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UK Coaching Team
Talent and Performance Rapport Building and Communicating

Developing Talent with Danielle Brayson

An astonishing 2019 for City of Glasgow Swim Team’s young stars ended with a UK Coaching Award for their Performance Development Head Coach. Carrie Dunn went to meet her

With her athletes picking up medals like pebbles on a beach in 2019, Danielle Brayson’s combination of empathy, understanding, flexibility and discipline marks her out as one of the UK’s most exciting developers of talent.

Danielle always loved swimming, and moving into coaching was a natural progression for her. But when she started on that particular journey, she had a little trouble with one of her destinations.

After graduation, she applied for a job that sounded perfect for her. There was only one problem – she wasn’t entirely sure where it was!

“I’d finished university, and was coaching with the university team, and thought, ‘You know what, I want to do this full-time,’” Danielle recalls. “I looked for jobs that were full-time and I found one in Dumfries. It was an assistant role, it fitted me perfectly.”

She pauses before admitting: “I didn’t even know where Dumfries was! That’s really embarrassing, isn’t it? I knew I wanted to do coaching, I knew I wanted to do it full-time, and this was an opportunity ¬– I didn’t really care where it was. Fortunately, I got the job and then the rest of it has just gone on from there.”

When she first took that role of assistant coach at Dumfries Amateur Swimming Club (which she did find, in the south of Scotland), she was still discovering what methods worked best for her. 

She subsequently tried out lots of techniques under the guidance of a senior mentor.

“It was huge trial and error!” Danielle says. “That was the first time I had left home, so it was a big learning point for me. I was really lucky – I had a great head coach, Ben Higson [now the Ireland senior men’s team coach].”

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