Coach Profile – Richard Davies: From Scotland to Australia, via Barbados!
In this next instalment of our Coach Profile, we feature Richard Davies who coaches the YMCC Mens Hockey 1st Team, in Western Australia, who are bursting with Australian international talent and currently sit at the top of the Melville Toyota League.
Some of that international talent includes Jamie Dwyer, 5 times world player of the year, and Eddie Ockenden, himself a former Junior World Player of the Year. Although an obvious bonus to have players of this calibre available, it also presents challenges to Richard “over the next month I have, at least, 6 players away on international duty for Australian Hockey Seniors, ‘A’ Team and Under 21’s, so staying at the top of the league will certainly test the strength of our squad”.
For those of you not familiar with how Australian Hockey is structured, this is in fact the top mens club league in the country. The Australian Institute for Sports Hockey programme is based in Perth, and therefore all international players compete in that league.
RIchard’s coaching journey started almost 20 years ago when he was just 17, volunteering to coach his sister’s school team. Since then he has coached a variety of teams across both genders in Scotland, England and now Australia.
There have been a number of successes and highlights along the way that include:
- Assistant coach to Western Australian senior women indoor team, who won gold at the National Championships.
- Head coach of Scotland Under 16’s.
- Head of women’s performance hockey at Edinburgh University.
RIchard started to get more heavily involved in coaching when he badly injured his ankle just prior to representing the Scottish Universities team in 1999. Although he attempted to regain his fitness, he never quite reached the same levels, and made the decision to turn to coaching and hasn’t looked back since.
He also sites his teacher training, Richard is a Maths Teacher at St Stephens School in Duncraig, Perth, as having an influence on his coaching “when I got injured, I did more and more coaching at the same time as I was doing my teacher training, and for me, the two go hand in hand.”
RIchard has identified David Moyes as a coach he admires outside of hockey, and with his favourite non-hockey sporting moment being when he watched Everton defeat Manchester United in the 1995 FA Cup Final at Wembley, you wont be surprised to learn he is an Everton fan.
Returning to hockey, he identifies the biggest influence on both his coaching and teaching career as former GB Olympian and GB Hockey Women’s coach Dennis Hay. He says of Hay that, “First and foremost his integrity on a personal level is unparalleled in any sport I have come across. His knowledge is encyclopedic, and he is always ready to give as much of his time as he can to help and support other coaches. He reads the game better than anyone else I have come across, has achieved at every single level he has worked at, and his humility, given what he has achieved, is incredible.”
Richard explained that one of his favourite things in coaching is identifying players who are initially unaware of their ability, and giving them the confidence to keep improving and achieving the highest level they are capable of, “to develop the confidence of a player like this to play at top club and international level is amazing.”
Although now coaching at the top of the club game in world hockey, Richard still has immense pride in what he achieved at Liberton HIgh School. “The school had no hockey players whatsoever when I started. After five years we had a team with three East of Scotland players and 33 players who had fundraised and help organize a tour for 33 school players to Barbados. The moment they took to the pitch in Bridgetown is probably my proudest moment in coaching.”
Moving forward, as well as hoping to maintain their position at the top of the Melville Toyota League, RIchard is looking forward to taking on some additional roles. He will be West Australia girls U13 head coach, and is also privileged to have been asked to sit on an international committee of the International Sports Coalition looking at the role of coaches and teachers in sport around the world, with the inaugural meeting being held in Dubai.
As with most coaches, Richard wouldn’t be where he is today without support from others, such as his wife who he has two small children with “she is a massive support and is extremely understanding when it comes to me being away with representative teams and the likes.”
Richard also has a masters in Performance Psychology, which was fully supported by his then line manager, Jim Aitken, Director at Edinburgh University’s Centre for Sport and Exercise.
We couldn’t let Richard go before we asked him why he finds Coach Logic a useful addition to his coaching toolbox, and here’s what he had to say about it.
“It’s a great way to organize the team without sending out millions of emails, and a very accessible way for them to see videos of games. My squad now uses it regularly to tell me of their availability, check on selection and watch past games. It is a much quicker way of tagging games than I have used in international set ups, which is excellent because as a club coach with a full time day job, it only takes me 1½ hours to tag a game and have it available to all players.”
A big thank you to Richard for giving us such an insightful look at his life as a top hockey coach.
If you think your coach deserves to be covered in such a way, then let us know and we will get it done for you.