Often when people talk about working in sport or gaining experience, volunteering is one of the min topics that comes up. Volunteers are the lifeblood of sport in the UK and help to keep clubs and sports developing the next generation of athletes. In this post today we will look at why volunteering is important, how to get into volunteering and what you can look to get from it.
Volunteering, as the name suggests, is working for free so many people might think why bother volunteering if you’re not getting paid? Volunteers initially help to keep clubs and groups running as many clubs can’t afford to employ several Level 2 coaches but have plenty of participants wanting to take part. Your help as a volunteer can help keep the club that you started in going for the next generation of athletes and also help you to get plenty of experience in a very different role.
That is the next reason you might want to start volunteering. Experience in a role you would like to do is an essential part of your professional development now and volunteering can help give you that experience of coaching. Having this experience can make you more confident when you take the step into the official role as you will have learnt many good quality behaviours from much more experienced coaches. Having this experience will be invaluable when you take coaching courses in future and take sessions of your own.
How to Volunteer?
Here at Links we work with a lot of volunteers with many different levels of experience. Speaking to your local School Sport Partnership (Including us!) or your local council is the best place to start as all these places rely on volunteers to make what they do work. Let them know what experience you have and most importantly what you like doing because if you like doing it you’re more likely to keep doing it! These companies will help with some of the other details such as a CRB check if you are working with children but let them help you through this process as they’re the experienced ones.
Once you have managed to start getting some options to volunteer do as many as possible! This is a perfect chance to try some new things along side the ones you do like. When you are at the events or sessions offer your help as much as you can, this could be lugging equipment around, helping set up and helping pack away alongside helping with the coaching. never think a small job or bit of help will go unnoticed as these small jobs are the things the coaches could do without so they can keep their group engaged and make transitions between activities smoother.
A last good tip would be to always be the last person to leave. If you are at an event, stick around and help pack equipment away or to help see the participants off. This is a perfect time for you to get to know the people you would like to work for in the future and also to make a good impression. Anyone who shows enthusiasm like this is more likely to get asked back to future events as this a massive help to anyone and makes all the work we do run much more smoothly.
What do you get?
You may still be thinking what do you actually get from volunteering and whilst initially don’t get anything what you can potentially get is much better. Many of the partnerships and councils will help regular volunteers to get coaching qualifications so that they can begin to coach themselves. Once you are at a high enough level this may lead to paid work and other coaching courses so you can be deployed in different places for different sports. Having all that experience helps to get coaching jobs and also helps to make you a more rounded and experienced coach overall.
All of our full time staff here at Links started out volunteering in our local clubs and through building up our experiences alongside coaching courses has led to full time work. All the experiences we learnt through our time volunteering has helped to shape how we work now!
We hope this gives a little more reasoning to why volunteering is important not only to the sport community but also to your own personal development. If you have that spare few hours where you’d normally watch T.V consider going down to your local club and helping out! Help like that will never be forgotten and who know you might also meet some great people whilst you are there! They may help you achieve the next step in your career path or simply point you in the right direction.
If you are interested in volunteering with us here at Links, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see what we can do to help you!