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Former CHS Student's South African Coaching Adventure

James Hodgetts, a former Congleton High School student, has returned from a football coaching programme in South Africa realising that he can make a big difference to people’s lives. James, 19, is currently in his second year of a Sport and Exercise Psychology degree at Bangor University and was selected by Wirral-based, The HQ Coaching Centre, to take part in the scheme in Cape Town to help deprived children develop their football skills.

James said that the 10-day trip "is the greatest thing I've done in my life!" adding:

“I am extremely proud of the fundraising I’ve undertaken, raising £1,500 to allow me to travel to South Africa to coach sports in the township schools. The timescale was short, I was accepted onto the trip in May 2015 and had raised the funds by September 2015, using a variety of methods, such as tombola, raffles and general selling.

“During the trip I coached underprivileged children and gained valuable experience and a new outlook on life. I worked with different group members at a number of schools in challenging conditions every day, presenting and delivering a sports session.

The experience has hugely improved my confidence; teaching children with differing ages and ability, while coping with the language barrier. There were constant challenges throughout the trip and our sessions had to be adapted to meet these last minute demands. I was very pleased when the trip co-ordinator praised my control and focus.

Matthew Houghton, Sports Director at The HQ Coaching Centre, said:

James dedication to the session planning was really good and he had impressive organisation skills. I was also really pleased to see his confidence and communications skills develop during the trip. The whole concept of the programme is to help springboard students into further and higher education and the transferable skills gained on our programmes are incredibly useful for future careers such as sports development and teaching.

James studied at Congleton High until 2014, studying GCSEs including PE - incorporating sports coaching with a table tennis element - History, French and ICT, along with undertaking the Sports Leaders Programme in Year 10. He recalled how teachers from the PE Team, including Mr de Souza, Mr Naylor and Mr Cross all helped him to improve his coaching abilities along with IT Technician, Mr Naylor, with whom who would regularly play table tennis during his lunch hours.

After leaving CHS, James progressed on to Reaseheath College to specialise in Sports Coaching before starting out on his degree at Bangor. He has also undertaken various coaching qualifications and holds Football Association (FA) and English Table Tennis Association (ETTA) coaching badges and his Sports Leaders Qualification.

Once he has completed his Sport and Exercise Psychology degree, James' next step is a Masters Degree in Sports Psychology. Congleton High wishes James Hodgetts every success and looks forward to hearing more great news of his achievements in the future.

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