The lead agency for coaching in the UK, UK Coaching, has helped two Scottish Judo coaches develop their knowledge through an innovative nationwide multi-sport development programme. The FOCUS Coach Development programme is designed to provide specific support to coaches in performance pathway environments to enhance the impact of coaching on athlete experience, development and well-being.

We caught up with one of the coaches benefiting from the course, Head Coach at Garioch Judo Club, Stuart McWatt, to find out how the course is going.

As a coach who has continuously sought further development, why is it important for you to look for these opportunities? 

“I have always been looking at ways to grow as a coach, completing my level 2 & 3, but I wanted to know more. That’s why I decide to undertake the level 4 and this course.”

“If I get better, I make the people around me get better”

What made the FOCUS coach development programme appealing to you?

“The course is all about looking at coaching behaviours which is really interesting. Sometimes you just do, but this course has made me look at other coaches and reflect on my own coaching so that I know where to go.”

“This doesn’t just help my coaching it helps to develop my coaches.”

How have you found the course? 

“I really loved the course. The two best things I took away were, filming yourself coach and the Coach Mentor. When you watch yourself back coaching you think ‘right ok’ it’s all there to see so it really makes you think about how you coach. It is something I have encouraged my coaches to do for their own development.”

“The Coach Mentor was a great tool. As a coach, you very rarely have a coach that coaches you. My mentor Andrew Bradshaw knew nothing about Judo but his mentorship on coach behaviour was a breath of fresh air, sometimes you just need someone to shine a torch for you.”

As a full-time judo coach, how do you find the time to take part? 

“Sometimes small sacrifices pay big dividends. Getting someone else to take a class for a few sessions is a sacrifice in the short term but when you are looking at the long term it is worth it.”

What impact does this course have on the judoka on your mat? 

“Initially it’s my coaches that will benefit, but by empowering my coaches the Judoka will enjoy the journey.”

What type of courses would you like to see available for coaches looking to develop in Scotland?

“The way we currently deliver coach education is ok but there is definitely room for improvement. We need to break it down more, delivering it in a more interesting way. It’s great to share ideas but sometimes these spaces can turn into a place to rant, we need to keep it positive. Let’s push forward and empower coaches to grow and think for themselves. Make younger coaches aware of what ‘they’ can achieve as a coach.”

“More needs to be done to look at psychology, and not just at an elite level. When you go on to the mat be aware of the signals. Are your players up or down? Is today a good day for them? It can be hard when there 100’s on the mat but by making it important to see the signals not just from a child protection point of view but to ensure that Judo is enjoyable from the get go.”

“The other thing in terms of coach development is ensuring that coaches take time to reflect. Many already but making them aware of the process and why it is important.”

If you would like to learn more about the UK Coaching Focus Coach Development Programme click here.