This month we’re taking a look behind the scenes at the work done by the army of volunteer coaches that Kibworth Town Juniors are lucky enough to call upon. I coach the under 9 Panthers, and caught up with Steve Harrhy, coach of the under 8 Lions, for a chat.
Roger: So Steve, how did you get into coaching at Kibworth?
Steve: My son Leo was training with the U6s and Jamie Munro was looking for some extra help at the time as the numbers were growing, so I volunteered.
Roger: Much like myself. I went along to drop my son off, hung around on the touchline, and before long was helping to run the sessions. Did you have any previous experience?
Steve: Yes, I’ve coached various sports in my early 20s, including Football and Cricket.
Roger: I’d never coached before, at any level. Was it something you always wanted to get involved in?
Steve: No, not at the time but I couldn’t find many reasons not to get involved.
Roger: How much time does it take up?
Steve: Saturday morning is training and Sundays are matches for the U8 boys. This season I’ve got involved with my daughter Izzy’s U10 team and they train on Monday evenings and play on Sundays. Summer tournament season as well, which all the kids and coaches really enjoy.
The U8 boys have 8 volunteer coaches now and that certainly takes the pressure off to prepare and attend training and games every week. Behind the scenes preparing training sessions and arranging fixtures is also time consuming, however we have had a parent volunteer take the role of Fixture Secretary which has really helped organise all of the coaches.
Roger: What’s the best thing about the role?
Steve: Creating memories and seeing the boys and girls develop. The smile when they score a goal, make a pass, a block or a save. The banter already at that age, you can have a laugh with them all. The coaching is the fun bit.
Roger: Do you get much support from other coaches?
Steve: Absolutely. The coaching team with the boys and the girls is great, and we all draw on the experience of the older age groups’ coaches.
Roger: And what about the parents?
Steve: All the coaches except one are parent volunteers. We have a really supportive group of parents, always available to help and step in if required, generous sponsorship and genuinely enjoy seeing their children having positive experiences on the football pitch.
Roger: I’d agree. You hear about poor behaviour on the touchlines, but my experience so far has been nothing but positive - including the opposition teams too. The FA ‘Respect’ initiative is a big factor.
Roger: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you whilst coaching? Mine was a game last year, where we kicked off for the second half and one of our players set off on a mazy run past several defenders before smashing the ball just over the crossbar. The problem was, he’d forgotten that we’d changed ends at half time and they were our defenders and our crossbar!
Steve: Not really coaching but, our traditional end of season water fight against the U11 boys is great fun. This year we won convincingly with over 30 water guns and 100s of water balloons. They need to up their game this season.
Roger: That reminds me, my lot will be joining in that one this year. You have been warned.
When I started I thought it was to give something back after benefitting from all of the help and advice I’d received from my coaches as I went through youth football, but the truth is that I love being out there with the kids in all weathers, and get a real pleasure from being involved. What would you say to anyone else who’s thinking about joining the club?
Steve: Do it! It’s a great club that has grown massively over the last few years. The coaching is improving year on year and I genuinely believe that those involved want do the best they can for the kids and not just go through the motions.
Roger: Thanks Steve, great to hear from you. Good luck for the rest of the season.