Luke’s Coaching Journey

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Hi, I’m Luke from Think Active, I currently coach Warwickshire Hawks men’s national league basketball team. I got involved in coaching by my parents moving me from down south to the Midlands when I was 15, and the school that I moved to didn’t have a basketball team in my year in year 11; basketball was a sport I played.

I wasn’t really a leader when I played, I was more of a role player. But when we didn’t have a school team, I asked the PE teacher; could I, you know, teach the school team? I was a little bit naughty and I think they saw that as a way of bringing out some leadership skills in me.

From that, I then ended up getting my level one qualification, and then a local coach, Dave Hemsley, saw me at the school, asked me to go to his club Rolls-Royce and I went there and started coaching.

In the meantime, I was contacted by the sports development manager for the council. They told me that there was a person that wanted to start a basketball club where I was and asked if I could team up with that person. I was 15 and I said, “yeah I’d love to assist them!” That person, Keith Morant, is still a mentor of mine, a friend of mine now, over 20 years later, and I just sort of took off from there and coaching has become a massive part of my life.

I was lucky enough to gain a full-time coaching job, a multi-skills community sports coach for Staffordshire, which I then moved to London and did the same sort of role. I was very lucky to have that role at 20 years old, because it’s quite hard to get a full-time coaching role especially in the early 2000s, and I’ve just coached a number of sports and been involved.

I love coaching because it’s really nice to interact with people, I like the challenge of working people out and trying to find out how to get the best out of them. Coaching is a bit like relationships in life, the crossovers there; all relationships are different, how you deal with various people is different, your principles can sort of be the same but how you actually interacted very different, and I really enjoy that, I really like working with people. I like leading people and working with groups and even individually. I like to see the little bits of progress, everyone can progress through being coached even if it’s just a little bit, and I just really love doing it.

To get involved in coaching, I would say that you probably need to volunteer at a club or local organisation. Just go down, get mentored, get a feel of what goes on, maybe be there for six months, and then start to think ‘is this for me? Yeah, I’d like to get my badges’ because you have to get your coaching qualifications they are really important. Then there are other qualifications alongside it; mental health, first-aid, and safeguarding, things that are going to help you and when you’re working with young people and adults to be a better coach.

I think is really important to learn from people. Qualifications give you the technical stuff, it’s great, but you can’t get the experience of working alongside someone and learning from them. I still learn now, I’m still in contact with a lot of my mentors, and I learned so much from watching them.

Coaching is great, I love it! We need more coaches; female, male, all different ages. It doesn’t matter who you are, contact your local organisation or club, and start volunteering!

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