Fencing in Fylde, polo in Preston, curling in Chorley: Making P.E. in Lancashire great again with SportsCool

As a sports fan with a passion for educating and working with kids, Adrian Herring faced a pretty simple choice eight years ago. Having been made redundant from his job in accountancy, he had the chance to follow his dream.

By Jack Marshall
Thursday, 16th June 2022, 4:55 am

So he did just that.

“I’d worked in accountancy for 25 years, so it was time for a career change,” says Adrian, who found his calling as a kids’ sports coach. “I’ve always loved working with kids and sports, so I wanted to combine the two.”

Adrian is now thriving as the Preston area manager for SportsCool, an organisation which provides sports education for primary schools and works to enhance the delivery of physical education with the view that every child should have the chance to participate.

Adrian Herring

“It’s been everything I could’ve hoped and more, I just wish I’d done it earlier,” says Adrian, 57, from Lincolnshire. “What makes SportsCool unique is the variety and breadth of sports we cover - we do the mainstream sports but also try to do things which are a little different.

“Inclusivity is also important and we make sure every child can take part, not just people who already know they’re good at certain sports,” adds Adrian, who has lived in Ecclestone near Chorley for 25 years. “Everyone can get something out of it.”

Coaching everything from fencing and archery to curling, ultimate frisbee, and tri-golf, SportsCool was founded in Blackburn 14 years ago and has 28 operations across the UK, including in Preston and Fylde.

Founded by coaches Lee Lysons, Matt Parker, and Andy Preston, the business now has over 100 employees and a presence in more than 400 educational providers. It also has growth plans for the next 12 months, aiming to open 20 new branches.

A SportsCool session in Buckshaw Village

“The ethos is simple: sports education is fundamental to a child’s development,” says Lee. “We also believe that every child should have the chance to participate, progress, and achieve in physical activities.

“This has a profound effect on self-esteem, confidence, motivation, physical aptitude, and all-round mental and physical health,” he adds. “Our sessions raise aspirations, are accessible to all, and are fun.

“As a result, we see the youngsters that we work with blossom into confident, healthy, and aspiring individuals,” Lee continues. “We’re also giving people the opportunity to make a career of something that they love.”

Working during Covid, however, was tumultuous, according to Adrian. “We were able to get out at certain times and do things like classes in parks,” he explains. “We didn’t completely shut down for two years.

A SportsCool session in Buckshaw Village

“We did as much as we could, but we did have six months where things were totally dead,” he adds, having been with SportsCool for two years now. “Physical education is crucial and taking part is always good for kids because it gets them out the house.

“With us, they’re also getting exercise without really realising it because of how fun it is,” continues Adrian. “It’s not just 10 laps around the track - we do a lot of team-building skills, which is a really important facet of social interaction, especially after Covid.

“Getting kids working together is huge and knowing you’re introducing a kid to a new sport and a potential new passion is really fulfilling.”

A SportsCool session in Buckshaw Village
Adrian Herring
Adrian Herring leading the SportsCool session in Buckshaw Village
A SportsCool session in Buckshaw Village