Jonathan Donnelly Explains the Benefits of Voluntary Coaching

In addition to building relationships with senior accountancy professionals in the West of Scotland, Rutherford Cross’ Jonathan Donnelly has been using his Monday evenings to coach Primary 1 kids football. Jonathan explains the benefits of his coaching experience so far below.

At Rutherford Cross we strive to make an impact not only for our clients, candidates, and colleagues, but also for the communities of which we are a part. This year I’ve taken on the role of Head Coach for Our Lady of the Missions 2018 football team (primary 1). You could argue I was duped into it by an old classmate when I went to a meeting at the school in August, but I’m really glad and grateful for the chance to do so.

My son started school in the summer and his big sister is now in primary 4. During lockdown, in a period of sustained homeworking I had helped out coaching my daughter’s year group for a few months, even though she had very little interest in football, just to get out the house more! This time, I’m trying to have a bigger impact on the kids’ abilities and enjoyment of the game. As a child, I got so much enjoyment from playing football and I still do now in my 40s, so I’m keen to help the kids realise how fun it can be.

We’ve now managed to get 8 or 9 dads from the year group to help out every Monday night. Some weeks we feel like we’re making progress, and other weeks the kids can run riot! There is a lot of tying shoe laces, taking kids to the toilet, and wiping up tears after falls to be done; but we’re definitely seeing some of the kids improving their skills.


Key Benefits of Voluntary Coaching

Through getting involved in this voluntary coaching over the past few months, I have already experienced the following key benefits:

  • Community Aspect: I’ve really enjoyed spending an hour or so each week outdoors, feeling like I’m doing something positive for the school community and having a laugh with the kids and the other coaches
  • Respect for Teachers: I’ve certainly gained a lot of respect for the teachers, as getting the kids to listen is not easy. Being a parent is tricky enough, but when there’s a gang of them, it can get crazy! Fingers crossed it’ll be easier to maintain their attention as they get older
  • The Reward of Kids’ Enjoyment: The fact that about 30 kids are coming back every week (even in winter nights) must mean the kids are enjoying it to some extent – either that or the parents are really desperate for an hour’s peace… But seriously, I’ve found it satisfying to see the kids get so much amusement from the sessions
  • My Own Development: At times you do get your patience tested and you need to problem solve if there are disputes between children, so from that point of view there has definitely been some personal development. I’ve also had to get registered for different coaching badges, do PVG checks, and find a club secretary to run the finance side of it; all challenging my organisational skills
  • Fitness: As someone who is not exactly flexible, bending down to tie shoe laces and picking kids up off the ground 20 odd times an hour has definitely got me stretching more!
  • Bonding: It has also been a great bonding activity for myself and my son, and I’m certain the other coaches feel the same way


Our focus for this year is to simply get the kids enjoying football with a view to having a few teams taking part in local associations’ 4-a-side matches when they go into primary 2, next year. If any local businesses are interested in sponsoring the team, please get in touch. Hopefully by that point we’ll have uncovered the next Andy Robertson!


If you would like more information on Rutherford Cross’ community impact initiatives, or to support Jonny’s coaching journey, please reach out:  [email protected].