Today marks the official committee handover day, so we caught up with NTU Sport staff members to hear their thoughts on this year, and what they are looking forward to next year!
Uttley, Lawrence (Participation Sports Development Officer):
Ok then chaps. It’s come to the end of the year for committee. Thought this would be a good time to reflect on how it’s gone. First of all from the newbies; Steve and Tom. Is this what you expected? What’s been the most challenging/ rewarding?
Drake, Steven (Outdoor Activities Sports Development Officer):
It has been a fantastic 9 months and I feel that I have had to learn a lot, but this challenge has been welcomed for the most part. One of the most enjoyable parts of my role has been working with clubs that I have not had much experience of doing myself, such as Rowing and Equestrian. I think the main challenge I have faced, is the minefield that is finance but I am slowly getting there.
Armstrong, Thomas (Coaching and Competitions Manager):
Since joining the University late last year it really has been a case of being thrown in at the deep end. Coming in half way through a year presents its own problems, getting to know my clubs and committees, and the best ways I can support them in the short term has been hard. However seeing the great work our students are doing to develop their clubs has shown the potential all our students have to exceed, not only on the sports field/hall/court, but off it too. I have really enjoyed engaging with my new club committees, seeing them set plans and targets for next year has me excited of the possibilities for next year! What has been particularly pleasing for me is how the committees have engaged with their coaches and the University in maximising the potential of their clubs. As my role involves a lot of performance focus, our climb up the BUCS table and improvement in team performances has been great to see and long may it continue.
Tom, I know you’ve mentioned a few times that getting to know committees half way through the year and seeing what their targets are has been tough. How is everyone looking for targets for next year now that we’ve completed all our development plans and budgets?
Targets wise, all clubs have set themselves goals to move the club on in every aspect. This includes membership, performance and community/student engagement. I’ve challenged them to be ambitious while also being realistic about what they can do in their time in position.
Any big plans in the pipeline that you’ve got a particular eye on? Steve – what about you?
Yes, I do Loz. I am looking at getting equestrian involved with Brackenhurst and using their state-of-the-art facilities. I am also looking at getting part of rowing programme moved to Lee Westwood for their S & C sessions. Our climbing team will be looking to get their highest BUCS points next year with the help of Molly Thompson-Smith (GB Climber Team Member) joining us for 2017-18. Do you have any plans Loz?
I genuinely don’t think there is a club that hasn’t got big ambitions next year. I’m personally looking forward to seeing Water Polo add a women’s team and how the men get on in a higher league. Boxing is also a sport I think we have a lot more to come from. With 6 out of my 19 presidents returning, I think it will mean changes can happen rapidly over summer. It will be interesting to see the students represented by a Non-BUCS student (Izzy Gregson) for the first time in my 8 years working and studying here. Definitely going to be strange without Matt around. Tom?
Anything away from performance you guys? For me I have a number of clubs setting out plans to get more girls into their sports including an American Football Flag team, while also getting some clubs engaging with local partners and communities. A number of my clubs have expressed a desire to do more charity and fund raising work this year with some great ideas to support local charities. There is also of course the performance aspect, which gets harder each year to improve on, but all the clubs are attacking this with a great attitude and commitment to their sport and the University.
Haha, the performance officer taking it away from performance goals. Ironic. This time last year, I set cheerleading a very tough target of making sure that anyone who wants to do cheer at NTU can, and I’m proud to say that they succeeded. There’s potential to add another team next year. My aim is to get all of my clubs to have a local club partner, providing avenues for both ends of the sport. Outside of sport, I want clubs to increase charity work. Athletics have been great teaming up with cricket to support BacZac the legacy. I’m really pleased clubs are starting to take on their own ideas around mental health and looking forward to my own personal development and pushing awareness even further.
All my clubs are looking to grow next year and some have set themselves a target of growing by more than 50%. Equestrian are looking to keep up their great volunteering programme, and Triathlon will be looking to take on the staff again with a Dryathlon to raise money for John Van Geest research centre. Surf and Wakeboarding are also looking to keep active throughout the winter months with trips away which would mean more student engagement with water sports, which, would be a first for these clubs.
So basically what you’re saying is ‘watch this space’. Haha. Anyway fellas. Just want to say what a great year it’s been. It’s been great meeting you both and looking forward to working with you and sharing ideas for next year. Saturday was the Sports Awards and it was great to see so many clubs there, getting the recognition they deserved. Here’s to a successful 2017/18!