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04 Dec 2020 1,058

Man-of-the-moment Marcus Rashford’s coaches honoured at UK Coaching Awards

Eleven prizes were awarded at the prestigious annual celebration of Great Coaching – the UK Coaching Awards, which were hosted virtually by Olympian and broadcaster Jeanette Kwakye on Thursday, 3 December.

The awards showcase the diverse work of coaches, projects and organisations, making a huge difference to the health and happiness of the nation, especially against the backdrop of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Coaching Chain, which celebrates the contributions of several coaches to an athlete’s journey to success, was this year awarded to the coaches of Marcus Rashford MBE.

The England forward, who hails Wythenshawe, has been a fantastic performer for the Red Devils since making his first-team debut aged 18. This year, after campaigning successfully to persuade the Government to extend free school meal vouchers during the summer holidays; receiving an MBE from the Queen for his services to vulnerable children during COVID-19; and attracting a million signatures on his petition to end child food poverty, we were duly reminded of the 23 year-old’s razor-sharp striking ability when he disposed of RB Leipzig in the Champions League with his first senior hat-trick for United.

The coaches and mentors behind his growth and development are Colin Little, Dave Bushell, David Horrocks, Eamon Mulvey, Louis van Gaal, Maria Kelly, Neil Harris, Paul McGuinness, Stuart Leicester, Tarun Kapur and Tony Whelan.

Marcus Rashford, said:

I have worked with so many amazing coaches and staff throughout my time in the academy, every single one of them has had an impact on the player and person that I am today. These people really deserve more recognition for the hard work that goes into ensuring young players are enjoying their experiences and are reaching their potential both on and off the pitch.

“It’s a massive step up to get into the first team at this club, but it is one that academy players are always ready to take because of the way in which they are coached from a young age. I’ll always be grateful to everyone involved in moulding me into a Manchester United player, as well as a Manchester United person.”

Picking up the High Performance Coach of the Year award was Peter Rome. The wheelchair fencing coach bolstered a formidable GB disability fencing team, when he joined them six months before the 2016 Rio Paralympics. A silver medal for one of the two athletes who qualified, signalled the start of a successful era, with UK Sport funding allowing him to start a world class programme, with athletes like Piers Gilliver, who are now a major force on the world stage – having won 20 international medals or more in each of the last two years.

Rome sets high standards but has the total respect and buy-in of his athletes by remaining calm under pressure, patient and clear in his messaging, and always leading by example.

Peter Rome, said:

The shock is still settling in. It was an amazing ceremony, even under the circumstances. To still get the inspiration and see the depth of coaching within the UK was just phenomenal. It was inspiring just to see all the presentations. It brought back memories of when I was a grassroots coach and working in clubs and communities. I’m obviously very delighted to win the award, but it was an amazing event and very well hosted.

"It was inspiring to see what people have done [this year], to be a coach in this environment. To give that joy, that enthusiasm. To develop people through many different scenarios has been an eye-opener and it’s almost ‘what I can learn from [these coaches]’ as well. It makes me want to continue to develop."

Labelled “one of the best” by former Celtic and Scotland striker Kenny Miller, Donald Park won the Lifetime Achievement Award, to recognise his achievements through a lifetime dedicated to coaching.

Originally from Lochaber in the Highlands and affectionately known as ‘Parky’, his impact on Scottish football has stretched far and wide. Across his career, which spans five decades, he has been a player, coach, manager, coach educator, volunteer and member of staff with the Scottish FA. His reach has largely included working with young Scottish talent at grassroots clubs, professional clubs and at international level.

Parky, said:

If I’m being completely honest, it’s an absolute shock to receive this award. To be presented with this award for doing something that I’ve loved for so long, and been very lucky to be involved in, is very humbling. It’s very nice to hear from players and coaches I’ve worked with during my career and what they have to say about me. I’ve been lucky to have worked with so many talented people and seeing some familiar faces when I received the award meant a lot to me.

Among the other award winners was Wigan’s Scott Burns, who, as a volunteer, set up the Wigan Warriors’ Physical Disability and Learning Disability rugby league teams. Now the disability and inclusion officer and head coach for both teams, Burns took home the Changing Lives Award.

