Growing up in the football-mad city of Peterborough, Steve Bartram’s involvement in rugby union was limited during his childhood. It wasn’t until he travelled through Australia and New Zealand that his real passion for rugby began.
Bartram realised rugby coaching, rather than playing, was what he wanted to pursue after hearing some inspirational words over the radio from England head coach Stuart Lancaster.
“Stuart Lancaster talked about approaching coaching by building a team culture and developing a strong sense of self belief through hard work and investing in himself as a coach,” Bartram said. “I’d always been a fan of the sport, but I wanted to make a difference. Becoming a qualified coach allowed me to do that.”
Having achieved his Level 1 Coaching Certificate in 2013, Bartram progressed swiftly and began coaching the Peterborough Lions Academy Under 8 side, while also assisting with the Under 15 team. To enhance his experience, Bartram enlisted in the QBE Coaching Club and soon achieved his Level 2 coaching qualification.
QBE, the business insurance specialist, has an established affinity with rugby union, proudly sponsoring the QBE Internationals – England’s November Test series. QBE launched the QBE Coaching Club at Twickenham Stadium back in 2012, an initiative that will see 2,015 new Level 2 rugby coaches recruited and trained by September 2015 in time for the World Cup. The initiative aims to ensure there is sufficient quantity and quality of coaches in place to take advantage of a potential surge in popularity of the game leading up to, and beyond the World Cup in 2015.
Coaching is crucial in developing, sustaining and increasing participation in rugby union. With QBE and the RFU well on the way to reaching their 2,015 target, the benefits of the QBE Coaching Club are already being seen.
Tim Clarke, commercial manager at QBE’s Birmingham office, said: “At QBE we are proud to support the development of community rugby. By September 2015 the QBE Coaching Club will have trained 2,015 coaches and the benefits of this achievement speak for themselves. It will equate to a 25% increase in the number of Level 2 coaches in England, with over 50,000 players benefiting from 1 million hours of coaching during the next four years as a direct result of the new QBE coaches.”
Bartram, who has since become the club coach co-ordinator at Peterborough Lions Academy, could not speak highly enough of the course, praising the effect it has had on his own coaching skills.
“The course allowed me access to the coaching resources and the opportunity to practice and improve my coaching technique” said Bartram. “I loved developing my knowledge on the player development stages and learning about rugby’s core values.”
It is these values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship that first drew Steve to the sport. Hoping to one day coach senior rugby, he has his eyes firmly fixed ahead to the future of the sport and its growing popularity in England.
“I think you find out what your passion is in life and coaching is my passion so I’ll just keep working hard to make myself the best coach I can possibly be,” Bartram said. “I want to be involved in promoting community rugby in my local area and help all the players I coach become better rugby players and people.”
If you would like to find out more about QBE’s involvement in rugby head to www.QBErugby.com or follow them on Twitter @QBErugby