How my pet projects became blossoming rugby-related businesses – Freddie Main

Oak & Black and Silver Fox Coaching have helped former assistant headteacher promote positive rugby values

Freddie Main with one of his Silver Fox Coaching groups.
Freddie Main with one of his Silver Fox Coaching groups.

A LOT can happen in five years!

Back in April 2019, I was an assistant headteacher (among other roles) and playing for Scotland at the Touch World Cup in Malaysia. I had worked really hard to get there, training up to eight times per week in the run up to the tournament, and felt on top of the world – but shortly after my return home I became ill.

Initially I thought it was a bout of flu, however even after the main symptoms had disappeared, my energy just never came back. To cut a very long story short, I had post-viral fatigue, or adrenal fatigue, and my body had basically reset itself.


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Unable to teach or maintain any form of steady schedule, I eventually took the decision to take voluntary redundancy in the summer of 2020, my belief being that I could not provide pupils with my full energy and attention.

Then, as my energy returned little by little, I started a couple of projects: Oak & Black, where I took joy from creating products using reclaimed materials; and Silver Fox Coaching, where I documented my journey through my illness and offered advice to my younger self in order to help others.

I allowed myself the freedom to let these evolve naturally and both have become what they are today.

Silver Fox is now a rugby coaching and mentoring service which enables me to pursue my passion for working with and supporting young people.

We are running a summer rugby camp from 29th to 31st July and Skills & Conditioning sessions throughout July for players who are keen to hit the ground running this coming season! Book here: www.silverfoxcoaching.com.

 

Freddie taking a Silver Fox Coaching session
Freddie taking a Silver Fox Coaching session

 

Meanwhile, Oak & Black has been built on the pillars of ‘Kindness’, ‘Creativity’ and ‘Sustainability’. We specialise in creating sustainable medals and awards for schools, clubs, businesses and charities to help them celebrate, acknowledge and inspire their people, as well as creating custom gifts and branded products which can be used for fundraising.

I’ve been so impressed with the number of clubs and schools taking a really positive and pro-active approach to sustainability: role modelling best practise and having the courage to change the narrative when it comes to awarding prizes.

Our wooden medals are fast becoming the go-to product for mini rugby tournaments, sports days and 7s tournaments, with the likes of Melrose 7s and Edinburgh City 7s opting for these. I’m delighted that the feedback from the players has been excellent.

Our range of awards has grown this year, with the offering of our new ‘Tower’ and ‘Shield’ awards providing more options for every budget.

 

From left to right: medium oak 'Block', 'Tower' and 'Shield' awards.
From left to right: medium oak ‘Block’, ‘Tower’ and ‘Shield’ awards.

 

We are incredibly proud to have recently provided ‘Tower’ awards, our current premium award, for the Scottish Rugby Writers Awards Dinner, Glasgow Warriors Awards Night, the UCI Mountain Biking World Cup and the Scottish Rugby National Community Club Awards Night, among others. Our oak ‘Block’ awards, which are available in a range of sizes, remain a steady favourite too.

To help clubs, schools and charities to raise funds we can provide custom-branded products that they can sell in their own shops or use as raffle and auction prizes. Our branded hip flasks have been popular as gifts at clubs since we introduced them earlier this year.

We continue to support amazing charities including the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and Wooden Spoon, among others. We even have a MNDF range on our website and are proud to partner with them at events like the Melrose 7s and the Royal Highland Show.

Another proud partnership we have is with Happiness is Egg-Shaped. Incredibly aligned in terms of values and positivity, it was a no-brainer to team up with Bruce Aitchison to provide a range of HIES branded products.

Growing steadily year by year, our client list is one we are really proud of and we look forward to welcoming more partners into our community in the coming season. Click HERE to download our schools and clubs brochure to access the best prices and see how others have used the products.

As I said at the top, a lot can happen in five years! And while it was never in my plans to be where I am right now, I believe that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and am excited for what lays ahead!

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Help tell the story of Murrayfield’s 100 years as the home of Scottish rugby

9 Comments

  1. It’s all comes to money? My son plays rugby and he only plays once a week and game day Sunday. He wants to become a pro rugby player but playing once week is not enough. So he taken up judo, he trains himself what he can do. As being single mum any rugby summer camps or any private coaching camps I can’t afford I barley get buy what I have. It should be SRU job to have camps through summer for people who can’t afford these in my opinion. My son would love to play rugby everyday but he can’t. It’s so frustrating that money is the key.

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  2. All credit to him but private coaching clinics like this make it all the more important the SRU improve the state school strategy and development officers back in those schools or the rugby attainment gap is only going to wider as those with the means pay for additional coaching.

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    • Nothing wrong with private coaching, it’s worth the sacrifice if you think your child will benefit from it.

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      • Nothing wrong with it at all. But its for those who can afford it and will only increase the differences in the haves and have nots.
        Rugby is already seen as an elitist sport, its hard enough for kids from certain areas to get recognition. Now with a group of kids with means able to access additional good quality coaching that gap is only going to increase.
        The SRU need to do more to support youth Rugby particularly in areas where there are no established clubs.

        • In an ideal world with a pot load of money, I would agree. But we spread the money thin and we lose focus.

          I would say this is part of the decline of youth rugby in Scottish Rugby (and the world at large) – there is an idealistic way we should be doing it. Rugby for all. Rugby for both sexes. Money should be spent on multiple sports.

          What happened was correct but reflective of society and sport in general now – In a book I was reading, there is a reference to a rowing team at a university. The female team was fully funded by the Uni but the male team was not as the money was being spent on other men’s sports so they had to go and fundraise themselves. Is that fair?

      • Yep it’s vital that we keep the oiks away from rugby so Scotland can keep winning all that silverware…..oh wait….

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