Stuart Bradfield is a Community Rugby Coach with the English Rugby Football Union, and is based in Gloucester. A qualified coach, trained in Long Term Athlete Development (LTA), Multiskills and the national curriculum, Stuart works with organisations such as clubs, local authorities and schools.
A big part of what I do is go into schools to run sessions. I make the sessions enjoyable. If they kids have fun, they’ll want to carry that on at a club. It’s a win-win situation that supports the teachers and ensures a steady stream of talent going in to the clubs.
I work with 14 rugby clubs in Gloucester. Sustainability is a key priority for the RFU, so my role also involves mentoring foundation level coaches and delivering training.
I really enjoy this part of the job. I got a taste for it during my degree when I mentored the first years. I observed their training sessions and worked with them to improve upon any weak areas. Already having this kind of experience definitely gave me a head start when I came to the job with the RFU.
I found the degree very practical and geared towards the industry. The links with Cardiff Blues and the WRU were great. You get to see how they do things, from making that all-important first contact with schools to the training sessions they run with the kids. You see what works, and what doesn’t work – and this is invaluable.
Working with Dragon Sports taught me a lot too. I was delivering all kinds of coaching, from athletics to tennis, with much younger children. It stretched my abilities, and taught me to think on my feet.
I appreciate the theoretical side of the degree more now that I am in work. Teachers often question why you do certain things, and it’s good to have that academic knowledge to draw upon as evidence.
I love what I do. I enjoy teaching and passing on knowledge – combine that with rugby and it’s pretty much the ideal job.