Category: News stories

A busy weekend for our Citizens!

Edinburgh City have had a jam packed weekend and we’ll try and give you all of the details that saw the club travel to Glasgow for a beginner’s tournament, training hard across the weekend with the Scotland squad and also having our big bowling social on Saturday evening.

 

Beginner Tournament

Ella Paul took a group of players to Glasgow’s beginner tournament and, except for the help of Laura Powell, all of the squad had been playing korfball for a year or less! A fantastic achievement for the club to be able to field a squad full of newbies.

The format of the tournament was two pool groups and short 10 minute matches. The team played 5 group matches, winning 3 of them but finishing 4th in the group after the top 3 in the group all took wins from each other. A placing game against Dundee saw a narrow 2-1 defeat before facing Glasgow to play off for 7/8th position. An exciting game ended with Glasgow equalising late on to force a penalty shootout but City stayed calm and Adam Hardy scored the winning penalty to leave the team finishing 7th out of 11 teams competing and winning 4 out of their 7 matches on the day!

Ella said of the day “The team showed real improvement throughout the day and were asking lots of great questions, making the most of an opportunity to learn in a less competitive environment. John McDowell scored a great runner, Jiayi Liu showed fantastic hustle and Alex and Adam really fought hard in the rebound position.”

Ella also thanked Adam and Laura who stepped up to referee some matches at the tournament too.

The day say playing debuts for Anj Gopalan and Matthew Walker and we look forward to seeing how all of our fantastic beginners get on this season!

Full squad: Adam Hardy, Alex Foster, Anj Gopalan, Anna Thomas, Dimitris Kalentakis, Emma Steel, Jiayi Liu, John McDowell, Laura Kitchen, Laura Powell, Matthew Cook, Matthew Walker.

 

Bowling Social

A great event put on by our social secretaries Christie Smillie and Laura de Nooij saw the club travel out to World of Bowling for some fun, and not at all competitive bowling action!

As well as strikes, spares and plenty of gutter balls, there was also competitions for the highest team and individual scores as well as the most coveted “best socks” award. Matthew Walker got an honourable mention for wearing his lipstick socks over his trousers all evening, but the judging panel decided that they couldn’t choose between Jacky Mo’s Christmas Darth Vader ensemble or Kitty Dutton’s artistic Mona Lisa socks. So it was put to a public vote and whoever got the loudest cheers would be crowned. Causing quite the commotion, the club voted Kitty as the winner of the inaugural sock award whilst Matthew Cook picked up the best individual score with a massive 149 points.

After the bowling, many of the club headed on to Adam Hardy’s housewarming party where we helped him discover his very own Darth Vader merchandise and hopefully helped to warm his lovely new flat appropriately!

 

Scotland Training

New Scotland coach Colin Boys was up this weekend to take charge of his first Scotland training sessions and it was a great chance for our Citizens to receive some top level coaching as well as try to impress Colin ahead of next year’s European Championships. It was great to have so many representing the club at the training weekend with Dan Pratt, Laura de Nooij, Dave Ewing, Michael Garbutt, Katrina Caldwell, Jacky Mo, Heather Mackintosh, Andrew Goode and Kitty Dutton all joining in.

 

2019/20 Coaching Team Announced

Edinburgh City is delighted to announce its coaching team for the 2019/20 season.

With playing numbers growing, the club has doubled the size of the coaching staff which will ensure that all match-day teams have a coach present. On top of this, the club is looking to maximize the potential of coaching within the club and has opened up a new role of Coaching Development to assist this process.

 

Returning for his 5th season as Head Coach, Dan Pratt is hoping to continue his ambitious programme of growth and improvement.

He went in to some detail at his press conference following the signing of his contract extension:

“With the club growing at a high rate, it was always going to be important that the club reacted well this season and agreed to increase the coaching staff.

I’m absolutely delighted with the calibre of coaches that the club has managed to bring in, with a mixture of experience and potential it will be just as exciting to see how far the coaching team comes as the players on court!”

Asked about the plans for the future, he added:

“I think it is clear that we want to keep growing as a club, but not only in terms of playing numbers. It’s important that we are challenging at the top of the league too. We’re of course aiming with the 1s and 2s to win their respective leagues.

For the 3s it’s going to be a great mix of experience and recreational players and I think getting the right balance for those players is going to be a big task this year!”

