Aspiring coach Lily Walker scooped the National Talent Camp Pat Duffy Young Coach Award at the Youth Sport Trust’s annual camp last month, standing out from coaches across ten different sports across the four-day camp. Lily’s ability to work hard, support and encourage those around her, and most importantly her passion for coaching and the impact sport can have on people’s lives shone throughout.
Here we catch up with Lily, as she blogs on her experience as a young coach and her hopes for the future…
“Hello! My name is Lily Walker; I have been a coach for around three years. I am in Year 12 and currently studying for my AS levels.
Getting in to coaching
I first got into coaching when I was around 13. I have been a competitive swimmer since I was nine and became interested in coaching through wanting to help others, especially younger swimmers to become the best they can be. I started by being a support in the water for the swimming lesson scheme at my local pool and this has progressed to moving to Harrogate District Swimming Club where I now both coach and swim.
Within coaching, I have worked with a range of ages but I currently coach those aged between nine and twelve. I personally enjoy coaching younger swimmers, who are just starting out on their journey as competitive swimmers, as it is always exciting to see how they learn, develop and hopefully, become confident competitors!
Why I coach
Coaching is great because you don’t have to commit to lots of sessions a week, often one or two can be plenty to influence your swimmers and make a difference within your community. This does depend on what opportunities are available in your local area and how much you want to get involved.
Coaching creates a huge amount of positivity in my life, as helping others to achieve their goals and ambitions is what makes it so rewarding.
Whether, it is helping someone to be able to complete a tumble turn for the first time or competing in their first gala, it's great to know that you are making a difference and getting them involved in sport. I always feel so proud to work with young people, who are always determined to try their best; feeling as though you have inspired someone is hugely positive.
National Talent Camp
Within coaching there are so many opportunities, one of which was the YST Talent Camp in December. It was a four day residential at Loughborough University, which brought together some of the best young athletes, coaches and officials from over ten different sports. Talent Camp was one of the best experiences of my life! I met so many amazing people and learnt so much about myself as a coach over the short time I was there. We attended many workshops through the camp some of which we learnt about our “coaching philosophy” and “moral compass” Overall, it was a fantastic experience and I would recommend it to any young coach!
Talent Camp was one of the best experiences of my life! I met so many amazing people and learnt so much about myself as a coach over the short time I was there.
My personal dream is ongoing: I want to help young people to learn, develop and achieve their dreams. This is my dream because seeing young people achieve their goals and ambitions inspires me to be a better coach. When coaching, I always try to better myself in order to better the young people and for me that is what coaching is all about. Being the best you can be to allow the young people you coach to be even better.
The year ahead
This year, I am planning to further develop my coaching knowledge as much as possible, through attending development days and learning about different coaches and their philosophies in order to develop my own. Hopefully, at some point, I am looking to complete my Level 2 Teaching Qualification, to allow myself to progress as much as possible.”
“My ‘Tip for the Top’ is to work hard, inspire others and most importantly, have fun!”