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European Youth Cup 2021

I was asked to be the Team Manager for a Development Team going out to the European Youth Cup in August 2021 in Bucharest Romania. I was asked in July to be the manager of the development team. This was really a personal honour to be given this role and responsibility as I was the first coach from Northern Ireland to lead a team of 22 athletes and 6 staff for the weeklong competition.

With the joys of covid and international travel I needed to ensure that I had all the right travel and wellness documentation and that everyone had got their PCR tests and filled in the forms c

orrectly to allow them to enter Romania. It was a little hectic in the week before as we were all attending the Youth Festival the biggest domestic junior archery event to coordinate training and admin prior to heading of to Luton Airport for the start of our trip.

Romania had relaxed some restrictions such as when outside we could remove our masks and as the temperature 41 centigrade it was welcomed. Travel by bus and in the hotel, we still had to wear masks. The days were long with 5.15am starts and an early breakfast at 6am before journeying to the field with the younger competitors in the u17 category. I had to ensure all competitors had their equipment all staff were there before we took the 40-minute bus journey to the field. We finished o the field of play around 4.30pm with the u21 athletes who come out after lunch as the younger ones returned to the hotel. A quick shower and change for dinner at 6pm followed by a team meeting and the next day’s itinerary was gone through so everyone knew what was happening supported by a WhatsApp notification as well. Bed couldn’t come quickly enough at 10pm. I would have had discussions with the staff around issues and around how athletes were coping as for most this was their first time away competing for GB and the pressures, they placed on themselves.

The penultimate evening was again ensuring everyone was tested and paperwork to allow us to leave Romania was correct. It didn’t help that several including my own paperwork did not return but by 12.30am on the morning of departure I got it all sorted. We were free to leave Romania after a successful trip and everyone was inspired by their experiences to want more. A quick dash in Luton airport to get our connecting flight to Belfast and added paperwork and I got home very pleased with how the week had gone.

What was more rewarding the post competition survey carried out by the athletes and staff indicated a very high level of satisfaction with my role and performance and was asked not only to go with the team this year to the European Youth Cup in Romania in July 2022 but to leads the team at the European Youth Championships in August 2022 at our home in Lilleshall National Sports Centre.

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