David Cope Interview - ETA Development Co-ordinator
DEVELOPMENT - AN ETA PRIORITY PILLAR
Dave started playing Touch about 8 years ago and does not come from a rugby background. He participated with work colleagues in a local ETA affiliated Touch league and was hooked, playing Touch at a social level until 3 years ago, which is when he joined South East based club Hot Custard. This improved his understanding of the game and his all-round Touch skills, to the point where in 2012 he played for the 2012 #TouchNationals champions, SE Taipans, and was also selected to play England Men's 30s. Dave will be at the 2013 #TouchNationals playing for the SE Sharks and in his role as the newly appointed ETA Development Co-ordinator. He talks to us about this new role and how he plans on tackling a job that has never been done in the ETA before. Touch Development is a pillar of priority for the organisation, Dave discusses in detail what it is he's going to bring to the party.
ETA: What's your role as the National Development Co-ordinator?Dave: "My aim is to increase the number of people playing Touch in England, and to ensure that there are more options for them to develop from social games, through leagues and into the regional and elite levels. We want more competition amongst players at the elite level to drive up the overall quality of the national teams. But it isn't just about the elite level, Touch is such a great sport that I want more people to simply participate and enjoy it. It is a sport that is accessible to all, and I'd be especially pleased if we see more women and young players getting into it. Marnie Wills (ETA High Performance Manager) and Ben Powell (ETA Technical Director) have taken on oversight of development alongside their primary ETA roles. They've got lots of experience locally and nationally to provide direction and support on this, so I'm really pleased to be working with them. As the 'co-ordinator', I won't be doing all this national development on my own. I've already got two team members - Ashleigh Stidolph (Percy Park Pirates) and Hannah Chrisp (Loughborough Uni Touch) have stepped up to the plate. I know there are lots of other people around the country who are doing lots of great touch development activity, so if you'd like to join the team, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org."
ETA: What made you apply for the role?
Dave: "Last year was a great year for me as a player, I was fortunate enough to play in the team that won the Touch Nationals and then got selected to play for the Men's 30s team in the European Touch Championships. The regional team gave me a great structure to step up my game, but not everyone has that opportunity. I want to be part of the team that broadens the appeal of Touch, gets more people playing and gives them the same opportunities I had to experience the sport at that level. Oh, and it was the Olympics last year. Anyone who knows me well knows that I got a bit carried away with it all, and so I probably applied on the back of that sort of enthusiasm. Who doesn't want to 'Inspire a Generation'???!!"
ETA: What will be your role at the Touch Nationals?
Dave: "I'm there to win. I'm playing in the excellent South East Sharks team, and we are hungry to win the competition. Obviously, I'll be on hand to chat about development with anyone who wants to, so if you are there and want to talk about how you can play a role in developing the sport, please do come and find me."
ETA: How do you see your role developing in future #TouchNationals?Dave: "Each regional franchise has already done a lot for development in their region, but I'm hoping that they can be the focal point for even more development. I'm hoping to work closely with each franchise over the course of the next year to help them pull in new players, develop talent and bring even more competitive teams to future #TouchNationals."
ETA: What do the Touch Nationals mean to you as National Development Co-ordinator?Dave: "The Touch Nationals was a great innovation last year. This year there is the same Open Division competition, but also a Masters competition. It'd be great if next year it is even bigger, possibly with more age group divisions or even a mixed division. The Nationals is probably the best single competition to showcase our sport off to the rest of the country, so I'd like to see public interest grow over time too."
ETA: Do you have a vision or aim you hope to achieve in your tenure as National Development Co-ordinator?Dave: "More players across the country, more players moving from social towards elite level, and more interest in the sport. Somewhere down the line, I'd like to be turn on my telly and watch the Touch Nationals on prime-time TV." ETA: Thanks to David Cope for obliging with the interview, the England Touch community is fortunate to have you onboard, we're sure readers can almost feel your enthusiasm for our sport exuding from this article. Welcome onboard! - We are England Touch.