Gwyn Williams is a volunteer Assistant Coach on the Boys National Age Group Programme, alongside his role as Head of Hockey at Cheltenham College. He spoke to us about the reason he gives up his time and why he gets a buzz from being a volunteer in hockey...
Why do you think volunteers are so important in sport?
Volunteers encompass the fundamentals of sport, without them sport would not be the environment it is, or produce the characters we see performing at all levels whether it be local parks or on the world stage.
An individual athlete or team can be inspired by any volunteer, as they see their dedication and commitment displayed for the benefit of others. It can be the most smallest of things that give the biggest results, I do not think sport would influence as many if volunteers did not exist within the world.
How many people playing sport today did so because of the time given up by a volunteer, say for example an Under 8 football team.
What is the most rewarding part of your role?
For me it is being part of a group, seeing each player, coach and member of that group go through varying processes with our common goal in sight. The notion of just turning up to do a job is non-existent, we all want to be together as a group and interact with each other.
To me that is another important point, volunteering is not a job. It is not something I have become involved with to get through in life. I chose to be a volunteer and sacrifice time at home to be part of this group, witness the successes and lows, but always being there for each other.
When I retired from playing and missed the changing room environment, but now I think volunteering is one of the best places to build your knowledge and develop as a person.
The relationships you develop and stories stay with you for life, and this for me is why I volunteer to be part of Hockey Wales.
What has been a personal highlight for you as a volunteer?
For me it was seeing our current Under 18 captain win his first senior cap. Standing there and thinking in some small way I have been part of this process that has seen a schoolboy become an international athlete.
It is also seeing the processes he has gone through and that he has done them the right way and has become part of that group. He has been accepted in, because of who he is and what he has learnt in his experiences with us, his local club and school.
If you could give someone who is thinking of becoming a voluntary coach one piece of advice, what would it be?
Ask yourself what is your motivation for volunteering. Is it personal or is to ensure others benefit. Be sure you are doing it for the right reasons, as being a volunteer is about making sacrifices for others.
As part of Volunteers Week, Sport Wales have launched their #GiveToGain Campaign to help sporting volunteers thrive. Find out more about Give To Gain by watching this short video here.
Coaches are the cornerstone of talent development, and they play an invaluable role in inspiring and developing more, better, happier players. To help support coaches, Hockey Wales, in partnership with Great Britain Hockey, have developed an online resource site. Find out more about Hockey Hub and how to register, here.