Coach Profile: Myles Coughlan

2018 Schools Coach of the Year, Myles Coughlan delivers the Chance to Shine Schools programme in Staffordshire, ensuring that cricket thrives in schools whilst also providing CPD opportunities to help teachers improve their knowledge and confidence when delivering cricket. 

What is your favourite activity to run? 

Every session has a starter activity which is usually my favourite thing to run. I’m always conscious of getting the children active as soon as possible, furthermore, children learn in many different ways and I think with them having so much auditory learning in the classroom,its important to give a quick demonstration and let them have a go. The session plan is great here as it uses minimal prompts and technical language and the children are addressing many attributes of the national curriculum whilst having lots of fun. Clean your planet is a personal favourite as its really simple, inclusive, gives children plenty of creativity and is a great pulse raiser to get them going.  

What are your biggest challenges? 

Working in a school environment is all about being adaptable. Sometimes I can visit 10 different schools in a week and all of them will be different. Whether it’s the space I’m working in, diverse areas, range of equipment available or time I have to deliver a session. Being adaptable is always a challenge. I find remembering names is a great way to build trust and rapport with the children, this is difficult when you deliver sessions to so many. In addition to this, it can be difficult to feel part of the staff of a school when you spend such a short time with them. I like to get into school early at lunch time and either have a dinner with the pupils or spend some time on the playground. It’s also a great opportunity to find common ground and engage with challenging pupils prior to the sessions.

What is your most rewarding moment as a coach?

I’m currently delivering in a primary school in the west of Staffordshire who have really bought into the Chance To Shine programme. Having badgered the head for several weeks I eventually had permission to design a CTS display in the main corridor. We have a value of the week for each week of the programme and children are tasked with giving examples of when they have used the value in the previous week. Myself and Steve (another Chance to Shine coach) tasked the children with remembering all 10 of our values and a prize would be given for anyone that could successfully recite all 10. A young, autistic boy in Y3 blew us away when he approached us at the start of the lesson and managed to accomplish the task with ease. To achieve this, he drew little illustrations of each value to help him remember and then studied them the previous week. We we’re so impressed with the student’s creativity and dedication to be the first pupil to achieve the challenge. This has now inspired more children to complete the task and help highlight the importance of spreading such values in sport and at school.  

Is there a key message that you give to the children?  

When I’m delivering my sessions, I’m more inspired by the children that are going out of their way to help others than the ones who are so hell bent on winning. Informing children that its okay to fail and to expect failure is a difficult concept for them to grasp but one I find so important for them to understand. Furthermore, to speak to others as they would like to be spoken to. Various games on the Chance to Shine programme require the children to communicate and provides a great opportunity for us as coaches to reinforce this value.  

Has a child ever said something to you that has stuck with you? 

When coming to the end of a 6 week programme I’ve often heard children say that they wish they could continue with cricket into the next term because they’re enjoying it so much. Entering the play grounds this September it was frightening to see the amount of children choosing a bat and a ball over other sports. I remember going onto one playground and one child shouting to me, ‘Myles, did you see the world cup final? ‘Yes, of course’ I replied, “England have won it, by the barest of margins, the barest of margins!” The child that shouted this to me wasn’t really a cricketer, they didn’t play at a club level and it was so refreshing to feel the reach that the game had over some children this summer. Always makes me smile when I think about it. 


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