We spoke to Dominic Wallis shortly after he arrived home from Abu Dhabi, where he had spent a week coaching children in football skills as part of his Sport and Physical Education course. “It was an amazing experience,” he said. “The weather, the kids and the facilities all made it special.”
So what did he get up to during his week? “It was pretty hard work to be honest. I was there with two other students and we’d spend a lot of time planning the sessions in detail. Then we’d head off to the sports complex and I’d take two sessions, one with children under 12 and the other with children under 14.
“I was given the responsibility of taking groups myself, which was a big deal for me. I wasn’t shadowing anyone but was given complete control. That was a bit overwhelming at first. I wondered whether I’d be able to manage all of these youngsters. They were great though, all very keen and they wanted to learn. It really improved my coaching skills and I think Liverpool FC has some new fans too!”
Now working his way through his first year at Hope, we asked Dominic why he had chosen to study there. “The fact that it’s local to me is a big thing,” he answered, “But when I looked more closely, I was very impressed by the facilities, particularly the laboratories, big indoor sports hall and the new Hope Park Sports Complex.”
Many people are attracted to Hope because it’s a relatively small university. They think that it could possibly offer a more personal experience than larger institutions. So has Dominic found this to be the case?
“Totally,” he said. “With fewer students, you got more individual attention and care. All of my lecturers know my name and know what I want to achieve. They’re always there for you and happy to help you sort out any problems.
“People at Hope want you to succeed and will help you in any way they can. The lecturers are really approachable and you can have a bit of banter with them, which is really nice.
“The thing is, I enjoy going to university. When I get up in the morning, I never get that feeling of having to drag myself in. I can’t wait to get there, see my friends and be part of what’s happening.”
As for the future, it’s too early to say. Dominic is thinking about going on to study for a PGCE and moving into teaching or coaching. He is also working his way through his refereeing levels. “I’m not sure yet,” he said. “But whatever I do will probably have something to do with football.”