On Sunday 20th March I attended the Edinburgh Active Schools Coaching and Volunteering 2016 Celebration Evening at the Roxborough Hotel, where our basketball coach Tom Griffin was shortlisted from over 300 nominations in the Coach of the Year category. Having worked closely wth Tom over the last three years, when I was asked for my opinion when he was shortlisted it was simple – he 100% deserved to win. Why, you may ask, do myself and others who work with him think this:
He is the most dedicated and committed individual I have worked with and his commitment to the school and Active Schools program is invaluable. Tom has been solely responsible for the development and continued growth of the basketball here at Tynecastle, with the junior group tripling in numbers and the senior boys groups more than doubling in size. Tom works excellently with everyone, looking for new ways to engage the students who find the sessions motivating, challenging but also enjoyable and fun. Tom works with the newer, less confident students to integrate them, build their confidence and also develop their communication skills. He has also worked hard in training sessions with the more challenging students giving them encouragement and techniques to remain focused and calm during games and this has really allowed them to push themselves forward as individuals on the court, as well as providing them with valuable transferrable skills. When students become disheartened with their own performance Tom works extra hard to boost their belief in themselves and the team becomes much stronger and closer as a result. His endless energy and drive encourages everyone around him. He also goes above and beyond, often giving up his own time to organise mini events and games, as well as time during the holidays to allow the students to continue their training. He encourages, motivates and inspires students to participate in sporting activities and become more healthy and active individuals. As well as his unwavering commitment to basketball Tom also dedicates time to coach other sports and his composed and patient manner has helped him communicate excellently with all those who participate in all activities.
Tom firmly believes that sport brings people together and can offer everyone a good outlet to develop social skills and enhance not only their physical but also their emotional wellbeing. He continually updates training sessions to keep them fresh, interesting and challenging for the players and this is much appreciated. His ability to get the best out of everyone, even those not naturally gifted at sport, through encouragement and support is amazing and a very rare quality. His composed and compassionate nature has a positive impact on everyone he comes in contact with. The respect that the students, staff, his colleagues and his friends have for him is unbelievably high and reflects just how much he has to offer. Tom is an excellent role model to all those around him, with some of the S3 basketball players telling me “he is someone we really look up to and respect” and I personally believe that without him sport, in particular basketball, here at Tynecastle would not be half as popular as it is. I cannot recommend him more highly for this award.
Finally, I am very pleased and proud to let you all know that Tom won the Coach of The Year Award!!
Teacher in Charge of Basketball