Life As A Volunteer Coach; Could you take time off and come back? (part 8)

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 8, we wanted to address the issue that many women coaches face, and that is needing or having a long time away from coaching.  This time off could be anything form maternity leave, study leave, family commitments or work commitments; we want to know, how can female coaches have a long time away from coaching and then return where they left off – is this possible, or would you have to drop out of coaching altogether?  

We asked our coaches the following question:  Have you considered what the procedure would be if you needed a long break from coaching?


Emma – Football, UK

Emma Marlow Profile photo

In terms of having a replacement, I wouldn’t see many people within the club being able to step up.  We only have two other goalkeeper coaches in the women’s set up and they are with older teams so I don’t believe they would be able to step down and cover my sessions due to their other coaching commitments.  I don’t think there would be anyone to cover me as there was no one before me either.  I think if I did have to take a long period out, I could just step back in to my coaching role as there would be no one else to take it over.  There aren’t that many female goalkeeper coaches around as it is quite specialised.

Liane – Football, UK
I don’t know, it would be difficult to come back because the girls change so much at that age, but I would imagine it would be OK to come back.  The club are very keen to get more women involved with the game and coaching, so they would be very supportive of any time off.  But I think at this age, the kids are used to having different people, so it would be fine I think.




Robyn – Ultimate Frisbee, USA


I have never even considered that. My husband and I aren’t ready to have kids yet, so maternity leave is not a consideration yet. On the youth side of things, there is such a good structure that when I am ready to walk away there will be others to step up and lead that team.
With the college team, I think that there will always be women in Madison to assist. I am never too worried about it to be honest because I think there would always be people willing to help and if not, at the University level, I can see the captains stepping up and taking the lead.


Wendy – Hockey, UK 
Wendy RussellI did think this at the start of the season; I want to do my Level 3 course, but if this club can’t fund me, I need to move to a club that can…but then it means leaving my ladies or junior team and I am the only one able to do it!  They won’t have a coach – but for me to grow as a coach, I might have to leave the club.Only this year I have found an assistant who turns up every now and again, but they don’t commit.  If I wasn’t there, I don’t know what would happen!



Michelle – Cycling, UK

MICHELLE PAGETIf long term we would perhaps have to look at a replacement coach, hoping that support could come from British cycling or from other local coaches 





Maha – Roller Derby, UK/USA
MahaI’m not really sure.  I think probably I would be replaced?  I’m sure I’d be welcomed back onto the coaching team, but it would probably depend who was doing the job after I left and whether they wanted to keep it.