What's it like being a volleyball event volunteer?

24th November 2017

What's it like being a volleyball event volunteer?

Volunteers are crucial to providing sport in this country. The latest research from Sport England proves that, with over six million people giving their time in the last year to facilitate sport.

Volleyball has a strong volunteer workforce and there are lots of great opportunities to have fun, develop skills and make friends in giving your time to help deliver the sport. There are so many volunteer roles available ranging from helping at your local club all the way to being part of the Volleyball England board of directors.

One area volunteers are always welcome at events. While volleyball events are a highlight for players, they can be just as exciting and enjoyable for volunteers.

Someone who knows how rewarding volunteering at events can be is recent university graduate, Beth Gunter. A talented volleyballer herself, Beth has a wealth of experience helping at volleyball events.

“I have volunteered at CEV beach volleyball events, the School Games, and the NEVZA Under 19 tournament which Volleyball England hosted, as well as local tournaments.

“I have worked a variety of roles. At the CEV beach event, I was the attaché to the Northern Ireland team and looked after them to make sure they had everything they needed.

“Locally, at the Sandbanks beach tournament, I was part of the team that organised the tournament. With event organising, most of the work is done in the run up to the tournament. We had to dig the courts out in the sand, which takes four people per court. We also had to build the match schedule, where you have to think about spreading each team’s matches out and when they will all have chance to eat. There’s a lot to getting everything ready but once the tournament is started things should run smoothly! Then it is just about being able to respond to any problems or things that need doing.

Beth has followed in her father’s footsteps, as he is also a committed volunteer and has helped at many Volleyball England events. She has helped in almost every aspect of organising a volleyball competition.

“As an athlete, I know how important an event experience is, so you want athletes to enjoy it,” says Beth.  “It makes you want to go above and beyond for them. For me, it’s a great way to give back to the sport I love.

“The spirit among the volunteers is amazing. You are all at an event for the same reason and there is a real buzz when doing an event. When it is over you’re tired but after a few days you miss the excitement and you’re already looking forward to the next one. The volunteers are brilliant, some do almost everything at events!”

As an aspiring sports journalist, who has a degree in the subject, volunteering has helped Beth develop her skills that could help her future career.

“At the School Games and NEVZA, I volunteered as part of the media team,” explains Beth. “I’d take pictures and write reports on the games. There’s a bit of pressure as once you’ve finished one game, you’re on to the next. At one event, I was responsible for social media which is immediate. The published reports go out at the end of the day so there is more time with those. As a reporter, you want to make sure you give the players a mention and get their names in the write up if they have played particularly well.” 

“For me wanting to become a journalist, volunteering is a great way to do to build my practical experience. Working as part of the media team, I have shown that I can work and write under pressure at a sporting events. It is something I can put on my CV.”

While being a volunteer can help build skills and employability, Beth says the best thing about being an event volunteer is the experience.

“My highlight of being an event volunteer was probably the Sandbanks beach tournament,” she says. “It is one of the best places to play beach volleyball so being part of the team that organised it and giving back to an event I had played in was great.”

“The best thank you is the athletes’ smiles at the end of the tournament. For the bigger events such as events Volleyball England organise, the tournament organisers are always over the moon and are the most thankful people. You always get fed and watered too, so you are looked after!”

There are lots of exciting roles still available at this season’s volleyball competitions, so what would Beth’s advice be to anyone thinking about getting involved?

“Don’t hesitate!” she says. “No one competition is the same and you’ll never understand the enjoyment you get from it until you try it. There are lots of different jobs you can get involved in. The volunteer network is a little community!”

Volleyball England’s events include Cup Finals, Inter Regionals, Super 8s finals and the VE Beach Tour 2018. If you’re interested in volunteering, please email j.moore@volleyballengland.org

What's it like being a volleyball event volunteer?