Everyday Heroes: Iain Howard

Iain HowardIain’s route into coaching was somewhat unconventional compared to most. Diagnosed with depression in 2011, Iain did some soul-searching, and while feeling unsatisfied with where his life was going, he sat down and identified where his strengths lay. Having always enjoyed sport and participated throughout his life, he felt like he might be able to give something back through coaching.

Iain enrolled on Sport England’s Sport Makers programme, and there really was no stopping him then. Each Sport Maker was invited by their county sports partnership (CSP) to come to an inspiring workshop in their region and supported to find local opportunities that suited them to increase participation in sport. Through his CSP, Energize Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, Iain took up the opportunity to participate in their pilot ‘First Steps into Coaching’ workshop.

With further support from his CSP through bursaries, Iain quickly became an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Level 1 cricket coach. Not content to stop here, Iain now also has his Level 2 in cricket and basketball.

Iain describes coaching as having ‘defined this new phase’ of his life. Whether it has been the sole cure for his depression, he isn’t sure. However, he says, ‘When you are in the middle of a field with a bunch of kids, and they are making you laugh, you can’t feel depressed so it must help.’

Iain says that coaching ‘has been a way of defining one chapter of his life’ from another and starting a new beginning. ‘You create your own opportunities, and I’m lucky because I’m not backwards in coming forwards. If I want something or need something, I will usually ask.’

Support has come from a variety of sources for Iain – his CSP, the ECB, his local cricket club and leisure services in his local council.

Iain believes ‘The kids do 99% of the work. The coach should really be the catalyst, the part of the process that goes through unchanged, and the kids come out the other end having achieved what they want to from that sport or activity.’

Throughout his childhood, he felt like he did not get enough coaching as a child, which is one of the main reasons why he got involved. ‘I couldn’t play enough sport, I couldn’t play enough cricket particularly. However, I only had one 10-week coaching block in all those years as a teenager. I thought, "If I want my lad to be into sport and as good as he can be, then he needs the likes of me to be there." It’s opened a new door to my life that I never knew existed, and I just really, really enjoy it.’

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