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“Whenever CC Grass bring in new staff it is always important that the correct training is provided. The same applies to seasoned staff, who benefit from focused education, to complement their existing skills. My “go to” is SMART Way forward. Their knowledge, empathy and focused training has produced excellent results, and is also enjoyable for those being trained”

Bryn Lee
CEO, CC Grass European Office

28 September 2012

Delegates inspired by the SMART Way Forward CPD Coaching Conference at Bisham Abbey!

On Thursday 27th September, Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre played host to the first SMART Way Forward CPD Coaching Conference. 70 professionals from the world of sport, leisure, health and fitness preregistered for the event at this prestigious venue, which proved to be a great success on the day.

Delegates included representatives from British Triathlon, British Cycling, UK Athletics, England Athletics, British Wrestling, Youth Sport Trust, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Watford FC, Saracens Rugby FC, Leicester Tigers Rugby FC, Pitstone & Ivinghoe FC, Cheshunt & Broxbourne, Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, Nuneaton and Bedworth Leisure Trust, Active Surrey CSP, Team Beds and Luton CSP, Nottinghamshire Sport CSP, Berkshire Sport / Get Berkshire Active CSP, University of Birmingham, University of Plymouth, Middlesex University and Buckinghamshire New University, etc… to name but a few.

There were also representatives from commercial businesses such as Mizuno Corporation (UK), DOHR Limited, Essentii Limited, Collstream Limited , Sports- Vision Services, Performance Vision Limited, ServeAce Tennis fencing, JB Corrie & Co Fencing Limited , BCR Associates, 3rd-2-1st, Event Savvy amongst many others who had travelled from around the UK.

Nadeem Shaikh, Managing Director of SMART Way Forward opened the conference with a light hearted and entertaining introduction to sports coaching, before British Cycling’s Double Olympic medallist Bryan Steel delivered a fantastic keynote address on the importance of coaching and training for Olympic success.

Bryan’s story on how he went from schoolboy tear-away to successfully competing at the Olympic Games in Sydney, where he won a bronze medal, then again at Athens where he won a Silver medal had the audience completely mesmerised!

Dr Matt Long, volunteer athletics coach from Birmingham University delivered an energetic and lively presentation on how to give constructive feedback in sport to help get the best out of athletes and players at all levels. Dr Matt Long then went on to show the importance of Olympic focused mindset, using a case study of hurdler and Olympic legend David Hemery CBE.

At the same time, across the corridor Ian Wakefield from Sport Nottinghamshire County Sports Partnership was delivering an engaging seminar highlighting the importance of advertising, marketing and promotion for sports clubs. This included a brief step by step introduction on social media websites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

The mid-day workshop sessions included a ‘double act’ on the importance of coaching and volunteering in sport delivered by Graham Keen from Team Beds and Luton County Sports Partnership and Nadeem Shaikh of SMART Way Forward. Graham explained the role of a County Sports Partnership (CSP) for grassroots community sport, whilst Nadeem highlighted the opportunities available through volunteering, sharing his experiences of coordinating volunteers at the London Marathon and being a UKA level 3 Performance Endurance Coach and one of the endurance coaches on the National Coach Development Programme with England Athletics. The workshop was chaired by Lloyd Conaway, Director of Team Beds and Luton who ended the session by sharing a great story about his experience as a Games Maker at London 2012 during the Judo finals at the Excel Centre.

Jenny Harris, a Coach Mentor from England Athletics working on the National Youth Development programme then delivered a great workshop on the importance of mentoring, using her extensive athletics experience to share good practice. Jenny explained how important the role of a mentor can be to ensure the success of an athlete or player, especially in the early stages of their development.

After lunch, the Managing Director of SMART Way Forward, Nadeem Shaikh took to the stage once more, only this time to deliver an enthusiastic, practical workshop highlighting the importance of effective communication skills between coach and athlete. Nadeem demonstrated exactly how good verbal, visual and written communication skills can bring the best out of any athlete or player if approached correctly. He then went onto to demonstrate how proactive listening skills can make all the difference when giving and receiving specific instructions.

Donna Obstfeld, Director from specialist HR company DOHR Limited delivered an interactive and informative workshop on the essential topic of HR requirements needed to work effectively within the sport, leisure, health and fitness industry. HR is often one of those subjects which everybody needs to know, but which can sometimes become an employer & employee’s nightmare if misunderstood. Donna’s extensive successful HR experience was greatly appreciated by all the delegates, as everything was explained in an easy to understand, simple manner.

The late afternoon workshops including two very popular sessions. The basics of coaching effectively by recognising learning styles and NLP, which was delivered by Director of Essentii Limited, Annie Page. Whilst British Cycling Olympian Bryan Steel gave another insight into the world of British Cycling by sharing his experiences of effective personal management for coaching. Both workshops were extremely interactive energetic sessions, Annie highlighting how recognising different learning styles can help coaches engage better with their athletes to help them get the best out of them during training and competition. Bryan got delegates in his session to look at goal setting and how to build foundations and strategic steps towards achieving their end goal.

The conference was then closed by SMART Way Forward managing Director Nadeem Shaikh, who thanked all the delegates for attended the day and acknowledged the contributions made by all the speakers, sponsors, supporters and the team from SMART Way Forward.

“I am absolutely delighted with the delivery of our first SMART Way Forward CPD Coaching Conference. Hopefully this will now be the first of many coaching conferences being delivered by SMART Way Forward around the UK helping sports coaches develop existing skills, whilst learning new ones,” said Nadeem.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the delegates who attended today and extend a special thank you to all our sponsors and supporters – Saracens Rugby FC, Mizuno Corporation (UK), Vitabiotics, England Athletics, Leicester Tigers Rugby FC, Collstream Limited, Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, DOHR, ServeAce Tennis Fencing and Fitness Trails Outdoor Gyms.

“I think you will agree, all our speakers have been absolutely fantastic today! So thank you to Jenny Harris, Donna Obstfeld, Annie Page, Bryan Steel, Dr Matt Long, Ian Wakefield, Lloyd Conaway, Graham Keen. A special thank you must also go to our fantastic team at SMART Way Forward who have helped organise the event and looked after all the delegates today. Thank you guys, you know who you are – without your help, commitment and dedication, today’s conference would not have been possible or as successful as it has been. Thank you all.”


Many of our speakers and delegates have been kind enough to send us testimonials following the conference, which you can read here.


If you would be interested in attending a SMART Way Forward CPD Coaching Conference in 2013, click here to contact us and register your interest. As soon as details are available we will let you know!


We look forward to welcoming you to our next event!



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