Monday, 2 February 2015

Graduate uses knockbacks as springboard to success

Turning a negative into a positive is a great skill to have, and UCLan Sports Coaching graduate Paul Cobbe is a shining example of what can be done if you master it.

Paul's passion for sport developed at an early age, and he was always destined to pursue a sporting educational pathway. After his efforts to secure PGCE placements proved unsuccessful, Paul spent some time as a Fitness Instructor before joining our Sports Coaching Master's programme.

Paul said this was the catalyst in providing him with an abundance of learning capabilities and developmental opportunities he was not previously aware of.

"In hindsight, my perceived 'failure' to obtain a placement was a blessing in disguise," he said. "My time spent at UCLan can be best described as inspirational and fulfilling.

"Through academic and practical based sessions delivered by knowledgeable and highly experienced personnel, I obtained an array of skills and attributes that have truly unearthed my potential as a sports educationalist.

"Formative discussions, peer-assessment, tutorial support and the availability of online resources are just some examples which encouraged me to think independently and reflect critically."

During his time on the course, Paul became more aware of his strengths and abilities by developing strategies that allowed him to adapt and contribute meaningful behaviours towards positive outcomes.

He improved aspects of his communication skills during a Performance Analysis module which he says helped him understand how and why he behaved in certain ways in a variety of situations.

"I'm now aware of how specific actions can influence the behaviour of others whom I ultimately hope to persuade within the coaching process," said Paul. "The programme has allowed me to deal more comfortably with the various personalities and types of people I interact with.

"I see all problems as a challenge and I'm willing to push my capabilities, whilst taking the time to critically and effectively reflect upon my actions. I believe I've yet to reach my potential – both as an individual and as a sporting practitioner.

"The course presents an ideal opportunity for anyone willing to enrich their own skills, attributes, knowledge and experiences.

"Given the complex and multi-faceted domain of coaching, I'd advise anyone considering the course to be willing to interpret all forms of feedback in a positive manner, so you can become a self-critical and reflective practitioner. Be willing to accept criticism and be open to advice from others."

Since completing his Master's, Paul has secured a role as a Sports Tutor for Liverpool-based vocational training company, Cornerstone.

Having seen previous plans fall by the wayside, Paul has now adopted a 'what's meant to be will be' mentality. PhD research or the completion of his football coaching badges are just two of his future options, but Paul is currently happy with the path his career has taken.

He said: "The learning experience at UCLan has provided me with an array of tools and skills necessary for me to adapt and successfully contribute to whatever task I'm presented with.

"Whether I enjoy success or failure in the future, I'll take what I can from the experience and move onto the next hurdle that life presents me with 'no loss of enthusiasm' – as famously reinforced by Winston Churchill."

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