To mark UK Coaching Week 2018, we spoke to International Badminton player Ciaran Chambers, who recently competed as an athlete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games (he previously represented Northern Ireland at the 2014 Games). He told us about his perspective on what it means to be a coach, how he progressed from playing to coaching, and his view on what #GreatCoachign involves.
Tell us a bit about how you got into coaching
Coaches that I worked with throughout my life have impacted me greatly by teaching me different values and showing me how staying physically active and healthy whilst meeting friends can greatly enhance your life.
I began coaching as part of an Ulster Badminton player to coach programme. As a sixteen year old I was asked to help out with some junior squads, once I realised how much fun coaching was and the impact I could have on the players I was working with in the sporting context but also on their personal growth, I wanted to get involved with more.
What is your current coaching role?
I am currently coaching for Badminton Ireland, Ulster Badminton and the Chambers Badminton Academy. I am the current Irish u17 National Coach and Regional Coach for Badminton Ireland. I am a Performance Coach with the Lisburn Emerging Performance Squad within Ulster Badminton. Finally, I also run my own business which supports Ulster Badminton called the Chambers Badminton Academy. Through the CB Academy, I work daily with some Ulster’s top performance players, I coach in a variety of clubs and schools throughout the province and I organise new badminton sessions in local council areas.
How would you describe your coaching style?
I would say I am a very enthusiastic coach, showing my passion for the sport and inspiring others through this. I try to make my coaching as athlete centred as possible, guiding players to answers and letting them work things out for themselves.
This week, UK Coaching unveiled its six Principles of Great Coaching (Person-Centred, Engaging, Organised, Positive, Learning and Empowering) – what do these principles mean to you – are there any that you would pick as being particularly significant or important?
The principles that I feel are most significant to me would be person-centred and empowering. I feel that any coaching session should, at the heart of it, have the participants at the centre of everything. I believe that all sport and physical activity is extremely empowering for everyone involved, providing a sense of achievement, belonging and meaning. Particularly in Northern Ireland, we have such a passion and love of sport, which allows everyone to feel empowered through their achievements and involvement.
What have been your personal highlights during your coaching career?
Being selected as Irish u17 National Coach 2017/18.
Team NI Coach for the UK School Games.
Assistant Coach at the Badminton Europe Para-Badminton Event 2017.
You won an award at the 2017 Sport NI COV Awards, can you tell us a little about how it felt to be nominated and to win?
It really was a privilege to be nominated in the 2017 Sport COV Awards, to be among the other nominees and hearing of the great work that is being done across our wee country is just amazing and a huge honour to be a part of.
Finally, what does it mean to you to be a coach?
It’s my passion for many years now and I hope to continue inspiring the next group of players and coaches within Northern Ireland.