Youngsters sign up for coaching scheme

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Future generations of Borders sports stars will be in good hands if the rush to join a unique coaching programme is anything to go by.

Forty-six young people have signed up to become part of the voluntary sports Young Coach and Young Ambassador programmes run by Borders Sport and Leisure.

Managed by the organisation’s Active Schools team, the Young Coach Programme, which is unique to the Scottish Borders, aims to recognise the importance of young people in leading and coaching sports activities. Twenty-eight young people are set to participate in this year’s course which provides a structured year-long programme of skills development that will lead to them attaining at least a level one coaching qualification.

Megan Shiel, from Hawick, one of the Young Coach Programme candidates, said: “I think the Young Coach Programme is really beneficial to me as it gives me a real idea of how important it is to inspire the next generation.

“We can help develop their skills and enjoyment of sport but also our own as coaches. It will also give me more confidence and experience which will continue to help with my future career.”

In addition 18 young people aged 14-17 will take part in the 2013-14 Young Ambassador programme. This Scotland-wide initiative engages young people as role models and leaders to motivate and inspire others to participate in sport.

At a specially arranged team-building day held at Old Gala House on June 26, 37 of those who have volunteered to join the programmes had the opportunity to meet for the first time.

Graeme Murdoch, Borders Sport and Leisure active schools manager, who oversees the programmes, said: “We have been really impressed by the number of young people who have decided to join these voluntary schemes. The team building day at Old Gala House in Galashiels was the first opportunity for them to meet each other and set objectives for the coming academic year.

“Both the Young Coach and Young Ambassador programmes encourage the next generation of young people to inspire and motivate others to be physically active.

“The Young Coach programme also increases the number of qualified coaches who are able to contribute to both school and community sport. By providing a structured year-round programme, the young people involved will benefit from comprehensive theoretical and practical experiences in all aspects of coaching.”