 

Another coach who will be extending their contract at the club is Christie Smillie who will be taking on the responsibility of coaching the 2s team this season. With the side aiming for promotion this year it was important to have an ambitious coach in charge and Christie is certainly looking forward to the challenge:

“I’m really excited to be working with the 2s this season. I learned a lot about some of these players last year and I’m hoping that with some more experience and time together that we can bring home that league trophy!”

Christie has also joined City as a player this season, after a couple of years honing her skills at Edinburgh University and Edinburgh City is delighted to have her onboard.

 

New to the coaching staff this year is Ella Paul who takes on the Coaching/Refereeing Development role and will be assisting Dan in delivering training sessions as well as match-day coaches.

Ella has a wealth of experience, having coached the University team, as well as serving on the SKA Committee and playing as a member of the Scottish national team. The club is ecstatic that Ella has signed up to the coaching staff this season.

Ella has a host of responsibilities and when asked where the big challenges were, she replied:

“Keeping Dan in check, for starters. I’m also looking forward to coaching Dave Ewing because his shooting is awful and I’m hoping to give him a few pointers.”

A wry grin and a nervous laugh signal that she might not be as serious as some think. She goes on to add:

“I hope to actively develop the coaches that City have. Working with the new coaches will be exciting and I’m hoping to breathe new life at the top end of the club too.”

“I’m used to working with one particular team so the challenge of working with a full club is going to be a tough one but I’m looking forward to putting in a structure so that players and coaches know what to expect.”

“Working with all levels is going to be enjoyable, although I’m especially keen to see players who are hungry to improve, I’d like to help them move up a level and perhaps push for a place in the team above where they are at.”

 

Kash Irshad rounds of the coaching staff for the 2019/20 season, having also joined from Edinburgh University in the off-season. Kash will be responsible for developing the newer players in the club and will take the 3s on match-days.

At his unveiling, Kash was positive about the move:

“City seemed like the perfect club for me as not only do I get to carry on playing, I will also be part of the coaching team with SKL legend Christie Smillie and I’ll get to continue my ‘Coach Carter’ fantasy.”

When asked about what he is looking to bring to his role, he added:

“My main aim is to help newer players improve and enjoy the sport more as well as developing more experienced players to create a City team that will challenge on all fronts.”

Beginner Session – 10th August

Edinburgh City Korfball are hosting a FREE Beginner Session to introduce new players to korfball.

Korfball is similar to netball and basketball in style, but it is unique as it is a mixed-sex sport where teams have to be made up of equal numbers of male and female players.

The session will be held at Wester Hailes Education Centre on Saturday 10th August 2019 from 14.00 to 16.00 and if you need any assistance finding the venue you can contact Daniel Pratt at eckc.development@gmail.com

You can sign up to our Facebook event here for all the up to date details: https://bit.ly/2JEKtoG

 

You can view a great breakdown of the rules here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUtJB5jBOis

There will also be a prize draw for beginners attending the event and the winner will receive a season’s free membership to the club!

Congratulations New 2019/20 Committee Members

This weekend saw Edinburgh City’s AGM and the election of a new committee. The club thanks those who saw the club through a record 2018/19 season and welcomes a new group who will hopefully be continuing the great work already put in.

Continuing as President after an incredibly successful year is Katrina Caldwell, having overseen the growth of the club to record membership and playing numbers.

Balancing the books once again is Rob Stone, who did a great job as treasurer over the last year having purchased two brand new kits for the club.

Stepping up from (extra)Ordinary Member to Secretary is Andrew Goode, having filled in last season where needed. He’s sure to stay on top of things as he brings his usual energy and enthusiasm to the committee!

After just a few months at the club, Adam Hardy is already settled and a valuable member and now wants to help out even more by taking on the Match Secretary position. Helping to organise players, referees and to ensure that kit is in the right place at the right time, he’s bound to do a great job.

The AGM saw two positions (Recruitment/Fundraising) combine and create a new role ‘Club Development’. This will be taken on by Dan Pratt who continues the work done last season.

Dave Ewing will once again be in charge of Publicity and have his hands full with redesign of the website over the summer. Let’s hope he doesn’t get side-tracked as he’s well known for laughing his way through the world wide web.

Another new position for the 2019/20 season is ‘Refereeing/Coaching Development’ and this will be taken on by Ella Paul. Ella is responsible for recognising and developing talent as a coach and will now extend that to include referees and coaches, which will be more important with the future implementation of shotclocks to the Scotland Korfball League.

