|Tonbridge Athletic Club, like most amateur
sports clubs in the area, is dependent on the dedication and skills of many
voluntary coaches, helpers and officials to keep the club in existence and
hopefully moving forward. The Club currently have a dedicated and enthusiastic
group of coaches and supporters, but as the numbers attending the club
increases and the standards improve, more parents, ex-athletes or sports
enthusiasts are needed to join the team. The Club caters for athletes from as
young as nine years old to adults and for the full range of athletic events, so
there is a diverse range of help required.
Tonbridge AC is an ambitious
club and in the last few years has experienced considerable success,
particularly in the younger age groups, which is now starting to feed through
to senior level. Teams and individuals are competitive at National level where
they have won National championships, with athletes representing England
Schools' teams or gaining other international representation. The Club is now
looking to build on that success.
Membership numbers are currently at an
all time high, with just short of five hundred in total at the current count.
The growth is creating both new opportunities and also some difficulties, so
more volunteers are needed to provide the structure, that will enable the club
to continue to develop. Mark Hookway, who sits on both the club's management
and coaching committee explains:
"Not so long ago
the club was a lot smaller in numbers, but with the achievements in recent
years and the publicity it has generated, more and more youngsters have shown
an interest in what we do. In many ways we are bucking the trend, which says
that teenagers are losing interest in sport.
that unless we try to get more volunteers, we won't be able to either sustain
the growth or fully support those that have the ability and desire to go on to
greater things. We particularly need more coaches, so that we can offer
athletes the attention needed to fulfil their potential. For example, we have
some good young athletes in the throws and jumps events, but not enough adults
able to give the coaching commitment to them. Full coaching training and
qualifications are available and we'd only need a handful of people to achieve
a huge amount. Personality and a desire to make a difference count much more
than any previous experience or technical ability.
It's not just about coaching though, as there is
always a need for other help to provide an infrastructure for any successful
club. Currently, we are planning courses for a number of parents to qualify as
officials, whilst we also need help with our introductory group for nine to
eleven year olds. Then there are roles like the development and updating of our
web site with news and information, the control of all the club kit, fund
raising and the like.
We believe that we have a good
momentum at the club, but if there were just a few more people out there, who
could add their expertise or enthusiasm to our team, it could set us up for a
very bright future.
I'd appeal to anyone who could help
us or any sports club in the area, to consider if they are the type of person
who could help with any of the roles described and, if so, put themselves
If you want more information or want to discuss any
of the issues raised you can email Mark by clicking or you can phone