‘How I got into coaching’ – 5 tips for getting involved with a local sports team

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For the last 6 years, Dave from Manchester has been giving his time to grassroots girls’ football. It’s not always easy leading a squad – and every week Dave dedicates 8 hours to the under 14s. But if you’re up for a challenge and want to try giving #BagsMore to your community for yourself, Dave has got a few top tips to help you get started…

1. Just say ‘yes’

Dave’s girls’ football team already existed before he started running it. But when the existing coach went to university, the team was in danger of folding for good.

‘A bloke came up to me at a training session and said “Do you fancy running the team?”’ explains Dave. ‘I thought “This’ll be fun, I can do this” and just went for it.’

2. Get yourself qualified

Dave went on a Level 1 coaching course to kick things off. ‘I got into coaching because I watched my daughter play football,’ he says. ‘In a way that’s how a lot of Dads get involved – they see the girls playing and they want them to improve!’

‘My course ran over 4 days and includes your training, your welfare and your DBS check,’ he explains. ‘Then at the end of the 4 days I was assessed and got my badges.’

Many clubs will either subsidise or pay for courses like these. So when you sign up for your qualifications, find out whether your club can help with the costs. And as you’re volunteering with kids, you need to make sure you pass all the necessary checks, too. 

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for subs – or even sponsorships

‘The referees, the pitches and the training gear aren’t cheap,’ warns Dave, ‘But lots of clubs cover those costs through subs, so it doesn’t have to come out of your own pocket. Plus, I managed to persuade work to sponsor the girls’ kits too!’

4. Make the most of online tools
‘I love doing all the on-field stuff, but not so much the admin,’ confesses Dave. ‘But the FA has a website called Full Time that my club uses that’s really good – that’s how you arrange the games and book the pitches. It’s all automated.’

5. Always remember why you started in the first place

‘I love it because I’m out there running about with the kids, teaching them. I’m doing something I love that I’m passionate about, and I’m passing my knowledge onto the girls.’

‘One of my favourite moments ever was when they won the cup final. Seeing the looks on the girls’ faces made it all worthwhile. And when you lift the trophy in front of a large crowd, the feeling is immense.’