Award-winning young coach James Galt has utilised his volunteering opportunities with Preston North End Community and Education Trust as a means of improving his communication skills while gaining experience in the coaching industry.
James is a coach for PNECET on a range of programmes, including the Myerscough PL Kicks session, PNECET Wildcats and walking football.
The 19-year-old has been profoundly deaf since birth but that has not prevented him from following his passion of coaching, using British Sign Language and lip-reading techniques to aid his communication with participants, colleagues and fellow coaches.
“I started to volunteer at PNE three years ago,” James told PNE.Com. “It was the Easter soccer camp and I helped for a few days on one of the weeks.
“I had been doing a BTEC at Myerscough College and both my tutors and my family thought it may be good to get some experience working with others, as I find communicating with people I don’t know difficult; I am profoundly deaf and have been since birth.
“I lip-read people a lot and I do use British Sign Language, too, but if I am listening to people and talking to them or coaching them, it helps me to be able to lip-read them.”
James has also enjoyed meeting new people through his voluntary opportunities which has seen him working with participants of a range of ages.
“The more sessions I attend, the more I learn,” he continued. “Being deaf, visual experiences are better than textbook learning or listening in a classroom.
“The sessions vary in age ranges; sometimes I am with older people, sometimes the same age and sometimes younger.
“Being able to attend wildcats, disability sessions, PL kicks sessions, walking football and disability futsal has helped me gain more confidence and be more tactfully aware of the various games played. I hope to find work in this field soon.
“It has been nice to volunteer in such friendly groups. The participants accept me as a coach and volunteer and sometimes don’t even notice that I am deaf, so I always feel welcome at every session.
“Being involved with others with disabilities is also helpful, as I am aware of their needs as well as my own and I know how hard it can be for them sometimes.”
James is a multi-award-winning coach, earning recognition by having an award presented by Sir Geoff Hurst at Wembley for an FA prize, and in also being successful in the UK Coaching awards, he was in the company of Premier League managers as a winner at the ceremony!
“Steve Daley was approached by UK Coaching for an interview for National Volunteers Week last year and they were interested in both him and me. The writer of the article suggested I should be nominated for their young coach of the year, which I went on to win!
“That I was really shocked at because I am just starting out in coaching and I am developing my skills and confidence, where others in the room had been coaching for years and were at a professional level – Jurgen Klopp was one of the other winners!
“I volunteer because I like football and I like to help others enjoy it, too. For me, I am just doing something I love, and trying to improve myself all the time.”