Ahead of the Youth Sport Trust’s Talent Camp taking place in Loughborough on 16-19 December, we caught up with Natalia Bryan, mum to a promising volleyball coach who is attending this year’s camp:
Like every parent, I want the best for my child. Even if that means listening to endless chatter about volleyball!
I remember Michael coming back from school a few years ago raving about a volleyball player by the name of Ben Pipes, who had visited his school. This was the start of something special – Michael was captivated by the sport and was so inspired by Ben, he knew volleyball was for him.
Since starting his volleyball journey at 11, Michael has developed as an exceptional player and in 2015, he was asked to join the national junior development programme. This was a huge achievement, which then led to Michael being selected for Wessex Volleyball Club and the U16 National Volleyball Team. Not bad, I remember thinking when he was selected for the national team.
Michael’s love of volleyball led to a love for coaching, I guess so he could be even more engrossed in the sport – if that’s possible. He regularly coaches at a club level and supports students at local primary and secondary schools. He’s also supported at major national and international volleyball competitions and already has ambitions to become a national team coach.
I’m so pleased he has been selected to attend the Youth Sport Trust’s Talent Camp, which supports talented young athletes and coaches. It’s a fantastic opportunity to develop his coaching skills, which will be invaluable for his future coaching career.
He once said to me that he will never leave volleyball and that it would always be a part of his life. Being involved in the sport has been so good for him. It’s helped with his school work, his confidence and he’s so sociable.
Sometimes I forget that Michael is only 15. He is very independent, which really helps him focus on his ambitions. Michael’s father died when he was seven, so he grew up very quickly. Since that moment, he decided to be a man of his own and that’s exactly what he has done. He’s fearless and that’s what I love most about him.
I know Michael will really make the most of being at the camp – I think he’s most excited about seeing his idol, Ben!
Aside from sport, he’s busy learning about politics with dreams of being a member of parliament. He also sits on the youth panel for Plan International UK. His life is so hectic and he’s only a teenager – I feel inspired. I’m sure I will be part of plenty more volleyball discussions, debates and analysis over the years, but nothing could make me prouder.
The National Talent Camp is delivered by The Youth Sport Trust and runs alongside the National Governing Bodies of Sport, sports coach UK, Sports Officials UK and Loughborough University with funding by Sport England thanks to the National Lottery.