Sharon and Gary Bassett run A-Star Sports in Chester and its surrounding areas. They employ two full-time and two part-time coaches, delivering regular classes to 600+ children every week. Having worked as an HR Director and Marketing Director respectively, Gary and Sharon changed careers in their mid-30s to pursue a dream of sports coaching for children. A few years in, they joined forces to make a team of six – the co-founders of A-Star Sports.
On launching the business, Sharon and Gary joined Tracy Jones in Calon FM’s Wrexham studio to talk about their local A-Star Sports coaching business, the development of the national A-Star Sports brand and the opportunities available to become an A-Star Sports franchise owner. Listen to the interview on our You Tube channel. You can also see our holiday club as featured on ITV's Granada Reports there, too!
Visit the Chester & surrounding areas page.
Kevin Key – North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire & surrounding areas and Dumfries & Galloway
Kevin Key, a co-founder of A-Star Sports, became a sports coach after a knee injury which ended his promising (according to him) football career. He began coaching youngsters at his local football team Mid Annandale FC, and had spells coaching children in America and Australia. And it wasn’t long until the mighty Queen of the South secured his prolific coaching talents for an undisclosed record fee!
It soon became apparent that coaching was Kevin’s passion and, in 2001, he became a full-time sports coach – developing knowledge and understanding in a number of sporting disciplines. During this time, he has coached thousands of children of all abilities, instilling in them his enthusiasm, passion and love of sport.
In their spare time, Kevin and his wife Caroline unwind by raising their three young children Erica (2), Heath (1) and Marilyn (1).
Kevin reckons the secret to sports coaching is getting to know each child and discovering what motivates them, he says: “I’ve been very lucky with the support I’ve received from the parents of the children I coach. They’ve been a great way of making other parents aware of the benefits A-Star Sports can bring to children”.
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Leo runs A-Star Sports in Colchester & NE Essex and took on the challenge of an A-Star Sports franchise after making the decision that his life was ready for a new direction. As a top-level manufacturer, Leo was on the point of being made a director at a household name kitchen furniture maker when he went on holiday to Sweden with his young family and came to the conclusion that sports coaching was where he saw his future.
He said: "I'd been coaching eight-year-olds with my son's football team and it started to dawn on me that I really loved it. I got so much out of it that, in the end, the decision made itself, even though it was so major. My decision was between carrying on doing what I had been doing for years, working in the corporate world and stressing about achieving targets, or opening horizons for children and promoting their well-being. I also think it is important for children to have appropriate male role models.
"In my football teams there can be a danger that, because the team is finite, some children will be excluded. With A-Star Sports, there are 10 different disciplines, so children have a huge range of choice about activities in which they can excel."
Visit the Colchester & NE Essex page.
Steven Cairney runs A-Star Sports in Dundee and Angus. Skilfully assisted by his wife Michelle with the administration of the business and his assistant coach Gemma Prophet, Steven is currently coaching 300+ children at his weekly classes.
Steven graduated from the University of Abertay Dundee with BSc (Hons) Sport, Health & Exercise in 2005. Drawing on experiences gained when working with Dundee United Football Club and his background in swimming teaching, Steven decided to embark upon a sports coaching career. Six years on, Steven still loves what he does as much as the day he started and takes great pleasure from working with children on a day-to-day basis.
Visit the Dundee & Angus page.
Gary Slater runs A-Star Sports in Perth & Kinross and a large part of East Fife. He employs his wife Julia to run his office and a full-time sports coach, Gemma Prophet. As a team they deliver regular classes to 250+ children every week including sessions for private nurseries and fantastic fun-filled birthday parties within the above regions. Having worked as a Business Banking Manager and latterly an Asset Finance Manager, Gary changed his career as a result of redundancy from the banking / finance sector in 2008 to pursue a very rewarding and fun career of sports coaching for children. Gary has never looked back from those worrying days in 2008 and now lives and breathes A-Star Sports – enthused in his career as never before.
Visit the Perth & Kinross / East Fife page.
Brian Droudge – Edinburgh South & East, Midlothian and East Lothian + Edinburgh North, West & surrounding areas
Brian runs A-Star Sports in Edinburgh South & East, Midlothian and East Lothian as well as Edinburgh North, West and surrounding areas, and employs assistant coaches as part of his team. On leaving school at 16, Brian spent the next 15 years working for large life assurance companies. He has also played semi-professional football since the age of 18, as well as managed and coached at various clubs. Brian has been coaching sports to primary aged children for seven years now and has a great pride in seeing their skills and love of sports grow and develop through his weekly classes.
On describing his A-Star Sports experience, Brian says: “A-Star Sports is a brilliant concept for the children, and for me. Influencing their development on a weekly basis gives me a great buzz, job satisfaction and a very positive feeling about the work I do.”
Visit the Edinburgh South & East, Midlothian and East Lothian page.
Bringing the WOW factor to North Wales and Shropshire, Adrian Dunn launched his A-Star Sports business in February 2013. Adrian plans to expand quickly throughout Wrexham, Oswestry and Whitchurch. His team will initially run classes in St Margaret's Church and Community Hall (Garden Village) and Kenyon Hall (Holt) – both in Wrexham – before branching out into the other towns and villages in his franchise area on the England-Wales border.
As a former dairy farmer and youth worker, Adrian has been involved in running youth clubs, the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and organising a wide variety of sports activities. After an injury at work led him to re-think his career, he went back to university in Wrexham and graduated with the ambition to realise his dream of working for himself. Adrian explains his plans: "I have the WOW factor already in this franchise. Now I am determined to bring it to other children in new areas. As the parent of a two year old myself, I am very passionate about children getting involved in sport from a young age and keeping them active and healthy."
Visit the Wrexham, Oswestry & Whitchurch page.
Read more about how Adrian got started with A-Star Sports - 'Starting with the WOW factor' - on our blog.
Vikki and Richard Mann run A-Star Sports in Cheltenham & Cotswolds. Vikki has a background in childcare, having worked in nurseries and ran her own successful business as a childminder and Richard is a former Project Manager in the financial services industry.
Richard has played badminton, tennis and squash at county junior level and has had a string of successes in marathons and triathlons, including representing Great Britain in the European Long Distance Triathlon Championships and competing in long distance Ironman triathlons.
Vikki says: "Between us, with Richard's sports experience and my qualifications with children, we are bringing an ideal set of skills to A-Star Sports classes. Having worked closely with children for many years, I know how important a sporting start is in life, to help create a healthy and balanced outlook, and I am sure that with Richard's sporting track record, he will be a wonderful role model for them."
Visit the Cheltenham & Cotswolds page.
Callum has been coaching children with A-Star Sports’ co-founder Kevin Key for many years and is passionate about children’s development through sport. It's from this experience that Callum decided to take the next step to become a franchise owner himself and manage a team of his own.
Callum explains: "I've been involved in children's sports coaching from a very young age and have additional experience within the private sector as a personal trainer. It's always been an ambition of mine to run my own business and having watched A-Star Sports develop and been an integral part of its growth locally, I feel that I'm in a fantastic position to get the most out of the children I coach, develop the business to its full potential and really enjoy doing it."
Visit the East & West Dunbartonshire and surrounding areas page.