Our volunteer of the month for July and our final one of the academic year is Jessica Fullagar. International Business student Jess has been part of our Coach Scholar programme for the last two years, coaching within the triathlon club. She is also a Sport Scholar, balancing her studies and coaching with her own triathlon training!
Which volunteering programme are you on & what does your role involve?
I’m on the Coach Scholar programme. This means I get to coach some of the sessions of the triathlon society I am part of. As we do three different sports, I’m lucky to coach swim, bike or run sessions, which gives me the opportunity to expand my experiences and skills due to the different environments and skill sets required.
How much time do you commit to volunteering per week and how do you manage this alongside your studies?
I tend to commit two to three hours a week. I fit them in by choosing which days I am most available and able to commit time regularly. I find that I get the most out of coaching for myself and the athletes when I coach the same sessions weekly. It means I get to work consistently with them and see the progress.
What made you want to volunteer?
I find I really enjoy being able to help others. I felt really lucky being in such a great society and wanted to be more involved across the different squads and be able to give back. It’s quite exhilarating when an athlete feels like they are progressing, and you have been a part of that progress.
What is the best thing about volunteering?
Being able to help others enjoy a sport and develop their skills feels really rewarding. I also really enjoy creating more friendships and developing my self-confidence.
What are the challenges?
Athletes are all different so knowing what support to give to each can vary and therefore be difficult to judge at times. Also, I find that I was surprised at how different it is to be on the coaching side and trying to explain the aim of each exercise and session was harder than I anticipated. It gets easier every week and I’m now more confident in leading a session and sometimes writing a session.
Would you recommend volunteering to others?
I would absolutely recommend volunteering. Essentially you get to enhance your skills with friends and help out at the same time. It’s a great experience!
How does it feel to win Volunteer of the Month?
I feel very lucky and grateful. I’m fortunate to have been able to learn coaching skills from some coaching scholars who had started a few years before me and that definitely helped me develop as a coaching scholar.
Suzzi Garnett, Sports Volunteering Officer, University of Leeds said;
“Jess has been a valued part of our Coach Scholar programme for the last two years. Her background as an athlete has enabled her to really add value to the triathlon coaching programme at the university and we have been so impressed with her commitment alongside her own intensive training. As a coach, she balances fun and enthusiasm with a demand for quality from athletes perfectly. Thank you Jess for your time!’ ”
Image from vspimages
If you are interested in finding out more, check out all of our volunteering opportunities.