Life as a Volunteer Coach; Who would cover your session? (part 7)

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 7 we were keen to find out what happens when a volunteer coach is off sick, or unable to attend their coaching session for a short time?  Who covers their session, what is the procedure for ‘calling in sick’ and how are the players / athletes affected if there is no one to help out?  We asked our coaches; Is there a system in your club for someone to cover your session?


Emma – Football, UK

Emma Marlow Profile photoNot really.  Until I came along, they never really had anyone to do the role.  If I was not able to attend, they probably wouldn’t get the training.  Every other week I will be with a player and if I am not there one of the weeks, she wont get any training for effectively 4 weeks.  So it is down to me and if I cant make it, I do feel quite guilty.  I will ensure that when I am there the next time we have an even more productive session as I have to make up for not being there.



Liane – Football, UKLiane

Well, the head coach Dan, started the season without an Assistant Coach, so he will be used to not having one if I wasn’t there.  If neither of us where there, the other Under 12 coaches would cover us – because we are such a big club there is always cover if needed.  Between us we can manage that quite well.






Robyn – Ultimate Frisbee, USA


My assistant coach works for a non profit organisation and she works with people with special needs – so her availability at practices depends on her work. Some days she can attend and some days she cant so if she cant attend either, we rely on our captains of the teams to run practices. I try to send out what we will be covering within the practice before hand anyway so everyone is on the same page – so I may need to modify the practice plan if the captain is running it.




Wendy – Hockey, UKWendy RussellIt’s called nagging!  So for example yesterday I was supposed to coach but I had to work at a parents evening.  The session does get covered, but its a lot of work to get it covered because you have to nag!  Normally I would just do it – I would rather feel ill and do it!





Michelle – Cycling, UKMICHELLE PAGETWe have a team of coaches and we try to have a floating coach so we are always able to run the sessions if one of us is ill







Maha – Roller Derby, UK/USAMahaWe have three lead coaches in total and are training up two new coaches who will also hopefully be able to lead soon.  And we have coaches from other leagues that we can call in as guest coaches, which is really helpful.  I’ve never had to cancel a session for being ill.  We might have to change how the session is run or focus on something a bit more generic in terms of skills, but we have a really big support network.  Roller derby is a massive community and we rarely let each other down.