On 7 December, 2019, a group of ESA members gathered in Falmouth, for a weekend of shinty matches, ceilidh dancing, and qualifications in coaching. The Camanachd Association Foundation Shinty Coaching Course course was taught by Kyle’s Athletic and ex-Newtonmore player Paul MacArthur. The day started with theory work, discussing the skills and planning needed for pre-coaching, coaching, and post coaching sessions. Paul helped us build our leadership confidence and work out our own coaching philosophies.
We discussed the importance of players adhering to defined codes of conduct, as well as the principle of coaching people and teams to play cleanly, fairly, and with skill. Paul then took us through the planning of training sessions, focusing on the different skills to be taught as well as variations on the game/team needs. He then spoke about the delivery of training sessions and the fundamentals of basic skills. With the simple back to basics approach, the course attendees benefited greatly from the breakdown of the fundamentals of the sport. Finally, Paul taught the importance of evaluation and feedback, the tools of a good coach. After the coursework, we got the chance to join Paul on the pitch and work on the practical application of the course. In pairs, we planned and delivered a training activity, coaching the participants and getting feedback from Paul. We enjoyed the chance to practice what we had learned about planning, running, and getting feedback on a session.
Having experienced the foundation coaching course and Paul’s valuable teaching, I can say I feel more confident as a player and as a member of a club in which I am active in planning and helping to run training sessions. I would encourage any member of a shinty club who wants to have a more active role, or even just wants to be a more confident and better player, to attend a coaching course with the CA.