Inspiring the Next Generation to Love Sports…
By Jolyon & Lucy Marks
Directors of Rugbytots North East Kent
My name is Jolyon Marks and I have been a sports coach for 20 years.
Whilst away travelling in the mid-nineties I decided I that on my return I wanted to attend university and the only thing that had constantly been a huge part of my life to that point was sport and that has not changed yet!
On my return from my travels I went back to a club I had played at as a junior in the 1980s and started coaching hockey at Herne Bay Hockey Club. In that 1996-97 season, I gained my Level 2 hockey coaching certificate and my Level 2 football coaching badge.
The same year I attended Canterbury College on an access course studying Sports with Human Biology, the completion of this year-long course prepared and allowed me to go to the University of Gloucestershire to study and gain a degree in Sports Science with Leisure Management. During my time at university, I coached on various local initiatives and for a local hockey club.
On my return to Herne Bay in 2003 I went back to Herne Bay Hockey Club to coach and at the same time, Canterbury City Council were running an initiative to work with local clubs to take their sports into primary schools. So, requiring work I delivered a hockey programme to the local primary schools in Herne Bay to Whitstable and we staged a tournament for the yr5/6s at the end. With the success the programme achieved, it is still in place at the club with different coaches now delivering the sessions.
Following these sessions in the schools, some schools asked me to come back to deliver more sessions, which was great more work but then I realised that I could not do hockey and football all year round so I got qualified to coach rugby, cricket, and athletics.
From here everything just snowballed work all year round in some schools delivering a variety of sports. Kent County Council asking me to take the same hockey programme to Thanet, Dover and Ashford. Helping to deliver the same rugby, cricket and athletics programme in schools with tournaments for the schools to attend at the end.
Over the years I have helped deliver many initiatives and schemes but unfortunately funding for each one generally only has a short shelf life of 2 to 4 years.
My niche has been the primary and infant school age group Years R – 6 for many years, but I needed to push those boundaries and I got the opportunity to be a coach educator in 2007 and did this for 7 years. This really helped to achieve a higher level of confidence with my coaching having to explain ‘what to coach’ and ‘how to coach’ to other potential coaches, some of which had played the sport to a very high standard. Something I would like to get back into delivering.
For many years I have also coaching the men’s and ladies at Herne Bay Hockey Club as well as the juniors. Coaching can mean working some unsociable hours evenings and weekends so I was very lucky to find a wife who has the same interests as me, what more could I ask for!
My wife Lucy is a hockey player and coach (as well as fulfilling other roles within the club).
Like myself, she is an all-around fan of sports and took up the opportunity to play in an inter-department touch rugby tournament at work and within 2 years got into the England Touch Rugby Squad.
We now have 2 children and fully believe that they should have the opportunity to try as many different things as possible may it be sports, arts or music. One of which was rugby training with Rugby tots, within 3 months of our son attending the sessions the local franchise was put up for sale and we became the new owners. Both of us felt this was a great opportunity with all the experience I had and the ups and downs of budgets in schools and funding for initiatives, the scope with what we can do with Rugby tots is enormous.