Cumbernauld handball star spearheads talent drive

Handball coach Sarah Carrick and Handball Scotland chief Executive Stephen Neilson, both from Cumbernauld, with pupils at Kelvinside Academy.
Handball coach Sarah Carrick and Handball Scotland chief Executive Stephen Neilson, both from Cumbernauld, with pupils at Kelvinside Academy.

Cumbernauld handball player Sarah Carrick is spearheading a drive to develop young Scottish talent.

The Tryst 77 player and Great British international player and coach has been appointed to a coaching position at Kelvinside Academy.

She will help further a successful programme at the school which, since it was introduced four years ago, has brought 13 national titles and seen 15 pupils capped by Scotland.

As one of the first duties in her new post, Sarah took pupils to the home of Scottish handball this week and led them through a performance training session at Oriam, Scotland’s sports performance centre.

Last month, Oriam hosted an event to celebrate the performance of Scotland’s Olympians and Paralympians in Rio.

Interest in the sport at the school was sparked by an Olympic trip to London four years ago.

Teacher Fiona Kennedy explained: “We were all caught up in the emotion of the Olympics and were enthralled with the sport.

“I thought the pupils would quickly move on to something else! However, it has had massive staying power. Interest has spread and we now have more than 100 pupils taking part in handball sessions every week.

“As a GB international, Sarah has been to the very top of the game. Together we’ll hopefully convince even more pupils to discover the excitement and team spirit evoked playing handball.”

Having coached Scotland U16 and U17s, Sarah, who also coaches at GB U17 level, is familiar with a lot of the talent at the school.

She said: “The enthusiasm of pupils and teachers has been essential to the growth of handball. From the moment you walk into Kelvinside Academy you see that the sport is on equal footing with other, more traditional, sports.

“The enthusiasm from pupils is infectious and it has spread like wildfire through the school. It’s incredibly encouraging for the future of the sport.

“This is what the Olympics and Commonwealth Games are really all about; inspiring a passion within young people and getting them to try something new.”