TFA Volunteer Of The Year Award 5 Web Hero (1)

Every Club has one – someone who’s on the ground getting the job done without fuss. For Devonport Touch, that’s Matt Bowles. Matt is the driving force behind the delivery of competitions and making positive wholesale changes at the Club. Matt’s involvement doesn’t stop there, he’s an active player and coach meaning his contributions are felt throughout Devonport. Matt has found much joy in sharing the knowledge and skills of the sport he loves over the years. He’s a positive ambassador of the sport and one that the community is grateful to have!

As our Bristol Volunteer of the Month, we speak to Matt about his journey and the role he performs in his local community. 

Congratulations Matt, can you tell us how you became involved in Touch Football?

My Touch Football journey started back in high school when a great man by the name of Dale Langford organised me and a few mates from school to form a team and get involved in Touch Footy. Dale was heavily involved and an Aussie representative in the 90’s and was a big driving force to get me involved and consequently loving the sport. I’m grateful for Dale and his introduction to this great game.

What do you enjoy/love the most about Touch Football?  

It’s hard to narrow it down to just one aspect but I think for me it’s the family and social aspects of the sport that I’ve enjoyed the most. I’ve been involved in many teams over the years playing with couples, father/son and brother/sister teams. It’s great to be apart of a sport that enables you to share moments and memories with friends and family.

I have had the pleasure of playing with my partner, Andrea, and I am looking forward to playing with my son Jasper who is currently 10 and still a few years away from us playing together in the mixed team.

You wear many hats? What element do you enjoy the most?

Playing! Although my body is starting to let me down….

In the last 5 years I’ve turned my attention to coaching which I certainly enjoy. I had coached in the past sporadically at Tasmanian State Cup level but a few years ago I took on the role of assistant coach for the U18 Girls Tassie Thunder team. I did that for a couple of years and then accepted the role as U18 Boys head coach three years ago. I’ve loved working with the juniors to improve their skills and game knowledge which I hope results in them sticking with the game for as long as they can!

A challenging aspect of coaching which I’ve enjoyed is learning how to coach and set up drills to target specific skills. Every year I look at the other teams at Touch Football events and take notes on how they warm-up to achieve certain outcomes. I’ve certainly picked up many drills and skills from other teams which I’ve taken with me to apply in our program.

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What is your favourite memory or moment in the game?

I’ve had a few!

Recently, Jasper debuted for Tassie in the U12’s at the DoorDash National Youth Championships. It was great watching him play and be involved in the event. The team only had one player who had played at the tournament before, so it was certainly a big learning curve for the group. The team was able to implement specific goals for each game outside of the scoreboard which was a great way to keep the kids focussed and ensure they came away with key learnings. It was great to hear Jasper speaking about how much fun he had at the event and how he can’t wait for next year.

Another memory that comes to mind was the Tasmanian senior mixed team winning their only NTL title roughly 5 years ago. Tasmania has traditionally struggled at the event in the past when you consider the number of teams that attend the event and the strength of Tasmania compared to some of the other teams. It was an incredible result for the team and Touch Football in the Apple Island.

What have been the biggest advancements in the sport in your opinion?

It’s hard to look past the increased skills and agility in the game compared to when I was growing up. Even watching the top teams at the DoorDash National Youth Championships this year, the kids were elite and still at such a young age.

I think the improved development at such a young age is thanks to the standards of the programs being implemented at each club. The kids are growing up with far greater coaching and resources available to help them understand the game and develop their skills. I saw a club advertising for their U6 competition – when you start learning the game at that age it certainly helps!

VOM October (1)

Finally, if you were to be named Volunteer of the Year and $5,000 towards a paint project, what projects come to mind?

Our clubrooms have one wall that is currently a very angry red. It would be great to repaint the entire clubrooms with the red wall transforming into a rainbow to promote out rainbow round in February which promotes inclusiveness and diversity.

As our volunteer of the Month, Matt is now eligible for the Bristol Paint TFA Volunteer of the Year (VOY) Award. The TFA VOY will receive paint to the value of $5,000 for a project of their choice, thanks to our friends at Bristol Paint.

DON’T FORGET  All Touch Footy participants are entitled to 15-20% OFF Bristol Paint products.  Download your exclusive discount card on our website, here.

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