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.



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.

E-Colors Support


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:

Pathways Update

BAFCA Level 1 Success

Three coaches from the Highland Wildcats successfully passed their BAFCA Level 1 coaches qualification in Dundee earlier today.

BAFCA LEVEL 1h copyThe course was instructed and assessed by former NFL Europe coach Steve McCusker and Matthew Davies from the East Kilbride Pirates.

Martin MacPherson, Chris Shaw and Ewan Sime all attended the course and are now qualified coaches.

Below is a short clip of Steve McCusker talking about the course shortly after the Inverness BAFCA Level 1 last year.

sportscotland Young Ambassador


One of the Highland Wildcats captains was part of a sportscotland event yesterday in Eden Court. Mark Pyper 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.

Mark was offered the opportunity after his continuing work promoting 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 key in building n a strong Highland Academy Community League team in the Inverness Highschool,  numerous flag football sessions for younger pupils and also coaching and leading sessions in primary schools across Inverness.

Sports Shrink

PsychologyLast night the Highland Wildcats headed to Millburn Academy (the home of the current Highland Academy Community League champions, the Millburn Academy Eagles) for a session with top sports psychologist, Donald MacNaughton.

Donald’s worked with Winter Olympic athletes, Rugby League teams, professional football teams and in motor racing.  He has also been a part of the Wildcats’ campaigns since the 2011 season. He’s a published author with his first book being a top seller on Amazon and his second book just recently being released.

The interactive session focused on goal setting and mindset preperation.  It’s hoped that with the knowledge gained from the session – and then being put into practice – will give both the Youth and Junior Wildcats the edge as they head into the 2014 season.  These are also skills that will transfer over into everyday life.

Donald MacNaughton

A Life Changing Experience

Article by Tom Green

Tom Green

Last year around in October I got to a stage in my life where I had to change. I was having a lot of difficulties in my personal life and nothing I tried previously was helping. This was due to a break up around a year ago which resulted in months of ongoing conflict with my ex and self enforced isolation from my friends and family. These series of events spiralled me into a deep depression which made me an unpleasant person to be around. At the time the only release I had from all this was watching American Football on the TV (Usually the NFL but I also watched a lot of college football as well).

As my moods got the better of me I attempted to kill myself to try ease the pain I was going through. This lead to me being housebound for a week and seeking out things to pass the time. One of the things I started doing was searching for sports clubs in the area because I had been part of Rugby teams and I still to this day represent my local cricket club. Whilst doing the searching I stumbled across a small locally based American Football team (the Highland Wildcats) and managed to pluck up the coverage to send an email to the head coach to see if I was eligible to play.

To my surprise he invited me down to The Blitz and let me join in the post season practices and attend the annual awards show which the club produces. I was really nervous at heading down to The Blitz as you never know what everyone else is going to think and what I should be doing. The team was practicing for the BLITZ AWARDS and were in the middle of a comedy dance sketch routine when I arrived which made for a very relaxed (maybe partly disturbing) environment! After they finished the rehearsal for the BLITZ AWARDS, I had a go at flag football and enjoyed it a lot.

After this first session I started coming down to The Blitz on a regular basis to train with the players during the off-season. All of them made me feel right at home in the team. I soon became addicted to the club and started joining the strength and conditioning sessions as well as youth panel meetings.

The best thing about the Wildcats for me was that everyone there was, and still are, very friendly and welcoming to new players and since joining my life has been getting better and better.

Tom GreenAfter getting to know the coaches and players a bit better my confidence started to increase which allowed me to contribute a bit to the organization. I was also allowed to write up match reports and referee games for the HACL which the organisation set up. I met a lot of like minded people who shared the same interests as I do.

Without the Wildcats I don’t honestly know what I would be doing with myself to pass the time. I might have learned all the dialogue in Skyrim but that wouldn’t have been as fun or as interesting as learning how to play the sport or becoming a part of a such a fantastic organisation.

Article by Tom Green

Refs Get Trained

In preparation for the Highland Academy Community League Season that kicks off in around two weeks time, the Highland Wildcats in association with British Referees Association, put on a youth officiating course for volunteers in the area to gain knowledge and experience in refereeing.

Ref TrainingThe course ran from 10am to 4pm at The Blitz and was delivered by Martin Cockerill who has roles within the BAFRA as well as it’s governing body, the British American Football Association.  The 13 volunteers were taken through the rules and mechanics in a classroom setting and then were given the opportunity to try out this new knowledge on the field with a mock game with players from the Highland Academy Community League teams.

Youth Development Officer, Robbie Paulin, commented, “Martin’s knowledge and delivery made the course a really enjoyable experience.  It really is incredible the amount of information that an official has to process in the space of around 25 seconds every single play of every game.  Everybody on the course picked up a lot of information that will give a massive boost to the quality of our Community League when the games kick off in early February.  The volunteers did a great job of asking questions and getting as much knowledge as possible from the day and it was good to see a mix of age ranges getting involved.  We had 14-18 year olds within our targeted Pathways age group but also older volunteers including former players and NFL fans that were looking to give back and get more involved in the sport.

None of this would have been possible if Martin hadn’t taken the time to fly up to Inverness to deliver the course. On behalf of the Wildcats I’d like to thank him for the work he’s put in.”

Martin CockerillMartin Cockerill added, “I would like to thank the Highland Academy Community League and members of staff ably led by Robbie Paulin, for the warm and eager welcome I received from them. The development of sports officials to cover all American football games in the UK has been high on the agenda for the British American Football Referee Association and the British American Football Association for a number of years, and it is with great pleasure that I arrived in Inverness and was privileged to spend the day with keen, eager members of the Highland Academy Community League in their quest to drive the game on in the local area. Sports officials from all sports are key to the smooth running of the game, and often seen in not the best of lights. So I was pleasantly surprised with the turn out for the days training and greatly encouraged by the number of young people who took part. The level of knowledge and eagerness to learn, what is a complicated and involved set of rules, as well as the mechanics of officiating made the day great fun to do. The questions and discussions showed a level of commitment, knowledge and desire to make the HACL a great success. Thirteen members took part in a rules clinic as well as an on field mechanics session with players from the HACL, followed by a review of the day and a competency exam of which they all passed with flying colours. I hope that they consider taking their officiating career further as they will be a great asset to the sport.

I greatly believe that the additional skills that where learned on the day will make the upcoming season a great success.

The development of young players as well as young officials is crucial to the long term growth of the game, as well as the development and life skills that both paths can give to young people in their non sporting lives. I am certain that it is in good hands in Inverness and look forward to my next visit to the Highlands of Scotland.”

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