Education: University of St Andrews (Psychology)
Coaching and volunteering: Sports Participation Officer at University of St Andrews
Club: University of St Andrews Basketball Club
Hobbies: I enjoy hanging out with my friends and doing things in the outdoors like hiking and camping!
Proudest achievement: Getting into St Andrews University.
Future aspirations: To graduate with a post-grad in physiotherapy and work abroad to increase healthcare access in developing countries.
Interesting fact: I have two very different sized ears!
Q&A with Fiona
What sport(s) are you involved in and what is it that you love about it?
I’ve been playing basketball for around 10 years now, and still love is as much as the first time I played. I love the pace of basketball, and how quickly a game can change, but primarily the team aspect - how every single player has an equal role and responsibility and the team comradery that comes from this is awesome! I currently play for my uni and I’m very excited to get back into coaching over the summer as it’s been far too long!
What motivated you to be part of the Young People’s Sport Panel?
I have always said I wanted to make change and make a difference as I think a lot of young people do, and was honestly fed up of saying it, so I applied in the hope that it would be a stepping stone to future opportunities but never thinking I’d actually be successful. Having been successful I can say that the YPSP is by far the most influential, hard-working and dedicated project I have been a part of and it has allowed me to begin to make the change I have always wanted to.
What do you think of the YPSP so far and what work are you involved in?
So far it has been absolutely fantastic! It’s really inspiring to be involved so heavily in decision making and the constant communication between panel and staff, and then even the wider sport community and sportscotland is really helpful and encouraging! I’m fortunate enough to be part of the Inclusion focus group, which I’m very excited about already as I think it will give me an excellent platform to make a real difference!
What do you think are (some of) the big challenges facing young people in Scotland today?
One big challenge I s notice both as a coach and player is body image. This applies for both males and females and works both ways of someone being ‘too skinny’ or ‘too muscular’. It’s really unsettling and upsetting to see talented young people focus more on the image they’re giving off rather than the sport they could be excelling at. Another problem I think is attitude to balance of sport. It is uncommon for young people to perform at a high or even competitive level in more than one sport. This is partly due to the attitude of some coaches or clubs and the sporting culture in Scotland. I think young people should be encouraged and supported in pursuing multiple sports, by clubs, coaches, and particularly schools. In my view, playing multiple sports is as beneficial as taking multiple science subjects, or multiple arts subjects! We should be striving to encourage our young people in developing the skills to balance all these things, and assuring them that sport is a valuable outlet.
How do you think sport can help support young people in Scotland?
Where to begin! It teaches the skills of time management, teamwork, communication, discipline, people management, dedication and commitment, to name a few! Sport can be a safe haven, it can be a distraction, it can be a structure. It can be for a mental break, a social opportunity or simply a physical benefit. It teaches so many valuable life skills that can be translated and applied to any walks of life. It can also be extremely beneficial as a way to meet like-minded people, and develop yourself as a young person under the discipline and shape of certain sports, teams, structures etc.
If you could change one thing about sport in Scotland, what would it be?
I think I would like to work most on sport in schools to create a more progressive structure in high school PE, as well as creating more routes for pupils into more diverse and multiple sports at a level beyond high school. I genuinely believe there is a sport for everyone and everyone can benefit from sport and I would love to work with high schools to help pupils find, maintain and develop their physical activity, both with and without their school.
Is there a role model who inspires you? What is it about them that you admire?
I actually don’t think I have one role model, I definitely draw different things from different people and athletes. Someone who always inspires me though is Billie Jean King! I also think Roger Federer is an excellent role model for sportsmanship and respect for your sport, and as a young person I think Naomi Osaka is awesome as well. Funnily enough, tennis isn’t my sport! For basketball, as basic as it is, Michael Jordan’s attitude to competition, basketball, drive and teamwork really inspires me as well.