We recently received a glowing review of several UK Elite Coaches from Dr Amy Giddings, Drexel University Sports Management Program. As we have known for a long time our passion for coaching extends beyond the field.
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Globalize Your Network & Have Fun Doing It!!!
For my post this week, I would like to share a personal story with you. A few weeks ago, I signed 2 of my children up for a soccer camp. Simple enough, right? You go online and you register. I can handle that, done. Then I noticed a little box you could check that indicates you would be willing to host one of the coaches in your home during the week of the camp. Hmmm… If they select you to do this, you receive the fee back for the camp. So I thought about this for “about a minute.” Do I have time for this? No. But…we have au pairs and are used to having unrelated people live in our home, not to mention I have a soft spot for coaches (especially those without a home!), so I clicked the box. Now I say to myself, “If I only knew!”
As I learned, UK Elite brings qualified coaches to the US to coach soccer programs – residential, week long, once a week, etc…the list goes on and on… Some of the coaches are here for 9 months from March – November, some are here for 8 weeks or so in the summer, and most are staying for a duration somewhere in the middle of those time frames. Jimmie and John were assigned to us for the week. I was immediately captivated by them. They were young, full of energy, and very excited to be in the United States and coaching. We had done a UK Elite program before and I looked into it again because of the quality coaching, but I didn’t really know if the quality was the UK Elite program or those particular coaches my son had last spring. After watching Jimmie and John coach my guys this summer, I am convinced it is both – they pick great coaches and they train them well!
After an amazing week with these guys, UK Elite asked if we could keep them on for another week because they would be doing a camp that was still close in proximity to our home. This time, we easily responded, “yes, we love these guys.” But then, we were informed, after agreeing to keep them on, that John would need to leave and go to another site and we would be getting a new coach. Whoa…hold up. We agreed to letting THESE 2 guys stay, not some new person we didn’t know.. Right? Had my husband or I been a stickler about this and said no, we would not have had the fortuitous opportunity to meet Ash. Within the first hour of meeting him, I probably would have agreed to let Ash live with us permanently!
Here’s how the conversation went down (paraphrasing, but you’ll get the gist):
Amy: “So, Ash, how long have you been here?”
Ash: “A few weeks, but I already love it so much here in the US. It is really great here.”
Amy: “So what do you do back in England?”
Ash: “I am in a PhD program for Sports Coaching.”
Do I even need to go on?!?! Ash has aspirations to coach, perhaps even at the collegiate level here in the US, or teach coaching. He has passion for it, experience doing it, and a great degree to back it up (get it finished, Ash!). I love this guy – like any good coach, he draws you right in. My only regret is that I was too busy working and did not have the opportunity to really speak with him in depth about coaching education in the UK (which if you look into it, is a great model!) and the research he has done, etc. I wanted to know more…how many courses were in your program? How many students? What is the working relationship between faculty and students? Is the program applied – do you have hours on the field? Where do you see the field of coaching moving to in the near future? What needs to be done to improve coaching education in the UK? In the US? Globally? Could my students do an exchange program with students in your program? Could I get your professors’ contact information? Maybe we could do something online between the programs? Do you offer fellowships/scholarships to international students? Can I move in with your parents for a couple of weeks, to check things out myself, Ash? Just kidding.
I know this much – Ash helped to re-inspire me to look at the global community of coaches. We share so much and have so much in common. Sport for Development, Sport for Peace, Sport for the Common Good…these are phrases we hear all the time and, quite honestly, are largely focused on athletes. But what about us? Coaches can truly benefit from a global perspective, from learning with one another…I encourage you to look outside the boundaries of your country and see how you too can expand your global network.
So, would I click the box again? YES!!!! This time emphatically! Thank you, Ash, Jimmie, and John for a great 3 weeks (yep, did I forget to mention we did it for another week?) and thank you UK Elite for having such a wonderful program!