We’ve appointed two Social Secretaries again this season, with Christie Smillie and Laura de Nooij taking on the not so little task of keeping all of our members entertained off-court! We’re certain that these two socialites will take it all in their stride.

Finally, another new post created this season is the Safeguarding and Welfare position which will be filled by Vivek Santayana who has some great experience looking after vulnerable members and will help the club stay on the right path.

#VolunteersWeek

As Volunteers Week 2019 draws to a close, Head Coach and Development Coordinator Daniel Pratt has written about his experiences as a volunteer and explains just what keeps him going:

 

For #VolunteersWeek I thought I’d write about my experience with volunteering over the last couple of decades to give a view of what life can be like as a volunteer, and also in the hope that it will inspire more people to get involved with projects close to them.

My journey as a volunteer started, as many others do, with being asked to help out by one of those smiley, friendly faces that are just impossible to say no to.

 

Only 15 at the time, I had been playing for Croydon Korfball’s senior teams for a couple of years and it was Anna Jeanes who approached me to ask if I could help coach the junior players at the club. I think we both knew that there was no way I could turn down the request for help and so my lifetime of volunteering began.

Anna was the perfect role-model as a volunteer; she played at the top level of the sport, was helping run the club committee and was overseeing a thriving junior programme which was seeing so many kids getting involved in sport. Visiting schools on a weekly basis, Anna was always doing as much as she could to encourage the next generation to give korfball a go.

 

I started helping out at junior sessions, following the lead of a head-coach and encouraging the younger players to enjoy the various drills and matches.

Although some people now may struggle to believe it, I was very shy at that age and it was volunteering and the responsibility that came with it that brought out my character. I was in a situation where I needed to be supportive and encouraging for the younger players and I couldn’t do that by sitting quietly in a corner.

It didn’t take long before I was confident enough to be able to coach the players and lead drills myself. The enjoyment you get from seeing others enjoying themselves as a result really can give you such a drive to do more and that was exactly what happened, beginning with helping out on school visits before coaching every week at after school clubs.

Coaching juniors really is rewarding, the fun and enjoyment that children have is infectious and you just can’t help smiling when the noise of clapping and shouting and cheering carries across the school playground.

 

After a few more years of coaching and helping out with organising the club’s annual tournament, I also joined the club committee. Being able to help influence the decisions the club was making made me feel like a valuable part of something. It was at a time where there were big changes on the horizon, with the clubhouse being purchased to make way for the new tram coming to Croydon, there were decisions to be made as to where the money would be invested in to.

There were meetings with the council, local sports groups, as well as committee meetings to attend and it was the first time I found that being a volunteer might mean giving up a little more of my time than I first expected!

 

After many years of coaching, I was presented with another opportunity for volunteering and like before, it was pretty difficult to say no. This time it was down at a Scout camp in Chalfont Heights. It wasn’t exactly stressful work, on the odd weekend I would head to the campsite and over the next couple of days I would help kids take part in archery, rock climbing, abseiling, swimming and plenty of other activities. The evenings were easy going, with a few drinks around a campfire and a lodge to catch some rest in. It was here that I found out that volunteering wasn’t just free labour, it could be enjoyable and become a hobby too!

 

At 24 I moved to The Netherlands and with that, I got the chance to learn another lesson in volunteering. I was asked to help coach my new team’s B1 team (under 16s) but being the typical Brit abroad, my language skills were very limited. I found out pretty quickly that coaching doesn’t always require people to speak the same language and like a younger, better looking Schteve McLaren I was able to take the training sessions and coach on match-days using the very little Dutch I knew (minus the swearing).

It taught me very quickly, that as long as you are passionate about what you do, volunteering can be incredibly rewarding, regardless of the various situations you might find yourself in. I found that success for a volunteer wasn’t just about the end result, but about the small moments on the journey where a player might suddenly start to pick up that technique you’d patiently taught them or bringing together a group of players who stick together as friends long after the season finishes. There are many rewards there for volunteers who can offer some time and it can feel great when that gets repaid with moments like that.

 

After The Netherlands, I found myself up in Scotland playing korfball in a much smaller pool than I had been used to in England or especially The Netherlands. For context, the club I played for in NL was from a very small village called Leiderdorp and there were three times as many korfballers at the club, than there were in the whole of Scotland. It was clear that I could offer something to Scottish korfball and when the time came, I found myself volunteering again, having put myself forward for the national committee I was quickly in a position where I was in charge of something with a huge potential that wasn’t being realised. Thankfully, with a wealth of volunteering experience and more years in korfball than I cared to mention, I was able to see where the easy fixes were and the longer term battles that would need to be fought.

