Top coaching talent will be key to future sports performance success

Some of the country’s top sports coaches and club leaders will be assembling this weekend at Heriot-Watt - one of the proposed locations for Scotland’s National Performance Centre for Sport.

The two day conference, part of Edinburgh’s Festival of Sport, will see some of the country’s leading coaches and sports figures look at ways to build stronger clubs and develop quality coaches in Edinburgh and the East of Scotland.

The conference comes ahead of the announcement by the Scottish Government on where the National Performance Centre for Sport is to be based – expected in early September. Edinburgh is up against Stirling and Dundee in the bid to be chosen as the location for the £30m sports development centre.

Ahead of delegates from across the country arriving at the Heriot-Watt University campus, Professor Steve Chapman, Principal of Heriot-Watt University, said: "This is a tremendous opportunity to support the spread of professional best-practice and performance excellence in sports clubs, which are vital springboards for future top Scottish sports men and women.

"We're always delighted when the University attracts top class sporting professionals, and this event clearly underpins our bid to host the National Performance Centre for Sport. The development of athletes who can compete successfully on the world stage will not be achieved by facilities alone and it is vital that the NPCS is central to the development of world class support personnel and services required to support our athletes in the pursuit of excellence."

Edinburgh’s Sports Conference is supported by the City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh Leisure, sportscotland, Glasgow 2014 and Club Sport Edinburgh. The two-day conference will run from Saturday 31 August to Sunday 1 September and will include both club and coaching workshops for different sports and levels. The sessions will also include tips to develop sporting skills and business essentials.

Confirmed speakers attending include Paralympic Gold medallist David Andrew Smith MBE, Scotland U-21 men’s hockey head coach, Graham Moodie and Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland.

Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s Culture and Sport Convener, said: “This conference will showcase the fantastic work that is already ongoing in Edinburgh to support sports development through improving club and coach training.

“Behind every successful athlete or team, there is a talented coach and a strong coaching community and by supporting this talent base we will power Scotland’s future sports performance. Developing high-performing coaches will be a central part of our plans for the National Performance Centre for Sport if we are successful in our bid.

“All sporting agencies across Edinburgh are already working to ensure the pathways are in place to bring new talent through. This spirit of partnership working will strengthen the success of the National Performance Centre for Sport if it were to be based in Edinburgh.”

Edinburgh’s vision for the NPCS is to develop a world leading centre of excellence for the development of coaches, volunteers, officials and sports professionals.

In addition, the university’s current club, coach and sports science education training programme would be expanded to give beginner coaches the skills they need to reach national and regional level, providing opportunities for talented coaches and scientist to be mentored and developed in an applied setting. Edinburgh’s bid would focus on the development of sports professionals, as well as athletes, providing them with the knowledge to ensure talented and aspiring athletes are supported by world class services.

The bid team have also announced a unique collaboration with the Edinburgh Science Festival who have pledged to deliver training in sports science communication to coaches and sports professionals at the National Performance Centre for Sport. The Science Festival’s current work with schools would be expanded with support from the NPCS to encourage more young people to consider a career in sport, and the science and technology of sport would also become an integral part of the annual science festival.

Heriot-Watt already provide an extensive sports science service to several sports organisations including Hearts and Livingston FC, Scottish Football Association and Scottish Squash.

Back Edinburgh’s bid for the National Performance Centre for Sport at www.goedinburgh2016.com.

For more information on the city’s bid concept visit www.goedinburgh2016.com/the-vision.

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