This is part 3 on coach Andy Young, written by Stuart Weir. Andy Young is an excellent coach and is now coaching Laura Muir, Jemma Reekie, and Gabriela Stafford DeBues.
Andy Young, photo by Bobby Gavin www.thatonemoment.co.uk
Andy Young Part 3 Beginning as a coach
How did you get into coaching?
I started running when I was about nine years old at a local club. At the time I wanted to be a sprinter but the club was basically a road-running club so I became a middle-distance runner and I was quite good at it. A number of years later somebody called Kenny McVey started doing coaching sessions at the Kelvin Hall and I started to become more of a track runner. He was working in the shipbuilding industry so didn’t have any experience in coaching but he got information from other coaches such as Highland Games coaches. We instantly had a lot of success winning Scottish schools titles for example.
As I got a bit older, Kenny didn’t have time to go to coaching courses, so I was the one who ended up going to coaching courses, strength and conditioning seminars, nutrition etc. So, I started getting more involved. He would run the session but I would fill in the blanks for the rest of the week. By the time I was 16, I was highly involved. I would source information from people who could help and together we set the sessions. By then I was already heavily involved in the coaching side of it with Kenny. And that continued so that by the time I was 20 I had probably attended more coaching courses and seminars than most coaches do in a lifetime!
When I was 18, I went to Loughborough Uviversity and that was a natural split from Kenny and I let George Gandy take over as my coach. So, for a number of years I was less involved. In the early 2000s the Glasgow Athletics Association asked me to do some coaching in schools. That wasn’t real coaching, just kids’ athletics. Alongside that I started coaching part-time at the university. That involved building a club up from nothing. In my final year racing, I joined in with Tommy Boyle’s group over in Motherwell [A town near Glasgow]. Then a medical student (Kevin McCloy) came to the university and I was giving him a lift over to Motherwell every week. I got a new job and didn’t have time to keep going to Motherwell and Kevin had no way of getting across, so he asked me if I would coach him. That was OK because I was already coaching at the university. And Kevin became my first senior international. When he asked me, I was doing sessions with him, which probably weren’t the right ones for me because I was a fair bit older. So, from then on, I started concentrating on coaching – him and a few other better ones. Kevin was the first one I coached to a national level. One year he came fourth in the British championships by a fraction of second and got a medal the Scottish championships few weeks later; then one day he came to training and said that was it; he was giving up. I still keep in touch….
How good were you as an athlete?
In 1994 I won the world schools at 16 [ISF World Gymnasaide 800m in1:52.50]. I think I’m only Scot ever to do that but I don’t know how often we sent a team to it. I was also a GB junior international under 19, under 20. I also got a few GB under 23 vests.
1 George Gandy coached over 80 international athletes in a 50 year career. See https://www.athleticsweekly.com/featured/coach-insight-george-gandy-53280/.