Richard Blaze forwards coach for England U20’s explains his reasons for joining the 2018 VSI MSc in Sporting Directorship

The art of reinvention: coach lives by example in pursuit of improvement

Richard Blaze carrying rugby balls

As a rugby coach, Richard Blaze pushes his young players to constantly improve and learn new skills.

It is a lesson that the England under-20s coach has chosen to live by as he looks to broaden his horizons in the next chapter of his career.

The former Leicester Tigers lock is preparing to start the VSI MSc in Sporting Directorship in September as part of the 2018 cohort.

Never afraid to try new things, this is just the latest challenge that the former Leicester Tigers lock has taken on since injury forced him to retire from playing in 2010. He’s already shown he can pick things up quickly.

“I retired at 25 and went straight into coaching at first team level. Most players do things differently, they retire at 34 or 35 then have three years at a sort of apprenticeship level coaching youth teams,” he said.

But Blaze quickly proved himself at the highest level.

After helping Leicester win the Premiership title 2013, one of the proudest moments of his career so far was seeing players from his team selected for the British and Irish Lions.

“They say that coaching is the next best thing to playing,” he said.

“I never got to achieve my goals as a player but if I can help other players achieve their goals then it fits the mould for me.”
Having enjoyed so much success, Blaze decided to step back from first team coaching last year to spend more time with his family and explore other options. He is now part of the coaching set-up for England under-20s and also works with Leicester’s academy players.

“It’s a different type of coaching, there’s a lot more focus on development and it’s helping me to become a more well-rounded coach,” he said.

“At some point I want to get back into first team coaching but at the top level you need to be able to reinvent yourself.”

It was this spirit of reinvention that lead Blaze to the sporting directorship course. He’s keen to develop new skills and learn from those whose careers and experiences are completely different to his own.

“The course appealed to me because I’ll be studying with people with different backgrounds and from different sports. You never know what opportunities that might lead to.

“It’s about growing my skill set and gaining a qualification. It’s a masters that you can take with you into different rolls and gives you another string to your bow.”
To learn more about the VSI MSc in Sporting Directorship contact:
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