Sports Coach of the Year finalist, Young Volunteer Coach of the Year, April Morgan

As a nominee for Young Volunteer Coach of the Year, you'd guess that April Morgan has always been mad about sport. But you'd be wrong. While April happily volunteers more than 12 hours a week for coaching duties, she admits sport used to be something she readily avoided. This abruptly changed when the 17 -year-old from Ebbw Vale enrolled on a Junior Sports Leaders Award while at Ebbw Vale Comprehensive School in 2010. Although it was the leadership element and not the sports angle that attracted April - not to mention avoiding PE lessons - she discovered she enjoyed it all. "I had low confidence and it seemed like a good opportunity. It was different to what I had expected, because I was never sporty, but I began to enjoy sport from the coaching aspect."

As part of the award programme, April helped coach Dragon Sports clubs across Blaenau Gwent, and volunteered to lead a weekly Fundamentals session, which teaches primary school pupils sports basics such as catching and throwing.  It caught her imagination. "I really enjoyed teaching someone something new, especially with the little ones. It's rewarding watching them gain new skills and very satisfying."

April Morgan

After graduating the Junior Sports Leaders Award in July 2011, April was invited on to the Silver Ambassadors sports programme, and assisted the delivery of the annual Blaenau Gwent Young Leaders Conference; its success and her commitment soon led to her inauguration as one of only four Gold Ambassadors in the county.  As part of the programme she gave a talk to an audience of over a hundred delegates. "It's something I would have never thought I would have had the confidence to do before; I would never have got up in front of a group of people to talk, but now I find it quite easy. It made me realise what I can do."

April's coaching means that her weeks are packed; as a Gold Ambassador she organises events and mentors other young coaches. She also coaches netball, and at the Tredegar Torpedo Swim Squad, as well as studying A-Levels in PE, Religious Studies and Photography at Coleg Gwent.  "It's hard at times," she says of her busy schedule, "it's about finding the balance of it all, but I do enjoy it." Understandably April's family is very proud of her; she says they can see the positive impact coaching has had on her. 

So what does she think makes a good coach? "Confidence, patience and the ability to know what people want to get to get from the session. Preparation is also very important; there's a lot of planning and explaining. It can be hard but it is rewarding"

One of her achievements is the expansion of Cwm's StreetGames club, which offers doorstep sports opportunities to young people. As lead coach, April has increased the membership from 38 to 94 in two months, making it the fastest growing StreetGames club in Blaenau Gwent.

April is now aiming to study sports coaching at university. "Coaching has had a huge impact on my confidence and ambition, and made me want to gain as much as I can from it."