I was very lucky in my first year as chairperson of Scotland Korfball to have a core of other like-minded volunteers who were happy to give up a considerable amount of time to help change the direction of Scottish korfball. Unfortunately, the big changes that have been put in place will not begin to bear fruit for another few years yet, but I hope that the group will feel the same sense of accomplishment that I feel, knowing that we have helped set the course for korfball to flourish in Scotland.

 

With volunteering, there can be some very quick rewards, but also some hard work which goes unseen and unpraised. I think this is why it’s so important, when you are volunteering, to pick something you are passionate about and invested in.

When the tough moments come along, you want to have that light to guide you through the darkness because it isn’t always the big smiles and fun you see in the public events. Having come this far, I now look back at the big beaming smile I used to get from Anna as a young adult and I know that there must have been countless evenings where, in private, that smile was gone and a feeling of exhaustion replaced it.

I have had many moments over the last few years where it all felt like it could be too much, but the passion and drive have kept me going. I’m very grateful to be in a position at the moment at my current club, Edinburgh City, where I am surrounded with other volunteers full of passion and energy. It is also a moment in the club’s history where we are breaking records almost weekly, with membership up to its highest number we have entered a third team into the league for the very first time and have had so many new players trying out the sport.

It’s these moments, as a volunteer, that I would recommend to cherish the most. Whilst they are happening, don’t overlook them and enjoy them as much as possible. When the dark times come and it all feels like an uphill struggle, remember these moments and recognise that they will come back!

Volunteering isn’t always easy, but it can be the most rewarding thing you can do in life. I really hope that from those who read this, there is one who might decide today is the day they get out and volunteer. Whether it’s for a hobby they already enjoy, or for a local community group or whether it’s as simple as picking up litter once a week. There are so many great ways you can help the world be a better place and if you’re stuck for inspiration, I’d recommend heading to https://volunteeringmatters.org.uk/ for some great ideas of opportunities near you!

Korfball: A New Hope

Edinburgh City KC held their Beginner Session on Saturday 13th January and we’re pleased to say it was a great success.

beginners1The hall at Oriam was full of people giving korfball a go! With over 30 in attendance, with some help from players already at the club, the newcomers were put through a crash course in korfball.

beginners2

Starting with some shooting drills, players were invited to try their hand at scoring in a variety of ways, before being introduced to one of korfball’s unique rules and practicing how to ‘defend’ the opposition.

beginners3

A quick demonstration match was staged in order to show what they were about to be asked to recreate, but all of the participants took to korfball like ducks to water! It was fantastic to see the goals flying in and we’re certainly hopeful of seeing many of the attendees back at training over the coming weeks!

beginners4

Don’t worry if you weren’t able to attend our Beginner Session, we welcome new players throughout the year and if you were interested in giving korfball a go you can email eckc.development@gmail.com

Alex discovers korfball! Rejoice!

Following on from Edinburgh City’s beginner session in August, we will be catching up with some of our newest recruits in a series of interviews.

After Chris Brown’s initial interview, we put our questions to another new member Alex Foster.

Hi Alex, thanks for agreeing to answer some questions for us today! Firstly, can you tell us about your thoughts on the beginner session?

I really enjoyed the beginner session. I particularly liked how welcoming everyone was and especially how us newcomers were eased into the session.

Well we always like positive feedback! *blushes* Where did you hear about the beginner session?

 I saw the event on Meetup and it looked like something I wanted to give a try.

(We have quite a few members who have found us through Meetup now.)

What were your first impressions of korfball, and of the club?

I had never heard of korfball before finding the session on Meetup but I was pleasantly surprised. Everyone at the club was very friendly and I from the start, I got the impression that the club was well organised. After the beginner session I did some reading on the origins of Korfball and as a sport it was very appealing.

Seems like you were pretty keen to continue, was there anything in particular that kept you coming back after the beginner session?

The main reason I kept coming back was because I really enjoyed the beginner session. I enjoyed each regular training session too. The fact that I was a complete novice and hadn’t played any ball sports since high school didn’t matter and I liked the fact Korfball is a growing sport and certain aspects of the game are quite unique.

 

If you are interested in coming along to give korfball a go, new members are always welcome and you can details on training times here or if you want to get in touch please email Daniel Pratt for more details.