Meet our Head of Boys’ Sports and Director of Rugby
With excellent sports facilities and a new Astrozone in planning, Westonbirt enjoys an enviable reputation of producing highly successful individual and team performances in a wide variety of sports. For this academic year, Westonbirt has welcomed Mr Andy Blaylock as our Head of Boys’ Sports and Director of Rugby. He shares with us his coaching style, how he keeps athletes motivated during the season and his vision for boys’ sports at Westonbirt.
Can you tell us about your teaching experience before Westonbirt?
I have been teaching for over 20 years in a variety of roles including supporting children with behavioural needs, Head of Key Stage 3 and various leadership roles within PE. In my last school, I was Head of BTEC and OCR Sport and Head of Rugby.
How would you describe your coaching style?
I’ve always adopted a ‘player centred’ approach, encouraging the players to explore the different outcomes of the challenges that come their way and guide their decision making in a game-based environment.
How do you ensure all players feel included in the team?
By encouraging open dialogue between players and making sure students feel confident that I am giving them the best of my attention and care.
How do you keep athletes motivated during the season?
I breakdown the overall game into achievable targets and include the players in the planning for the season. By creating ‘senior players’ in every year group, players are given a sense of ownership and control of their games and important information is naturally disseminated amongst teams: what we are doing, why we do it and where we are going.
Describe one of your most successful moments?
It has to be winning the Commonwealth Handball Championship in Kenya and in Rugby, it would be playing at the Dubai 7’s against Iran and J9 (Joost van der Westhuizen’s team). The J9 opposition had over 300 international caps in the starting team. It was an immensely tough and enjoyable game that put my skills to the test.
What is your vision for boys’ sports at Westonbirt?
My vision is to take boys’ sport to the point where we are competing at district, regional and national level in a variety of sports which best suit each year group, on an annual basis. Having such a diverse group of students each year keeps the job exciting and rewarding. I intend to ensure we as staff bring out the best of each student, whilst making the learning environment fun and engaging.