Life as a Volunteer Coach; how could your governing body help you? (part 6)

There are thousands of us around the World that give up countless hours each week to coach our beloved sports.  Governing bodies are continually aiming to recruit more male and female coaches and rely heavily on the commitment of these coaches to volunteer and develop their sport at the grassroots levels.   In our new feature ‘Life as a Volunteer Coach’, we explore the ups and downs, the demands and the glory of being one of these unpaid sports coaches.  We asked 7 coaches from the UK and the US all kinds of questions ranging from how much time they spend coaching, what sacrifices they make in their everyday life’s and how much coaching costs them each month.  Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing their very honest answers with you all.

It would be great to hear about your experiences also, so please join in by adding your own answers in the comment boxes below!

To meet the 7 coaches sharing their stories CLICK HERE



In part 6 of our questions, we asked our volunteer coaches;  How could your club and or governing body support you more with your coaching?


Emma – Football, UK

Emma Marlow Profile photoThe club are doing a fantastic job and they do a lot for the coaches.  We all get tracksuits, new bags etc so we feel part of the club.  Governing body wise, I want to take my level 2 qualification, but it is so expensive and takes up a lot of time,  I will need around 10 days off work.  It is a lot of annual leave to take and a lot of money.  It’s quite hard to try and find bursaries or to find where someone can help me.  So the FA need to make it easier to find out where the help is.  Its quite hard through the FA website to find that information.



Liane – Football, UK

LianeI think the club has lots of opportunities to watch, talk and learn from each other.  We have good links with the mens clubs too.  I would say that if I asked for something, I know I would probably get it.  I feel very supported within the club, other coaches always help out with drills etc.

I do feel that the FA course that I went on was such a basic level, there is definitely more scope even at that level to give you more detail and more information.  You do one drill, practice it and then do a final assessment.  As a teacher, I felt there was a lot of wasted time over the three sessions and I think that those courses are too basic…even at a level 1 they could have done more to prepare people, like have a go at delivering a variety of different sessions.  I think they should separate those who have had coaching experience to those that haven’t – so I was learning with a 16 year old boy and I am a 32 year old teacher, so I know a lot more about basic common sense!  There was less focus on football, and more about child control.

The adults who did have experience or who had kids complained they were there for 4 hours and not learned anything new.  So I think they could focus more on football – and then tell me where to find more information about drills.  We got taught some, but what if you players don’t need to do those drills, they need to learn others? Where do I go to find that information?  I didn’t feel as prepared after my level 1 qualification as i thought – hat wasn’t anything to do with the tutors, it was a lack of content.



Robyn – Ultimate Frisbee, USA

rOBYN PHOTOI have been talking to a lot of other female coaches from Ultimate teams and it is really interesting to hear of the different levels of University support in terms of facilities and finding availability. I wish our University could give us the indoor facility more often or provide us with another indoor facility. They won’t let us use things like the badminton courts, or the racket ball courts, even if there are no students using them. I wish they supported us a bit more like the other universities do.

Also, during the winter, the teams have to travel quite far to attend outdoor tournaments (because its so cold here in the winter) sometimes driving from 8 to 20 hours – so thats unfortunate that the weather impacts the sport so much. And it can be really expensive.

I think that USA Ultimate do a pretty good job at supporting the athletes and coaches especially in the women division. So when a new women’s team start up, you can apply for a start up package and you can start having practices without having to invest in a lot of money.

With the youth environment, we are lucky because we have the second largest summer league in North America. And the governing body for this is really great at supporting youth growth in terms of paying for tournament fees and help us to get practice etc.



Wendy – Hockey, UK

Wendy RussellMy club has just employed an ex-England coach who is trying to get the club to support me by funding me to go to my next level of coaching qualification.  The club is trying to help, but they don’t have any money and funding it difficult to find! Because it’s an amateur club so people find it hard to fund me.

Different clubs have different funding.




Michelle – Cycling, UK

MICHELLE PAGETI feel that I am well supported by both my clubs and also the governing body British Cycling, offering lots of support guidance and training when I need it.






Maha – Roller Derby, UK/USA

MahaMy club is trying a hard as it can to keep things running.  Luckily I’m pretty self-sufficient.  It would be great to have financial support or subsidy to attend coaching workshops or courses,  I would love more hours with my team, and I would appreciate if the club made sure not to schedule my training time at a time that clashes with my coaching.  (It’s really the last one that rankles).   But overall, we all work together, we keep the communication as open as possible, and we make things work.



Jill – Running / Cycling, UK

Jill eccelstonThey already support any development courses I wish to attend and purchases any resources or kit we need.  Our local support officer from our national governing body Engalnd athletics is looking to help me become a mentor this year and also train to guide visually impaired runners