Performance Analyst for Loughborough Students RFC
Andy has played a massive part in developing a really effective learning/review environment for rugby players at Loughborough. Working close to 100 games for the men's programme, Andy has built up both his experience and relationships with coaches and other staff leading to him acquiring a summer placement working for Hawk-Eye Innovations at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Tell us a little bit about yourself (hobbies, interests and background):
I’m in the 3rd and final year of my undergraduate degree, but my 6th year in Loughborough (having changed course after almost 3 years). After 2 and a half years of not spending my time wisely I decided I needed to try and get involved back in sport beyond just being a fan, and haven’t looked back since. All the jokes from my mates about being a 4th year fresher have been worth it, just about.
How did you first get involved in volunteering within sport at Loughborough?
When I realised I missed being involved in sport, I thought about how I could get myself back in without playing. I searched for a rugby coaching course and found that Loughborough Sport was offering Level 2 coaching courses through the CVA. I hadn’t looked into the CVA and even after finding this course I didn’t look into all the other opportunities on offer. I signed on to the course, went to a Loughborough Sport induction meeting and I just happened to sit next to someone who was volunteering for men’s rugby at the time. I asked him what he did and he briefly explained what performance analysis was. I said it sounded ideal for me, and he said that they were looking for volunteers for the next season, and that I just needed to apply through the CVA. Only then did I realise how easy it was to get involved in sport in Loughborough.
During your years at Loughborough what have you got involved in through volunteering within sport?
I’ve worked at close to 100 games for the men’s rugby programme, providing statistics and feedback for coaches and players, and generally doing anything I can to help the team. I’ve worked at many incredible matches at the University, and the relationships I’ve built with coaches and other staff helped me to acquire a summer placement working for Hawk-Eye Innovations, at the Rugby World Cup in Japan this Summer.
What has your experience volunteering been like whilst at Loughborough?
It’s genuinely been life changing. I came to the University with a clear idea of what I wanted to do for a career, but when I realised that was wrong it was volunteering that helped me see what I actually wanted to spend my life doing. As a volunteer whatever I could do for the team was appreciated, no matter how big or small, and when I asked for responsibility I was given it alongside a lot of creative freedom. I’d been told that as a volunteer I’d get out what I put in and more, and looking back that couldn’t be more true. Some of the events I’ve worked at have of course been highlights, but actually the feeling of being part of the teams highs and lows each day are what has motivated me to work harder in my course as much as my volunteering.
How has being involved with Loughborough Sport helped you develop and progress (personally and professionally)?
Personally it has made me realise the value in just giving things a go, being pro-active and being more open minded. I was lucky in that I was just in the right place at the right time to some extent, but I ended up in that position after deciding to give something new a go. It has made me realise that I want to work in sport as a career, and the experience of working within Loughborough Sport has shown me how elite sporting environments work, not just in terms of how they use analysis, but also how multiple different teams function together to help try and achieve each other’s goals.
What’s the best advice you could give to a Loughborough student looking to get involved in volunteering & gain the most out of their university experiences?
I would first repeat my point about being pro-active and open minded. It might be that there isn’t an opportunity in the sport or discipline that you ideally want to work with, but there will always be similar opportunities and you have nothing to lose by trying something new and it will likely teach you many transferable skills. Secondly I pass on the two things I was told when I first volunteered: that you get out what you put in; and do what you say you are going to do. As a volunteer you have the freedom to do as much or as little as you like, but whatever you do put your hand up for, make sure you put your all into it.
Finally, what do you enjoy most about volunteering?
It’s the personal motivation it gives me. No matter what work I’m doing, I know that my work is appreciated, and that spurs me on to just put my all into it.
Feeling inspired by Andy's experience? Check out the CVA Portal regularly for coaching and performance support opportunities like this.