As a former scholar athlete at University of Plymouth, Woodroffe is well aware of the benefits and challenges of combining sports and studies – and he believes his experiences stand him in good stead to support his cohort of athletes.
He said: “I remember that being a student athlete really helped me to be organised and balanced because, if you weren’t on top of your studies, you couldn’t be on top of your training. So it has definitely influenced my career path and made me want to help student athletes achieve not only in sport but academically as well, so that they can have a healthy balance of both worlds.”
Having produced top Scottish athletes, including Commonwealth Games medallist Marc Austin, and World Universities champion Grant Sheldon, the programme has a reputation for developing international quality athletes. However, Woodroffe has broader ambitions for the centre, beyond just winning medals.
The former European-level triathlete said: “I don't see why we, at the University of Stirling, can't have the best triathlon training centre in the UK. That doesn't necessarily mean the best athletes or the best results, but I think it's about the attitudes, the behaviours, and us working collectively as a team with support staff and with the athletes.
“It's an individual sport but if we can feel like a team, pushing each other every day, motivating each other, I think, for me, that's what creates a really good centre.
“And if the athletes are continually turning up motivating each other, driving each other, it motivates me and makes me want to challenge myself and become a better coach. That's where I'd love to see this centre go and I don't see why it can't in Stirling.”
Speaking of Woodroffe’s appointment and the new-look programme, University of Stirling Head of Performance Sport, David Bond, said: “Having worked with Andrew indirectly in the past, we were well aware of his standing within the triathlon community, so to have him on-board is a real coup.
“His impact on the athletes is already apparent with a lot of positive feedback coming through and, with our enhanced partnership with Triathlon Scotland now in place, we’re really excited about what the future holds for triathlon at the University of Stirling.”
Fiona Lothian, Head of Performance at Triathlon Scotland, said: “Triathlon Scotland is absolutely delighted the University of Stirling has invested in a full-time coaching position at the Performance Centre and that Andrew, following three years working at Triathlon Scotland on the Coaching Futures programme supported by Sportscotland, has been appointed to the role. This provides Triathlon Scotland with a fantastic opportunity to develop a world-leading Performance Centre in partnership with the University of Stirling.”
Find out more about the University of Stirling Performance Triathlon Centre.