International Judoka Theo Spalding-McIntosh blogs about Young Leaders in Glasgow

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This week will be my second visit to the BP Young Leaders Programme 2014, having visited almost all of the Young Leader groups and it has been incredible to see their individual and collective journeys thus far.

I find the first day is always the biggest stretch for the young people – a new group of personalities, new athletes and a new venue create an environment of nervous excitement. It is almost like recreating the fight or flight reflex before competition. It’s really interesting to see this from the other side but also experience it at the same time. I doubt the young people realise that the athletes get nervous too, and this is often the first bit of common ground that we share with them.

The BP Young Leaders Programme 2014 is about the journey the young people take over the course of two years, however it is also a journey for each of the athletes involved. The athletes will all experience the difference they are able to make to the young people as well as the difference the young people will make to them. The Glasgow group I visited had been working with Sarah Clark, an athlete I know fairly well. It was great to not only to hear all the positive things they had to say about Sarah but also witness the communication and problem-solving skills she had been working on with them in action. It epitomised what they are becoming and the name of the programme: Young Leaders.

The next few months will be very interesting for the guys on the programme, and I can’t wait to see how much everyone is able to take from it.

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