Oliver Hooper – taking his passion for sport further

Passionate about sport? Then get involved! Coaching is a great way to express your passion and be actively involved. There is no better example of what’s possible when you put your mind to it than 1st4sport Qualifications learner Oliver Hooper, someone who’s taking their passion for sport further by climbing the coaching ladder, completing a total of 13 1st4sport qualifications and forging a successful career in the process.

Why did you want to become a coach?

My initial motivation came at school when I was studying for my PE A level, and a teacher got me into netball. As I progressed, the more coaching-related activities I did, the more I enjoyed it, which led me to looking into what opportunities were available.

Describe your coaching journey.

I started off coaching children at festivals and working in schools, running lunchtime and after-school sessions, before completing my Youth Sport Trust Young Ambassadors training where I joined their national panel. I progressed through the coaching pathway from there. So, once I went through my Level 1 coaching qualifications and progressed to my Level 2s, it introduced me to a bit more of the performance-related aspects of coaching, which I found very interesting.

Presently, my coaching has got to the stage where the majority of people I coach are performance athletes. I’ve gone into specialising in netball, where I coach for Derbyshire county on their Excel framework and also work with the East Midlands regional players. I’ve basically got brought through the county system, and from there, I’ve just been given so many opportunities. For example, at present, I sit on England Netball’s Youth Advisory Group. Now I’m taking my 1st4sport Level 3 netball coaching qualification, I’m getting the chance to delve deeper into some of the performance-related principles, such as performance profiling, which is great.

While taking my coaching qualifications, I’ve also become more passionate about helping new coaches come through and helping them on their own journey. I decided to become a coach educator, and after completing my tutoring and assessing qualifications, I now deliver England Netball’s coaching qualifications. I’ve also just started to work for Rounders England. I really get a lot out of tutoring and assessing so this is something I’d like to continue to do.

Why did you decide to take so many coaching qualifications?

I was enjoying the many experiences I was having in a number of sports so I thought it would be to my benefit to do more coaching in as many sports as possible that I enjoyed. I don’t think there is any one way to coach so getting experience in so many sports with different tutors and the alternative approaches they take has been really beneficial to my learning.

I also decided to expand my knowledge by taking strength and conditioning and multi-skills qualifications.

The multi-skills development qualification was really useful for me in terms of learning about the FUNdamentals of Movement. Even though I now work with performance athletes, there are still issues with their movement so going right back to basics was great, and I got so much out of doing that qualification.

With my county girls, we are expected to do some strength and conditioning training so I wanted to take the appropriate qualification. I found it very interesting, and as I result, I am progressing to do my 1st4sport Level 3 coaching strength and conditioning qualification.

Any qualification I’ve taken, it’s all just about adding to my repertoire, giving me experience in different areas that I feel will benefit my coaching.

What’s the best thing about being a coach?

My motivation is not necessarily being the best. I get a lot out of seeing the effort I put in bearing fruit in other young people/athletes’ performances. It’s really just about them getting something out of what I do. I think coaching does a lot for people, not just on a sporting level, but as a person so, for me, seeing what people get out of it brings the most satisfaction.

How can you get involved?

If you’ve taken inspiration from reading Oliver’s story and would like to become a coach, then the best place to start is the website for the governing body of the sport that interests you. The sports coach UK website has a list of governing bodies of sport with links to the coach education sections of their websites.

Qualifications Oliver has taken: