HWLS academic appointed to England wheelchair rugby league coaching team

We are delighted to announce that Martyn Rothwell (senior lecturer in sports coaching) has been appointed to the England wheelchair rugby league coaching team for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup. Martyn has kindly been talking to us about his appointment.

What was your reaction when you found out the news?

Excited to be given the opportunity to contribute to the team.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your previous coaching experience?

My first experience of coaching was with junior players at Derby City Rugby League club in 2006, and then I moved from there to coaching the first team. During this time, I also coached on the Rugby Football League’s (RFL) North West Player Pathway. In 2008, I was the assistant coach at Loughborough Students, moving to the head coach position in 2010, staying there until 2014. At the same time, I was the Midlands regional talent coach manager for the RFL, tasked with the development of 12- to 16-year-olds across the region. In 2014, I coached the Coventry Bears in their inaugural season in the Championship League 1. After this I spent a season coaching on Castleford Tigers England Talent Pathway Programme, and I have also coached the Midlands Universities team in 2009, 2010, and 2019.

Martyn Rothwell

Martyn Rothwell

Any highlights or achievements that stand out?

Getting to the third round of the Challenge Cup with Loughborough Students, eventually losing to four-times-winners Halifax. Seeing players transition from the Midlands Academy to professional rugby league clubs was also another highlight.

In terms of being on the coaching team for the 2021 World Cup, what are you most looking forward to?

I cannot wait to be part of the team. And, of course, working with the players and contributing to the inclusive nature of rugby league.

What will be the biggest challenge?

Supporting the players towards fulfilling their potential.

Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring coaches?

  • Put the players needs first
  • Don’t follow the crowd, be innovative and creative
  • Ensure player development practices are evidence led
  • Personal development is a continuous and never-ending process

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