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Head Coach of Scottish Hockey to speak at Abertay

17 April 2015

Head Coach of the Scottish international women’s hockey squad Gordon Shepherd will deliver a masterclass in leadership at Abertay University on Wednesday, 22 April.

The event – entitled Leadership in Coaching – is part of the Dundee Academy of Sport’s continuing professional development programme (CPD) that was launched by Judy Murray back in March.

Developing leadership alongside a team ethos within the group has become a central part of sport.

Gordon will discuss the ways in which he has fostered these among his squad so that those working in Tayside’s sports industry can learn about – and possibly adopt – his techniques.

He has worked with Scottish Hockey since before the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010 and, having been involved in elite hockey as both a player and a coach, has a wealth of experience on which to draw.

It is a free event, designed to benefit anyone interested in coaching - from students, PE teachers and parents, right up to club coaches and professional sports development staff.

Organiser of the event Alan Clark – Project Officer at the Dundee Academy of Sport – explains why leadership in sport is so important:

“The Leadership in Coaching event with Gordon is the first in our leadership series, which we’ve set up because it has become such a key area for sport over the past few years.

“Generally, sport is moving away from coach centric approaches where players look to the sidelines for support and guidance.

“The view nowadays is that this doesn’t allow athletes the autonomy to make their own decisions based on the factors they are dealing with – such as the opposition and a player’s mental state – but rather expects that players defer to the coach for guidance.

“By contrast, developing leadership among your players as a coach allows real-time decisions to be made by athletes based on their own knowledge and confidence in any given situation. In that sense athletes ‘own’ their performance and don’t require direction from the sidelines.

“Leadership also allows the coach to devolve certain responsibilities allowing him or her to focus on overall strategy.

“This new leadership approach is not unique to hockey so should be of interest to anyone working in sport - in particular any aspiring coach who has their eyes on getting a job like Gordon’s one day.

“He has had considerable success over the years, and has used a variety of highly effective – and sometimes surprising – methods, which he will share with us on Tuesday, so I’d encourage anyone interested in hearing about these to come along.”

The event will take the form of an informal discussion followed by a Q&A session with the audience.

It is free to attend, but booking is essential. To book a place please visit Eventbrite.


For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07972172158 E:

Notes to Editors:

The Dundee Academy of Sport was launched in January 2014, and is a partnership between Abertay University and Dundee & Angus College.

It has three main aims:

  • to engage young people in their wider education by bringing subjects like history and maths to life through sport - either through their participation in sport or their interest in it. The intention is to widen and increase school attainment levels.
  • to further develop the region’s workforce in the sport and leisure industry by working with local communities to offer training and development opportunities for sports teachers and professionals, as well as volunteers.
  • to be Scotland’s leading provider of sports education and research by providing seamless transition from school-leaver right up to PhD level.
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