Sporting Double

Twin brothers Jordan and Troy McGonigal, 20 from Beith have just finished their HNC Sports Coaching and Development course at Ayrshire College. Based in the new Skills Centre of Excellence in Irvine, we spoke to them about their learning experience in this new campus and what the future holds for our successful sports graduates.

Sports twins - Troy and JasonHave you always been interested in sport?

Yes, we have always been into sport, following all sports on the TV and playing football. Our papa got us into Go-Karting and we became really good at it. But it’s an expensive sport to take part in especially the equipment and the licenses.

Was it doing PE at school that led you to choose a sports course?

Troy: I did PE at school and I was in the Garnock Academy Football team. I did a community sports leader award and really enjoyed the leadership side and it made me think about this as a career. I started with a Pathways to Sport course followed by NC Advanced Sport and Fitness and I’ve just completed my HNC Sports Coaching and Development. What I love about sport is that it is played all over the world, it’s a universal language that brings people together. It breaks down barriers and no matter how good or bad you are it doesn’t matter. The main thing is you enjoy what you are doing.

Jordan: Well I stopped doing PE in 4th Year as I didn’t like playing sport. I’m a people person and I initially got a job working in a café working with disabled and vulnerable adults so I decided to come to college and study care. However although I liked working in the care industry – it turned out studying these subjects just wasn’t for me. Troy persuaded me to come on this course – he thought I would like it because it’s not about being good at sport, it’s about working with people, motivating them to be the best they can be and building teams, so you see my people skills have been really useful.

What’s the course like?

Jordan: it’s good, easier than I thought it would be. The fact that I am interested in sport really helps my understanding and I have picked it up OK. I seem to have a knack for coaching. I’ve found what it is I’m good at. (Except anatomy – that’s hard!)

Troy: the thing about coaching is you do it once, and it makes you want to do it again. The more you do the more confident and comfortable you become. It can be a bit scary at first, it’s hard managing a group of 4-7 year olds for the first time as they can be a bit loud and unruly with no regard for health and safety. But you soon get over that! The NC course is more practical and the HNC course is 80% theory and 20% practical – it’s not as easy as you think! It’s not just playing games.

Jordan: The course has given me opportunities to get experience in the community. I help coach the Beith 5-7 year old football team. I did this for a 36 hour work experience unit. I’ve really enjoyed it so I have stayed on. It’s an early morning start and I’ve got to fund my own expenses but it’s a small price to pay for this great chance to make a difference in the community.

What’s been the highlight of the year?

Troy: I think the move from Largs to Irvine. Although the Largs campus was quite far out the facilities were good. Irvine is okay and the good thing is we get to train in different places like Eglinton Park and the Kilwinning Sports Club. We get a wide variety of sports to take part in like football, rugby, badminton, volleyball, American football, cycling. Another highlight has been our college football team won the college league.

What makes the Skills Centre of Excellence special?

Troy: Learning is easier and better if you have fun. The lecturers here keep us engaged, keep us on track and they are a good laugh – but serious when they need to be and we get the work done. They have studied the same courses as us and understand how we feel and what we need.

Jordan: They are approachable and friendly and provide a supportive environment for us to learn in. We are like a close knit family – we know everyone on the campus and we’re all good friends. I think that is what makes this place special.

What does the future hold for you both?

Troy: We’re going to university to continue our sports coaching/ sports management qualifications. We are really optimistic about our job prospects. Local sports clubs are all crying out for coaches. I’ve had to turn down job offers already. By volunteering it shows commitment and willingness and we get great satisfaction knowing we are helping people. The clubs try to give back by paying for our coaching badge.

Jordan: We have had employers visiting our class to interview us for jobs. E.g KA leisure are looking for relief staff and this is great work while we are at college.

What advice would you give a young person who is unsure about studying sport as a career?

Troy: Go for it – if you are interested in sport you’ll enjoy the course. Give it a try! It does not matter if you are good/not good at sport. What’s important is your enthusiasm and willingness to develop yourself and always seek to improve on what you do. You’ll enjoy it and want to stay. It grabbed my attention from day one and my interest has not faded. I’ve enjoyed working towards and achieving my goal.

Jordan: I would never have thought of this as a career if Troy hadn’t suggested it. At school I wanted to do photography and graphics but I couldn’t get in and was on a waiting list, then I tried the care course. Who knew my skills could be transferred to sports coaching. It’s an amazing job – definitely give it a try!

For more information on sports courses or to apply click here

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