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Scott Murray reflects on eight years leading the South Central Academy

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Having been part of the region’s academy since its inception, Scott Murray is stepping back from his role as Lead Coach at the South Central Regional Academy.

Regional academies are an early step on the British Triathlon pathway, providing budding youngsters from clubs across England with the opportunity to build on their potential in swim, bike, run.

“I’ve done eight years with the academy,” Murray started. “It’s a great gig, you can’t put into words how privileged you are to work with such talented athletes and see them mature as people and they grow into pretty decent humans as opposed to just pretty good athletes.

“It’s that sort of first, much more formalised position, because we do expect the athletes to show how they’re living the athlete development framework.

“There’s a little bit more expectation and a lot more exposure to coaching, tactics, techniques and considerations that they could bring into their training as they go through the academy level at different ages and stages.”

Each regional academy operates slightly differently, helping to provide the athletes in the region with the support they need to develop and make the most of the opportunities afforded to them.

“At the South Central Academy we’ve worked on a weekend basis,” Murray explained. “Once a month I’ll get the guys together and physically have them in the room with me.

“We’ll do virtual sessions, usually there’ll be some optional drop in because they’re busy. Talented triathletes are talented athletes and you’ve got athletes going through GCSE and A-Levels, so there’s a lot of moving pieces.

“I think it’s giving them an appreciation of the skills they’ve got, and a lot of the skills they’ve got from being dedicated students transfer into the athletic career and vice versa.”

Academy athletes are in general aged 15-19 and racing in the Youth and Junior categories. Each year, academies hold trials to determine the intake for that year, with academy leads and coaches assessing practical skills following an application process.

The regional academies feed into the national England Next Generation (ENG) squad as the subsequent step on the pathway, with Home Nation squads providing a further level of development for athletes.

Murray was part of the triathlon coaching staff for Team England at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, providing him with an opportunity to experience working with world leading athletes at a major Games, but also to bring learnings back for the academy.

“There were actually three coaches within the coaching teams across the Home Nations who have come through the academy process or been involved with academies,” Murray said.

“I think for me, the key thing was that I went into that role so that I could bring that experience back to the academy.

“I wanted to make sure that I could take the experience of being in the room with Georgia [Taylor-Brown], Sophie [Coldwell], Sian [Rainsley], Dan [Dixon], Sam [Dickinson] and Alex [Yee] and take that back into the academy athletes, and say, these are the behaviours that these guys have and they’re the same behaviours that we asked you to demonstrate based around the athlete development framework.

“They’re just doing it at a higher level and a more consistent basis, but the skills are still the same, they’ve just enhanced the skills over a number of years.”

As for what’s next, Murray will continue to coach with Synergie Coaching, whilst applications for his replacement are open until Friday 17 February 2023.

Find out more about the Triathlon England talent pathway and regional academy set up by clicking on the button below.

England Talent Pathway

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