When I first started uSports it was with a passion for sports and a slight naivety into what really goes into running a business. As the business has grown, so has the team and the number of opportunities that we can provide to local sports coaches. We've seen a huge amount of success in the last few years, especially through our work with schools and nurseries, local parents and with local councils in delivering the HAF programme to children eligible for free school meals.
Putting you first has always been at the heart of everything uSports does. As the business grows, it's harder to stay in touch on a more personal level with every single person that interacts with uSports, but through having a company culture that strives on providing an excellent service, it helps knowing we have a team passionate in positively impacting young people.
Having had the privilege of working with so many children over the last four years it brings back some really positive memories. I'd be here all day if I wrote about all of the amazing memories I have with uSports. I could talk about:
Coach Owen's hilarious story cycling back from Beechwood...
The amazing reviews we have received
The loyalty shown by parents that still work with us after 4 years
The incredible opportunities we are offering children on free school meals
That time my van went in a lake 🙈
That time I smashed the side of the van into a post
The thank you cards from one to be one clients
The virtual PE lessons we delivered through lockdown
The first time I ever employed someone
Getting butterflies after a school says they want to work with us
The first time I saw the uSports logo
There have also been some incredibly hard days since starting uSports. None more so than I have faced in the last 18 months. I always try to put a smile on my face and promote everything that we are doing but behind the mask is a real person that struggles with the day-to-day pressures of running a business. Stressing about various different things going on in the business. It is by no means an easy journey but as the business grows and I develop as a manager and a leader I am learning what it takes to run a successful business.
I still remember my first session going into the primary school that I actually grew up in. The session was on a cold January afternoon. I didn't have any uSports branding at that point other than a hoody and so I would stand outside in the freezing cold, refusing to wear a coat because I wanted everybody to know who uSports was. The same approach has followed me throughout the last 4 years with uSports. None more so than on a bitterly cold evening where a coach turned up wearing one of our competitor's coats so I gave him mine. Little did I realise that evening we were scheduled for a thunderstorm and it hammered it down for an hour straight. See picture below!
We can't talk about the past year without addressing the elephant in the room... COVID. uSports now is bigger than it ever was before COVID, but we have certainly not passed through the pandemic and lockdowns unscathed. November 2020 saw the start of the second 'big' lockdown where we once again were facing school closures and uncertainty. It was a difficult time as a sports coach and a business owner. It became more difficult to support the children we usually work with on a daily basis so we continued to adapt and provide online videos and virtual support, our videos are now helping children across the world to keep active with viewers in Australia, Hong Kong and beyond! It was also an incredibly difficult time as a business owner, we were able to continue more sessions during the winter lockdown but still saw our in person provisions nearly halt. Not knowing when a business which you had worked on for over three years would be able to get back up to where it had been was tough. I kept myself busy reflecting on the business, finding ways to improve myself through reading books and even by doing a bit of DIY by re-landscaping my garden! It was tough, that's undebatable, but it is something we will all never forget. There were so many positives as well as we got to interact with our uSports community in new ways. One highlight has to be our cake baking challenge where one family designed a whole cake around the uSports brand which looked absolutely incredible!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank every coach that's ever worked for uSports. Every school and parent that's chosen us and every child that has attended the sessions. uSports would not be the same without any of you and I can't wait to see who we are going to be working with over the next four years and beyond.
Fingers crossed there's no mention of COVID in our next birthday post...!