E-Colors Champions

E-Colors Champions

Ben McMahon from E-Colors talks about the Highland Wildcats, pioniering the E-Color’s Champion programme in Europe…

“Over the last two years it has been an absolute pleasure to bring E-Colors to the Highland Wildcats, but what makes it even more special is to see these young people grow and develop not just on the field but in the community as well.

On behalf of Equilibria, Tina McGregor and myself, I am thrilled that I am able to recommend that Euan Crawford, Haris Ryalls, Colin Hamilton, Chris Shaw and Stephen McMeechan be named E-Color champions which are the first of their kind in Europe.

Having had a chance to speak to them about their experience with E-Colors and personal intervention it became clear that they had learnt to implement and excel at both, leading them to be much more intentional leaders moving forward and to make the most of any opportunity that comes their way

I will be keeping an eye on these young men moving forward as I expect to see some great things as they guide others within the Highland community to becoming E-Colors champions.

An E-Colors champion is someone who has become fully aware of their own strengths and potential limiters and how best to use them. They understand that not everyone is the same and all need to be treated like individuals. There is an old saying: “treat someone how you would like to be treated”. At Equilibria we believe in something slightly different: “treat people how they would like to be treated”. An E-Color champion also understands personal intervention and the power of choice and that no one can control your actions but yourself.”

Here’s Ben McMahon and Tina McGregor talking a little bit about E-Colors at this year’s Blitz Awards back in November:

Young Ambassador

Haris RyallsOne of the Highland Wildcats players was part of a sportscotland event earlier this week in Eden Court. Haris Ryalls was selected from pupils in Inverness Highschool and invited to the Highland wide event aimed at training young people to become ambassadors for sport in their school.

Young Ambassadors is a programme for young people in school between the ages of 14 and 17 run by sportscotland. Their role is to motivate and inspire other young people from primary and secondary schools across Scotland to get involved in sport and to generate enthusiasm for major games.

Haris was offered the opportunity after his continuing work promoting sport (including American football) to younger pupils and to people in his own year. He has set up sessions through the Wildcats Pathways programme and working with Active Schools. He was also part of the staff for the Highland Academy Community League team in the Inverness High School.

Davie Grant #75

Yesterday saw Davie Grant’s last practice coaching with the Highland Wildcats. Tom Green has written a special article looking back on Davie’s involvement with the team:

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Player Profile

Name: Davie Grant

DOB: 6/11/1994 Position: NT/DT

Player Number:

#7 (2009)

#75 (2010-2013)

Playing Career:

Highland Wildcats (u17 Flag) 2009

Highland Wildcats (u17 Kitted) 2010-2011

Highland Wildcats (u19 Kitted) 2013

Personal Accolades:

Blitz Achievement Award 2013

Best Lineman 2013

FBU ALL EUROPE 2012

Best Defensive Lineman 2011

Most Improved Player 2010

Team Honors (As Player)

UK Championship (u17) 2011

Scottish Championship (u17) 2010, 2011

Team Honors (As Coach)

UK Championship (u17) 2014

Scottish Championship (u17) 2012-2015

Biography

Lineman Coach and former Highland Wildcats NT/DT has accepted an offer to go to Stirling University where he has the opportunity to play for the 2013 and 2014 BUCS National Champions the Stirling Clansmen. As a result of this he will be unable to coach the line for the Highland Wildcats through the 2015 post-season due to the Clansmen’s training regime. Here is his football story so far.

Davie Grant first joined the Highland Wildcats back in 2008 at the age of 14 as a junior flag football player. When he joined he wasn’t in the best physical shape and was struggling to make his way through practices. Despite this he helped the Wildcats reach their first Junior UK Championship final back in 2009 where they played the Coventry Bears in the final. The Wildcats won convincingly in a 53-0 rout and became UK Champions for the first time with the young Grant apart of the team.

The Year after Davie moved up the ranks into the under 17 kitted team where he developed his skills as a lineman. Over that season he gradually improved and started to become a dangerous defensive threat which helped the Wildcats win their first Scottish kitted championship in over 5 years. As a result of his growing ability he won the 2010 Blitz Award for the Most Improved Player.

In 2011 Davie became a truly extraordinary player for his age as he demolished every single Centre that had the misfortune of getting in his way. This helped the Wildcats finish the regular season 14-0-1. He then won his second UK championship and his last one as a player when the Highland side won a nail biting final against the Woodham Warriors where the Highlanders won 38-34. This was after trailing by 2 points with only six seconds to go. As a result for his hard work he won the Defensive Lineman of the year at the 2011 Blitz Awards.

In 2012 he was no longer eligible to play at youth level and as the senior team pulled out of the league he couldn’t play domestically. But instead of just simply quitting he became a part of the coaching staff and helped develop the next generation of linemen. In that same year was also selected for the Football University (FBU) Europe Select team after impressing the coaches down at the Stirling Camp in September that year. Whilst with FBU Europe he played at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas where he played against, the British Columbia.

