Friday, September 9, 2011

Inspirational words from Paralympian turned coach

A former Paralympian himself, Boccia Wales Head Coach Peter Pearse, from Hertfordshire, has been heading up the Welsh academy since 2007.

In 2010, his squad has won countless titles across the UK and Europe, with his players on the GB fasttrack programme aiming for a place at London 2012.
His coaching success led to him being crowned the 2010 Sport Wales Coach of the Year.
Here, Peter gives his thoughts on being a coach and the need to recognise and celebrate the work and achievements of coaches at all levels.
I had no idea I was nominated for the overall coach of the Year award!  I am someone, probably like a majority of coaches, who coach out of a passion for the sport and, more importantly, a connection with the athletes.  Therefore, public recognition is never a necessity; if it were then the likelihood is that you are coaching for the wrong reasons. 

Having said that, winning Coach of the Year was a magnificent experience that will stay with me forever.  It says something about yourself, and more importantly about the people around you.  It confirms that the madness that rattles inside your head might have a semblance of rationality, assures you that the frustrations you share with athletes and those supporting you are worth the emotional drain, and confirms that continuing to strive for the best opportunities for athletes is the only way forward as a coach.

I concur entirely with Professor Laura McAllister, Chair of Sport Wales, and the Heritage Minister, quoted as saying that Wales is “………a proud sporting nation, and <our purpose> is to increase physical activity and improve standards of performance and we aspire to see every child hooked on sport for life and for Wales to be a nation of champions.  Coaching has a crucial role in achieving this, from supporting elite athletes to excel on the world stage to encouraging local communities to get fitter and enjoy sport; coaches provide the inspiration and practical support to get Wales moving” LM; and "Coaches and volunteers are vital across all sports. They really make a difference and there's no doubt we need more in Wales. We need to increase numbers and to support them properly if we are to become a healthier and more successful sporting nation” HM.

For this reason, it is critical to champion the volunteers that make this possible as they are the driving engine to this vision.  Equally, the indulgence of recognising sport coaches, who declare no such requirement for their work, is more than just a ‘Cherry on the Cake’.  The award allows us, in the privacy of our own solitude, to smile to ourselves and think ‘I did a good job’!

A Proud Sporting Nation such as Wales needs to continue to encourage and support grass-root work, value its role in our society, and ensure that Coaches KNOW in an explicit way that they are valued.

I am extremely excited to see who will be crowned Coach of the Year this year; hopefully I will be invited back to attend the ceremony.  It was a bit of a blur last year!
Nominate someone for the 2011 Sport Wales Coach of the Year Awards, click here.