Wales Golf National Coach Neil Matthews was one of 21 people from 15 different sports selected to start a new scheme this week aimed at developing the UK’s top coaches.
His selection is a great endorsement for Matthews and the work he is doing with the Golf Union of Wales, he is the only golf coach amongst the 21 participants who come from a range of different sports.
The Aspire II programme is a national development scheme for coaches working with high-potential athletes and teams, covering a host of Olympic and Paralympic sports, as well as football and squash.
The programme aims to develop a coach’s expertise in developing talent and performance by expanding their knowledge, broadening their understanding and influencing their coaching to support the needs of their athletes and teams.
Matthews has been the Wales National Coach for five years and has coached many top players, including helping Stuart Manley regain his place on the European Tour this year.
“This coaching scheme is aimed at improving the best and most promising coaches in Britain across all sports, so it is a fantastic opportunity for Neil,” said Golf Union of Wales director of performance Ben Waterhouse.
“That he has been picked in such elite company is a massive recognition of Neil and also a great boost for the Golf Union of Wales and everything we are trying to achieve together.
“Neil’s role is to coach the players in the Wales national team and also the boys coming through the ranks in the national U21 squad. The Aspire II scheme can only help that process even more as we look to improve as much as possible.
“Wales is a small nation in golfing terms with smaller resources than our rivals around the UK, in Europe and the world, so we have to make the most of what we have and the people working within our system help make that happen.
“We look forward to Neil developing his work with the squads and teams even further thanks to this coaching development and the chance to share best practice with so many other top coaches from such a wide variety of sports.”
The Aspire II programme is led by Sports Coach UK with the support of the home country sports councils. Funding is provided by UK Sport.
Sports Coach UK CEO Dr Tony Byrne said, “The success of Aspire reinforces our desire to invest in coaches working at the talent development stage of the athlete performance pathway. We know excellent coaching is important at every stage in an athlete’s career. It’s especially important for those working with talented young athletes to be able to engage, nurture, motivate and develop them.
UK Sport Head of Coaching Graham Taylor said: “A priority for UK Sport is to build a stronger more sustainable UK high-performance sporting system, and coach development is fundamental to this aspiration. Through collaboration with home country sports councils, sports coach UK and national governing bodies of sports, Aspire II 2014-15 plays a key role at the foundation level of the coach development pathway to support and challenge our emerging coaches so they are well equipped to prepare our future champions.”
Golf Union of Wales www.golfunionwales.org
Sports Coach UK www.sportscoachuk.org