He then played his last season with the Wildcats in 2013 with the newly formed u19 team where he continued to show off his ability at the 11 man game. Despite Davie’s best efforts the Wildcats couldn’t qualify for the post season as they finished the season on a 3-4-1 record but his impact was felt across the division. As a result of his performances throughout his career with the Highlanders he won two awards at the Blitz Awards which followed. The first he won was the Best Lineman for 2013 and his second award of the night was the Blitz Achievement Award for his years of service with the club. In 2014 he concentrated on coaching and won his first Britbowl title as a coach and helped the team retain the Scottish Championship for the 5th time in a row.

Comments and Other Stuff

On a personal note when I was playing for the Junior Wildcats last year I was struggling to find a position which suited me. This meant that I was training with nearly every single Wildcats coach last year. Despite his scary nature on the field, Davie always made sure that everyone who went on his line was pushed hard but would always help those who were struggling. He would often take me to the side and help me go through stances and moves when I was with the D-Line. Although I ended up playing Running Back I am happy that I had the opportunity to train under his wing.

Head Coach, Robbie Paulin commented, “I remember when I first saw Davie at Inverness High School when we delivered flag football sessions there. He took some convincing to come along but I knew the sport could help him a lot…and that we could benefit from having him part of the team. He wasn’t the best athlete and struggled physically at first but he is living proof that determination and hard work can achieve amazing results. He is one of the highest achievers we’ve ever had come through the Wildcats and beyond his playing, he’s been a valued member of my staff. I know he’ll go on to do great things and look forward to the last few games with him on our sideline going in to Britbowl and the Scottish Final for U19.”

Crimestoppers

CRIMESTOPPERS

The Crimestoppers Highlands and Islands committee have brought on board new volunteers from American football team the Highland Wildcats.

Robbie Paulin (Youth Development Officer for the Pathways project), Niall Martin and Nathan Ross (Wildcats players) have recently been on the ball with the Crimestoppers youth team, Fearless, helping to educate 11-16 year olds about crime and empowering them to do the right thing if ever faced with criminality.

The trio (pictured above in the back row) were welcomed by the committee at their latest meeting, chaired by Jim Ferguson (pictured front, centre) at Inverness Police HQ.

“Volunteers are vital to us – they help us to carry out our work across Scotland and we’re incredibly grateful for their hard work. We were delighted to bring on board Robbie, Niall and Nathan as volunteers with the committee and we’re looking forward to carrying out new activities with them in the coming months.” – Angela Parker, National Manager for Crimestoppers Scotland.

Development Squad Win

Last Sunday whilst the Junior Wildcats were playing a tight game against the Lanarkshire Longhorns at Beltane Park, the youth development squad met up with the East Kilbride Pirates. This time a game and scrimmage took place with the Wildcats development squad enjoying another taste of competition.

A 12 man team, mostly made up of rookie players, took to the field to take on the Pirates. On this occassion the Wildcat development squad all contributed to a good 42-6 win against players from the Pirates.

After the game the Wildcats played defense so that the Pirates offense could get more game time.

Wildcats Development Coach, Martin Macpherson, was pleased with the days events. “The game was a great opportunity for the development guys to continue their progress going against a good opponent. This time we had the chance for some of our players to try different positions as well as more game experience. It is tough to break into our main youth squad and stay there, and the effort all of my squad keep putting in will help them get there. I would like to thank the East Kilbride Pirates for giving us the opportunity for giving our development guys more game experience.”

Head Coach of the Highland Wildcats, Robbie Paulin, added, “I’m really pleased that some of my newer players are getting a chance for more game time. We’ve worked closely with the East Kilbride Pirates this season to get these extra events set up and I think both squads have benefited. We’ve now got another event on 4 July that will see a team from TouchdownUK based in Edinburgh coming up to Inverness to play some games against our development players. We’re grateful to BAFA for giving us the go ahead for this event and hope that it’s the first of many!”

E-Colors Support

ECOLORS

This year Equilibria have supported the Highland Wildcats 2015 campaign by providing an E-Colors in Sport course for their players and staff. This will take place at Millburn Academy on 22 July and because of Equilibria’s support it will be completely free for all members. This in-kind sponsorship from Equilibria has also allowed the Wildcats to access sportsmatch funding to further improve their volunteer coach development programme.

Lead Coach for the E-Colors in Sports Programme, Ben McMahon gave his background on how he became involved in E-Colors. “This year I enter my 15th year of coaching, I have coached in the UK and Spain and I always made sure that my players were technically proficient whenever they stepped foot onto the field, I have had great successes with this approach with players being selected to national teams and even select all-star teams, but there was always something in the back of my mind that I was missing giving them.”

He continued, “I was then introduced to E-Colors and pretty much right away it hit me. For all these years I had be coaching players not people, I had been missing a crucial part of their development and realised right away that I had to coach them the way that best suits them as an individual even if that was not the best way for me.

