“I want to make sure that young people have the chances that I never had as a child.”
That’s Ieuan Davies who coaches the Wales under 18 boys hockey squad, the South Central 360 programme for developing players and Cardiff & Met Hockey Club’s second team and junior programme.
A tough ask for anyone, never mind a young man who is also completing his Postgraduate Studies in Sports Coaching.
But his determination and drive stems from the fact that he never had the chance of any real sports coaching as a child:
“I came to hockey quite late. I actually grew up playing a lot of cricket. But I never had the opportunity of structured, coaching sessions, even though I lived just 200 yards away from a cricket pitch, so I guess I feel I missed out.”
Despite a lack of coaching role models, Ieuan’s natural abilities soon shone through:
“Me and my friends used to coach each other. Then when I was about 14, I discovered hockey through Ysgol Bryntawe. While I came to hockey quite late, I knew how to make improvements in my own game. I’d always go away and work hard at the skills I’d been learning that others would have picked up when they started playing at around eight-years-old.”
Now, of course that passion for coaching is directed at others. In his role for Wales, Ieuan has been part of the coaching team at several events, including July’s Under 16 EuroHockey in Lithuania where Wales won gold.
Other notable accolades include the establishment of a junior section at Cardiff & Met Hockey Club.
At the 2016 UK School Games, he was the youngest hockey coach, having been given the reins to oversee Wales’ Under 18 boys squad:
“It was the first time I’d been given a team on my own. It was great to be given the responsibility of riding solo.”
And his drive: “It’s the satisfaction of dedicating time to people and seeing it pay off. You see someone struggling with a skill and then the beaming smile on their face when they get it. Despite the pressures of exams, our players put so much time in week in, week out so it’s only fair we match their effort.”
With such passion and sheer determination to succeed, it is clear Ieuan is a name to note for the future.