Fifteen military veterans and serving personnel are on the path to becoming sports coaches as part of Help for Heroes’ new Coaching Academy, which launched this week.
The year-long pilot programme has been designed to support participants on a coaching pathway in the sport of their choice. All of those involved have had differing levels of experience in their chosen sport previously and now wish to develop their knowledge to coach others. The programme will this year train coaches in Archery, Cycling, Rowing, Powerlifting, Sitting Volleyball and Swimming.
While completing a coaching qualification in their selected sport, participants will receive coaching education supported by Help for Heroes and delivered by industry experts from UK Coaching and WheelPower, personality profiling to help them understand their strengths and areas for development, and personal development plans to aid learning and development. They will be encouraged to put their new skills and learning into practice within their local communities, as well as engaging with their peers to share experiences and learn from each other.
Former British Army Lance Corporal Richie Gamble has joining the Coaching Academy to train as a swimming coach. He said:
“Sport has always played a massive part of my life, especially swimming. It has helped me overcome both physical and mental adversity and has allowed me to remain focused by setting goals to achieve within sport. The swimming coaches I have been fortunate to have, have always inspired me to achieve my potential both in and out of the sporting environment. I have passion for swimming and an ambition to become a coach within the sport to inspire not only the next generation of swimmers, but those who are just taking up the sport to achieve their goals and ambitions.”
Army Veteran Danny Shanahan is gaining a coaching qualification in Archery. He said:
“The Coaching Academy will empower me to give something back and inspire others to understand that sport is for all. The Invictus Programme turned my life around; I now live rather than exist. I wish to inspire others to come forward and have a go, just as I did, and together realise the impacts on recovery and life from the inspiration of sport. Helping others helps me. Sport supports recovery by having a social and competitive scene with similar people, enabling confidence and self-esteem whilst enjoying the experience of being a mentor.”
Should the Coaching Academy pilot programme prove successful this year, the intention is to roll it out to more participants who have been injured or become ill as a result of their military service now seeking opportunities to build their skills in civilian life.
Help for Heroes’ Coaching Academy pilot for 2021/22 has been part-funded by the Endeavour Fund (now known as Invictus: Endeavour).