Mahon went on to speak more in detail about what E-Colors can bring to a team. “E-Colors gives coaches and teammates a way of getting the best out of each and every person in a clear and simple way that is very fast to implement within the team. It allows a team to understand why certain people behave the way that they do and helps understand each other’s strengths and potential limiters without prejudice and judgment. By being able to communicate to players and team mates in the most effect and positive way we have seen an increase in performance throughout the programmes that have implemented E-Colors by them being able to realise their full potential through understanding and increased communication.”

The Wildcats were involved in the first ever E-Colors in Sport course last year towards the end of the 2014 season. Here’s what Head Coach, Robbie Paulin had to say about their experience with the programme:

Development Success

DEVELOPMENT GAME

Last Sunday, whilst the junior Wildcats were playing the Clackmannashire Ravens, the youth development squad met up with the East Kilbride Pirates.

Two games were played at Alva Academy with the Wildcats development squad enjoying their first taste of competition, winning the first game, against rookie players from the Pirates, 46-14, with a good display by both offense and defense. The second game was a lot closer with East Kilbride taking a 14-0 lead, but the development Wildcats rallied to tie the game 14-14.

Wildcats Head of Development, Martin Macpherson, was pleased with the days events. “It was good to see that the development guys were able to react well to a competitive game situation and apply what they have learned in training. This experience will help them improve as they try to break into the main squad.”

Head Coach of the Highland Wildcats, Robbie Paulin, added, “This was the first time we have ran two Wildcats squads in different locations on the same day and it worked really well. While trying to focus on the junior game, I was still glued to my phone waiting to see how the development players were getting on! I’m really pleased how they performed and feel that this development game was really worth while. Thanks to Amanda MacDonald and the other Pirates staff and players for taking the time to come through and give our guys more competition.”

Wildcats Forge New Partnership

FORGEThe Wildcats are pleased to officially announce our new partnership with the Forge Gym, Inverness. Based on Carsegate Road, the gym is sponsoring the Wildcats in-kind throughout the 2015 season. The team will be running its strength and conditioning programme there, taking advantage of the facilities and expertise.

The value of the support from the Forge Gym has been matched pound for pound by sportsmatch giving the Wildcats an injection of cash to run their volunteer coach development programme.

Head coach, Robbie Paulin, commented, “The Forge Gym has literally saved our strength and conditioning programme. I believe it is what gives us our edge going into games and without the help of Gavin Laird at the Forge, I doubt we would continue to see so much success.”

Check out the Forge on Facebook at: facebook.com/ForgeGym

 

Wildcats settling into their new strength & conditioning home! #forge #highlandwildcats #forgegym

A video posted by Robbie Paulin (@robbiepaulin) on

Highland Bowl Handover

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Players from the Inverness High School Predators met yesterday to hand over the Highland Bowl trophy to head teacher, John Rutter.

Johh Rutter commented, “I am very proud of the Predators, not only for winning the Highland Bowl but also for the way in which they have done so. While an exceptionally talented group of players they have also shown a great deal of respect for, and camaraderie with the opposing teams throughout the competition.”

He continued, “The Highland Academy Community League has been a fantastic development for our school and for the community. The team spirit and love of taking part and competing which has been instilled by the volunteers involved in coaching and organising is brilliant. They, as well as the players, deserve our thanks and need to share in the achievements of the team.”

Coach for the Inverness High School Predators, Ewan Sime, said, “Myself and Davie Grant (head coach of the Predators) were extremely pleased to be able to bring a championship to our former school.”

The Highland Bowl will remain in Inverness High School until Highland Bowl III in 2016 where team will compete to be crowned HACL Champions.

Remembering Bette

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One year has passed since the Highland Wildcats lost one of the family.

A year ago today, one of the Wildcats founding members, Bette Paulin, passed away from Ovarian Cancer. Since then, the club and family and friends of Bette have raised over £1000 for Maggie’s Highland. The organisation renamed its volunteer of the year award in her name at the BLITZ AWARDS 2014. And throughout the year, kind words flooded in from all of the UK and across the globe speaking of Bette’s contribution to the game of American football and how much she cared for the young people she aimed to help.

“After she passed away there was a great spirit of everybody pulling together. Everybody did their part to try to take up the many roles she took on at The Blitz,” said Robbie Paulin, Bette’s son and also coach of the Highland Wildcats. “The organisation will never be the same without her, and a year on we all still miss her. But the example that she set, the structure she formed and even little quirky things she put in place, still live on with the volunteers that stepped into her shoes. I hope this team spirit and enjoyment will keep up as we head into the Highland Academy Community League this weekend – which she would have loved by the way! I know she would be so proud of what the Wildcats achieved in the last year and she would want everybody to keep ‘working their arses off’ and having the time of their lives!”

Below are links to Bette’s Award at the BLITZ AWARDS 2014 and her tribute video.

Link to Money for Maggie’s article

Link to Bette’s facebook gallery

#highlandwildcats on Instagram

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