We’re very lucky to have such a dedicated and passionate team of coaches at the club. Meet our Team here.
Jessica Magson – Junior Beginners
Jess has been paddling with S&SCC since 2011 and I began to get involved with coaching around 2016, becoming more heavily involved when reaching the Premier Division. She is currently working towards assessment as a canoe slalom coach and has already completed Core and two Discipline Specific Training courses in slalom and sheltered water.
“I am beginning to branch out into private coaching as a part-time job to take forward to my time at university. In the future I hope to advance further my coaching qualifications and provide coaching for club paddlers to give back to the club.”
Darren Ship – Junior Group 1
Darren is responsible for the Junior 1 group. This group is mainly the previous years beginners and along with Harry & Box they develop the basic skills the children have learnt and get them up through the divisions, with most reaching Div2 within a year.
Ali McCreery – Juniors
Ali first began paddling slalom in 2012, coming from a recreational paddlesports background. Ali relocated from Belfast to Nottingham in 2016 to train at HPP whilst completing his Coaching and Sport Science Degree and NTU. He made his international debut in 2015 at the junior world championships and has been racing for Ireland at a senior international level since 2017. Ali has been coaching canoeing and kayaking since 2015, gaining experience with a number of disciplines, sports and age groups. He has joined S&SCC in 2020.
“I’m really excited to become part of a club with such strong canoe slalom history, and I’m looking forward to working alongside the other coaches to help the next generation of junior paddlers be the best they can be”
Rufus McGreary – Adult Beginners
Rufus started canoeing at school aged 13, he then joined Cheltenham Canoe Club and started Slalom. He competed until about 1996, then due to work and Motorsport took a rest until about 2000. He did his first Slalom coaching course in 1987 and has been doing approximately 1 course per year since to improve his skills and knowledge of the sport. Rufus joined Stafford and Stone Canoe Club in 2011 and started coaching at the club in 2013.
“I like slalom and canoeing and would like others to enjoy it as well and if they want to go into slalom competitions then all the better. Training alone is is difficult and it can take a long time to progress, to train with others makes it more enjoyable and we progress faster, especially if we train with the best (Stafford and Stone Canoe club).”
Horst Mayer – Junior Group 2
Horst is responsible for Junior 2 group. This is a mix of Div2 and Div1 paddlers with many being on British Canoeing Squads. His sessions are a mix of physical sessions and technique sessions. He works along side Ant Barker to deliver an excellent program.
Ant Barker – Junior 2
Ant supports Coaching the Junior 2 group. Ant brings years of experience paddling and coaching to the club.
Andy joined Stafford & Stone Canoe Club in 1983 whilst employed as a Maths teacher at Alleyne’s High School. At the time the club had about 50 competing slalom paddlers including reigning World Champions Richard Fox and Liz Sharman. Of the competing members only 15 were juniors (1 girl). At the start of the 2019 season S&SCC has over 80 competitors of which about half are juniors (17 girls). Andy quickly began to introduce Alleyne’s pupils to the club and to the sport of canoe slalom. This was the start of his involvement in coaching juniors which has continued to this day. His career took him to Shugborough Outdoor Education Centre in 1987 breaking the direct link with Alleyne’s. In 2019 Andy stepped back from his role of Head Coach and since then has taken on a more supportive role helping to develop the current coaches and assistants and also covering sessions where required.
“Whilst a majority of young paddlers are not destined to reach the very top of the sport, large numbers do engage for many years and make excellent progress. History has shown that even to reach the top, it is necessary to be paddling and competing by the age of 12, hence for many years the club’s target age group for Taster Sessions has been school years 5 & 6.”
“There is no doubt that Canoe Slalom remains an exciting, dynamic and challenging sport which provides enjoyment, disappointments, life skills and great social opportunities for all.”
The links established with local schools have been invaluable in bringing forwards the next generation of junior slalom paddlers.
Andy has coached across all abilities from Beginner to International level and travelled all over Britain and Europe as a coach and supporter.
Andy has recently become a Slalom Coach Award tutor to help train and develop the next generation of slalom coaches.
His personal coaching philosophy is,
“To create and support an environment that enables achievement for all.”
With a very firm belief that,
“If it is to be, it is up to me!”
Bex has been paddling with the club since 2014. She is now in Division 1 in both K1 and C1 and also competes in C2 at the lower division races which she finds a lot of fun. Bex got involved with coaching in 2018 and has continued to help and support the coaching of junior groups since then. Bex supports Darren with the Junior 1 group.
“I like coaching as I want to give back to the club as without those who have supported me I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today. It is also really rewarding to see the juniors who I support on making progress throughout a session and seeing them applying their training into their races. I hope to continue to coach and to progress in my coaching ability so that I can influence the paddling of juniors to a higher standard”.
Harry supports the Junior 1 Group.
Chloe started paddling with S&SCC in 2013 and has progressed to division 1 in K1 and also paddles C2 with Bex at the division 3 races. Chloe began coaching the beginners in 2018.
”I started coaching because when I was a beginner some of the more experienced junior paddlers were assistant coaches in my group and I found this really beneficial to my progression in the sport, so I wanted to do the same for other beginners. I enjoy coaching because it is rewarding to watch the progression made the beginners I help to coach and I love to see the beginners enjoyment for the sport”.
Chloe’s best memory whilst she has been a member of the club was when she was part of the winning team in the Interclubs at Cardington.