. I've coached for years and I've never had a moment that's just so important and worth treasuring."



You've not long to wait Ceri... 

A little taster from last night. Local gin company Jawbox Gin were keeping our delegates happy with a wee tipple.


Important supplies Paul for your session up in the Tollymore Outdoor Activity Centre.

08:55 - Day 2

Morning all. Hope you slept well.

The social was certainly lively last night; traditional irish music, local produce and beverages, and a covers band entertaining our delegates into Tuesday night.

Wednesday morning and the weather forecast is fairing a tad better than yesterday. As much as we liked the moody looking Mourne Mountains, they look so much better cast in shades of blue.

We'll be starting today's session of the UK Coaching Summit imminently, with a welcome and talk from the Straight2Swimming team - a programme set up to help youth affected by scoliosis by getting them to closed swimming sessions.


Thanks for being with us today. More to come tomorrow.


And that's a wrap for day one of the UK Coaching Summit. This day has litreally been packed. We've had esteemed welcome addresses from Sport Northern Ireland's Chair, George Lucas and UK Coaching's Chief Executive Officer, Mark Gannon; a keynote from Paralympian and world champion, Michael McKillop and his gold medal winning coach and father Patrick, not to mention - something we had to keep under our hat - a surprise visit from our patron, HRH The Princess Royal.

The Princess Royal kindly took the time to address the audience. Her motivational and on-point message echoed the Summit's theme of 'Extending our Reach'; that by spreading coaching connections, and the message that anybody can be a coach, at all levels, coaches can help others become successful individual athletes or people who make the best possible use of their particular talents.

Here are some photos from her visit:

HRH The Princess Royal

HRH The Princess Royal


As we started the day with a video from Andy, it's only right that we bring the day to a close (almost) with another. Thanks for the love Andy!





Even our audio visual guys are having a good time.



UK Coaching's Strategic Lead Mat Glasson, attended 'Using a Digital Platform to Support a Workforce', which was delivered by Neil Graham, Coach Development Manager, Scottish Rugby Union.

Neil's session looked at the creation of an eLearning system to support the development of rugby coaches and referees.




Cool video Club & Coach, whoever you are!


Some of this afternoon's sessions are taking place at the Outdoor Activity Centre in Tollymore. Delegates are getting a unique opportunity to take their learning out of the classroom and into the big outdoors. Blue skies at last.


Delegates broke for lunch an hour ago and have now returned to begin this afternoon's Summit sessions. One of those is being taken by Dr Ceri Bowley, from the University of South Wales.

Ceri's talk is titled ‘Educating Coaches to Develop Young People’, and it's objectives are:

  1. to conceptulaise life skills
  2. to develop appreciation for the benefits of developing life skills for sport and life
  3. to understand how life skills can be developed in practise.

Ceri said:

"The main aim of the session is to case study a little bit of my PhD, which informed a restructure of the Welsh Football Trust’s coach education, specifically a number of modules on their Level 2 & Level 3 [coaching] courses. I actually wrote the modules for them, conducted the tutor training – so they could deliver the modules – and evaluated their success. The modules have now been integrated into the Trust’s coach education, and are endorsed by UEFA, which is quite significant.

The session will provide background information on the approach taken [for the research], some of the key findings and what those findings mean for coaches working with young players. There was a specific focus in my PhD about working with players across convergence areas of Wales – areas of social and economic deprivation – which may apply to some of the governing bodies of sport and coaches in attendance from other parts of the UK. We want coaches and practitioners to think about their role, and how using the model generated from the research could help them become key educators of life skills in young players."

Ceri Bowley


Thanks for joining us Ulster Hockey - looks like you attended Neil Graham's session: Using a Digital Platfrom to Support a Workforce.


You're very welcome gentlemen!


Cevil Bishop, Leicester City Football Club Community Trust and Rob Evans, Leicestershire Police Force giving their talk 'Break Down Barriers Through Football'.

The session covered different techniques and methods used to engage with young people. Specific attention was paid to the characteristics that young people share from deprived communities, and how delivery is geared to meet their needs, as well as Leicestershire Police's youth engagement strategies.

Cevil kindly spoke with us after delivering to recap the messages from his session.



Some of our delegates are still making the voyage to Northern Ireland - patience of saints. Safe travels guys see you soon. 


Keynote speakers Patrick and Michael McKillop talk to delegates about the idiosyncrasies of being a father and son - coach and athlete team. Very powerful keynote, especially Patrick's explanation of adapting training around Michael's cerebal palsy. The speech ends with Michael asking the delegates to give his father, his coach, his biggest fan, a round of applause for his work.

 Michael and Patrick Mckillop


Sport Northern Ireland's Chair, George Lucas gives a warm welcome to delegates and hands over to UK Coaching's Chief Executive Officer, Mark Gannon who addressed the audience and said:

"I'm really excited about the diversity of people here, and some of the outcomes [from today's workshops] are community outcomes they're not sport outcomes, they're using physical activity and sport as a medium to bring about a positive outcome for a community.

"Great experience comes from good service and to provide good service you need to understand the person or the people in front of you. That's the starting point, [coaching] is a people first thing.

"That's the key message for me at this conference; this is about coaching and people inspiring people, it doesn't matter what context it's in, whether it's business, executive coaching or whether you're a parent of a kid, it's coaching - it's inspiring people."

Mark Gannon




Team McKillop. Father and son, Michael and Patrick are giving this morning's keynote speech shortly. Michael is a Paralympic gold medallist and world champion. Patrick is his father and his coach. 

@_UKCoaching #TeamMcKillop all suited and Ready to Rock. #Keynote #Coaching #DoubleAct @SuitorMenswear @promotivate pic.twitter.com/uPFdttkVHw


 Sorry you couldn't be with us Steve. Follow the live blog for all the action.


Watch Summit speaker Andy Heald's opening address from his... hotel room.

Andy will be presenting a session with UK Coaching's Dave Turner on 'Extending Our Reach Past the School Gates' - looking at how UK Coaching and the Youth Sport Trust are working with private providers to identify and address gaps in the training provision available to coaches delivering physical activity in schools - makes his opening address:

10:25 - Day 1

A warm welcome to Northern Ireland and the very wet, wild and windy Mourne Mountains.

Mourne Mountains

We're here at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Hotel in Newcastle, Co. Down, for the UK Coaching Summit, organised by UK Coaching in partnership with Sport Northern Ireland. With just under five minutes to go before the welcoming address, there is a steady flow of delegates arriving for the two day Summit, which aims to inform, empower and inspire our attendees to create positive change for anyone receiving coaching and anyone providing coaching.

We'll be live blogging the event on this very page, as well as sharing some of the social media shared with us by our delegates. Please get involved by using the hashtag #UKCoachingSummit and tweeting us at @_ukcoaching.

Welcome to the UK Coaching Summit 2017.

Slieve Donard Spa & Resort Hotel


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