Volleyball boy 'sorry for' William

A 13-year-old boy serving volleyballs at the Duke of Cambridge has joked that he "felt sorry" for William after he was unable to return them.

The Duke took part in a volleyball game at the Westway Sports Centre in north Kensington, London, today while visiting young apprentice sports coaches taking part in a mentoring programme he helped to create.

William started off shakily during a coaching skills session in which he spent most of his time on court looking around to see where he was meant to be and to whom he should be passing the ball.

But Greg Mateo, a mentor helping the apprentices run the drill, said the Duke quickly found his stride.

"He came in late, but he adapted very quickly," Mr Mateo said.

"I think we were all confused initially, but part of the objective is to have confusion and work through that confusion and I think he was able to do that pretty well."

William then tried his skills in a volleyball game, where serving the ball over the net seemed to be his strength.

He was also adept at spiking the ball over.

But the royal visitor appeared to meet his match when trying to return the serve of 13-year-old Vinojh Kalaiselvan.

The Duke tried to dig the ball on the first occasion but missed and then let the ball practically land at his feet when the pint-sized volleyballer served again.

After the first miss, a still buoyant William kept up the talk with his team-mates, shouting: "Sorry, my bad."

Vinojh joked afterwards: "I felt a bit sorry for him.

"But it was a very good game, he did well.

"I was nervous playing because I had never met the Prince before."

Vinojh said while his serving prowess against William would make a great story for his friends, he was happy to offer some advice.

"I think it was his first time playing, so if he practises and practises, he'll get better," he said.

William attended the event as patron of the The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

The royal trio's charity launched the Coach Core programme in July last year - a day before the London Olympics.

It provides an intense training programmeme for 16 to 24-year-olds, many from disadvantaged social backgrounds, to become qualified sports coaches and inspire their peers.

William met Coach Core's advisory board and young apprentices from pilot programmes in London and Glasgow, which were run through organisations Greenhouse and Glasgow Life.

He also met apprentices from partner project RBI Harlem, which is supported by The American Friends of The Royal Foundation.

The Duke then watched the apprentice coaches take part in volleyball and basketball training sessions, before trying his hand at volleyball himself.

The sport might be a favourite for the royal couple - the Duchess of Cambridge made headlines in October while playing volleyball during her first official outing since giving birth to Prince George.

Kate's slim post-baby figure, revealed in skinny jeans and a top that showed her midriff during the game, became the main talking point during the event to help SportsAid workshop.

But today's focus was on the benefits the apprentice coaches were gaining from the Coach Core programme.

William finished his visit with a pep talk for the soon-to-be-qualified coaches.

He said he expected to see them on the sidelines at a future Olympic Games for Great Britain.

"I can see it now, coaching the next gold medals," he said to cheers.

Apprentice volleyball coach Rakeem Caesar, 18, said he was excited to have met the Duke and be involved in the programmeme.

He said his life was taking a turn for the worse before he became involved in sports.

"When I was younger I was defensive, I used to get angry and would get into arguments with other pupils," he said.

"If a teacher got involved I wouldn't care, I would feel really mad."

Mr Caesar said after meeting an inspiring coach who encouraged him to play volleyball, he was able to challenge his anger and let off steam.

He now hopes to be a similar role model for other young people.

"I've become more confident and I'm able to use my dedication to the sport to help younger pupils at my school."

Glasgow Life project director David Bickley said the programme was about more than helping the apprentices with their coaching skills.

"We often provide support that they wouldn't get in their home lives," he said.

The current crop of London-based apprentice coaches are expected to graduate after Christmas.

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