I was recently nominated and shortlisted in the Volunteer of the Year category in the Active York Sport awards. This is the annual celebration and recognition event for sports in York. It was the first time the club has had any nominations and this year we had two. One for me and one for York Volleyball Club.
When I received an email saying I’d been shortlisted it was such a shock. I found it extremely humbling that club players, their parents, and the chairman, had together submitted a nomination on my behalf.
What did I do to be nominated?
I volunteer as a coach and team manager in volleyball. I am secretary of the York Volleyball Club, coach adults and juniors in the Yorkshire region and I was the England Cadet Girls Team Manager. When I have the chance, I also like to play.
My involvement has come from a love of volleyball and the impact it had on my growing up. The sport allowed me to learn how to work in a team, how to lead, how to win, and most importantly how to make a mistake with the resilience to dust myself off before trying again.
Playing volleyball gave me the opportunity to go away from home, to travel with my friends, and to grow as a person. It gave me freedom.
After a few years away from the sport, and a career doing something completely different, I was drawn back to volleyball and got into coaching. Returning as a coach is not something I did lightly. I was greatly encouraged by my team, and I’m so glad I persevered. Just like discovering playing all those years ago, coaching has given me the freedom to explore and develop my skills. I have also had the joy of introducing new players to the sport and to helping them grow, giving team members the opportunities I had and more.
So why do I give up almost all of my free time to volunteer?
For me it’s not so much about the volunteering; but it’s about my passion for the sport, and most importantly it’s about being in a position to be a positive influence and to provide a positive change for people. It’s also about helping players to develop, no matter their age, and about giving back to a sport that has given me so much.
My entire ethos was shared in an Instagram post by Will Smith recently, when he told us all to ; “Be the person you needed when you were younger.”
We all know that without certain individuals we wouldn’t be the people we are now. I want to make sure that all the people I work with, young and old, have someone watching their back and helping them achieve new goals.
How do I do it?
While on the court we work on all the technical and game skills needed for the sport, but we also work on temperament and how to approach challenges. I encourage all players to get involved with leading the team and building knowledge that they can take into their everyday lives. We all have different strengths and we can all learn from each other. That’s the beauty of it. I learn from my players as much as they learn from me.
“Amy is very keen on developing the player’s potential of becoming a confident member of the squad. She works out what is best for each player and brings the best out of them. Very approachable and helpful - most of all, a confident and brilliant coach.”RoxieYork Vipers Player