This year I attended the Goalball UK talent camp as part of the first group of coaches to be invited. The camps are something I’ve been curious about since I first heard of them, but having been born the wrong side of the millennium, was something I tought I’d never see. My personal Goalball path has seen me grow in confidence as a player. After trying my hand at coaching, it seems I was not too shabby – a little unpolished maybe, but generally not too bad. Despite my own visual impairment, coaching is probably where I see my own long term future within the sport.

When I was invited I was over the moon. I have seen the vast improvements of players who had attended the camp in recent years, I was keen to see what I could learn from a coaches perspective. I found the camp to be like the sport of goalball, it was inclusive and the basics were easy to pick up, but for those willing to put in the effort theres  lots to get out of it.

As a coach I feel I picked up a vast amount. I have designed, delivered and analysed sessions in the past, but its always interesting to see how someone else does it, and working along side some of the best in the country, you cant help but pick up improvements and little tips. It was also nice to see and hear that some of the things I was thinking and do like to do at our club were actually being done at the talent camp. That then gives me the confidence to keep thinking outside of the box knowing that ideas need to start somewhere. 

After a while and as you progress as a player its easy to forget the basics, but I found it really interesting and insightful how these fundamentals were instilled within the players. Its very easy to forget how important technique can be. I really liked the way the camp was laid out in terms of progression. It was good seeing the players being reminded of the foundations, but then being shown how to move on from there. The fact that they were being made aware of nutrition, hydration and fitness also shows that there is a bigger picture in mind and is a really good way to keep intensity and interest high. I was also impressed by the recognition of the need for variable training within groups. This meant tthat every one could be pushed to progress, but without feeling out of their depth.

On a whole I had an enjoyable, informative time that will help me grow as a coach and help our club grow too. Hopefully we will be able to produce some promising individuals who in turn will be invited to the Goalball UK talent camp in the future. If that were to happen, I would seriously urge them to go, and in fact any player or coach from any club. If the opportunity arises, you should grab it with both hands. There are no negatives to going. The benefits of learning a sport from the best coaches and players in the country are endless. You’ll learn new skills and improve the ones you have, you will make new friends and gain confidence. Nothing is set in stone and every one on the Goalball UK staff are really friendly and knowledgeable, but if you’re prepared to work hard then you will leave a better player than when you arrived. I certainly did as a coach!

Written by Tommie Britton, Croysutt Warriors Player and Coach