The PBSL’s Sports Industry Interviews series sees us chat with experts from across the industry. They’ll be sharing their experiences of working in sport, advice on navigating the industry and what they think the future holds for their sector.
In this edition, we talk to Strategic Advisor Dave Reddin. Dave has spent 30 years working in elite professional sport delivering strategies for the FA, British Olympic Association and The British & Irish Lions to name but a few.
How did your career in sport get started?
Through an initiative launched between Loughborough University, where I had just finished a masters degree, & East Midlands sports council; It was an early investment into the provision of scientific led support to regional sports teams. I was lucky enough to get the position, based at Loughborough and under the leadership of Rod Thorpe and Rex Hazeldine, and it allowed me to gain a huge amount of practical experience in a short period ……..and make lots of mistakes!
What do you see as your career highlights whilst working in the sports industry?
I’ve been very lucky to have been involved in some high profile events over the years. Some highlights I’d pick out are winning the Rugby World Cup in 2003 as part of an amazing management team who’d been together for 5 years. Being on an open-top bus driving through London with apparently 1million people on the streets with their faces full of pride was simply amazing. Being In a bar in New Zealand on tour with England Rugby and hearing that London would host the 2012 Olympic games, and then going on to work for Team GB in the games and being in the Olympic village supporting athletes for the whole period – such a feeling of national pride. Being part of the team helping to transform the fortunes of English international football and the mixed emotions standing on the pitch in Moscow after the Football World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia in 2018. A mix of huge disappointment that we hadn’t managed to progress but watching a full stand of English supporters giving the team a standing ovation, having fallen back in love with the National team after a significant period of disconnection.
What do you think are some of the upcoming challenges people working in the sports industry will have to face?
For many in performance roles, the uncertainty of funding and availability and security of positions as a result of COVID will be foremost in their minds and how to navigate a potentially very competitive employment market as a result. In this market, finding support for your professional development and progression will be more important than ever.
When it comes to staff welfare, what would you like to see implemented across the industry?
Welfare is so linked to balance and perspective. Having a supportive network of people and services can be so important to wellbeing & I’d love to see the identification of a mentor or formal professional support as being an employment essential across the industry.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to reach a senior level within the industry?
Have a plan and develop a network! Think ahead to the skills you believe you will need in the more senior roles and actively work to gain experience – both formally and informally in these areas. Secondly, shortcut the mistakes to doing this by networking with those who have already gone along the path – good senior people are often willing to give up some time to talk or point you in the right direction and sites like Linkedin as well as bodies like PBSL are great hubs to access people.
How do you think you would have benefitted from having access to a service like the PBSL when you first started working in the sports industry and as your career progressed?
The access to a network of people and opportunities for training and development would have been amazing. I had very little formal training and development opportunities – most of mine was experiential and whilst that was amazing, it did leave gaps at times which I had to work hard to fill. A body like PBSL can help accelerate development by acting as a hub for accessing the right information quickly by enabling connections to people who already know.
Who has been the most influential person in developing your career in sport and why?
Three people actually. Rod Thorpe and Rex Hazeldine at Loughborough for creating an amazing development environment for young practitioners & Clive Woodward for inspiring leadership and being the lightning rod for someone trying to change things and being prepared to take the flack when things weren’t going well.
What’s your best sporting memory/event you’ve attended?
Rugby World Cup final 2003
What’s on your sporting bucket list?
Master golf final round.
Monaco Grand Prix.
Tour de France Alpes D’Huez