Thanks to his inclusive philosophy, relationship-building skills, regular team-building trips and the opportunity to play in stadiums all over the country, his players’ confidence and self-esteem has soared.

Scott Burns, said:

It’s unbelievable [to win the award]. Seeing our players develop as people, as well as players, it’s absolutely everything. It’s why we are in this job. We want to grow the individual and cater for them first of all. Rugby league, and sport in general, is just the vehicle, that’s just the thing that we use to get people the opportunities to thrive in society.

Talent Development Coach of the Year was awarded to Emma Collings-Barnes. As director of swimming at Mount Kelly Boarding and Day School, she has created a welcoming culture that has culminated in a hugely popular, maximum capacity programme. She has raised the standards of performance and vastly improved team spirit.

Collings-Barnes has also been selected for the British Swimming Coach 2024 Programme and has previously attended UK Coaching’s prestigious Women into High Performance Coaching Programme.

Emma Collings-Barnes, said:

I’m shocked but delighted. This year has been about rolling with the punches, taking each day as it comes and making sure the athlete is at the forefront of everything. It’s been a challenge, but I’ve got a great team around me and it’s actually been enjoyable in a strange way.

"Young talent across all sports are crying out for competition. They’ve stayed strong and put their faith in their coaches and they’ve been fantastic. What they now need is that boost of competition, so hopefully that isn’t too far away."

In the Awards in Support of Coaches category, the Transforming Coaching Award went to the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) Cities Programme Team.

The ECB set out to recruit 2000 women from South Asian backgrounds as volunteers for its All Stars Cricket programme, across seven cities.

The Cities Programme Team worked to deliver an aspirational and representative marketing campaign titled ‘Dream Big Desi Women’ that engaged their target audience. They addressed the cultural barriers to coaching by holding national cricket programmes in non-traditional locations, where the women could feel comfortable and could travel to easily, including faith and community spaces. They also introduced modest kit options for its volunteers, including longer t-shirts, loose fitting trousers, long-sleeve skins and a sports hijab.

Reflecting on this year’s awards, UK Coaching’s Director of Coaching Emma Atkins, said:

Our heartfelt congratulations to all our winners and finalists. What you’ve all achieved in this extremely difficult year is superb. You and the rest of the 3 million coaches in the UK have gone beyond the call of duty to make sure your participants didn’t lose momentum with their sport and physical activity goals and ambitions or weren’t isolated from the social-side of activity. You realised that for your participants, and indeed yourselves, coaching and staying active isn’t just a hobby or a past-time, it’s a way of life that deeply affects mental and physical well-being.

“You and the rest of the 3 million coaches in the UK have gone beyond the call of duty to make sure your participants didn’t lose momentum with their sport and physical activity goals and ambitions or weren’t isolated from the social-side of activity. You realised that for your participants, and indeed yourselves, coaching and staying active isn’t just a hobby or a past-time, it’s a way of life that deeply affects mental and physical well-being.

“We applaud you for your efforts, your inspirational resilience and the way you conducted yourself without fuss or fanfare.  

“As we move towards Christmas and the new year, our message to the British public is don’t forget to thank your coach for the positive impact they’re having on yours and other people’s lives. Be kind, support one another and stay connected – we’re here for the coach.”

The full winners on the night were:

Awards for Coaches:

Children and Young People’s Coach of the Year

  • Tom Bowen-Hall (rugby union) (Wiltshire, Melksham)

Community Coach of the Year

  • Prina Karia (badminton) (East Midlands, Leicester)

Changing Lives Award

  • Scott Burns (rugby league) (Greater Manchester, Wigan)

Talent Development Coach of the Year

  • Emma Collings-Barnes (swimming) (Devon, Tavistock)

High Performance Coach of the Year 

  • Peter Rome (wheelchair fencing) (West Midlands, Coventry)

Young Coach of the Year

  • Amy Moulton (gymnastics) (Somerset, Yeovil)

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Donald Park (football) (Scotland, Lochaber)

The Coaching Chain

  • Marcus Rashford (football) – Colin Little, Dave Bushell, David Horrocks, Eamon Mulvey, Louis van Gaal, Maria Kelly, Neil Harris, Paul McGuinness, Stuart Leicester, Tarun Kapur and Tony Whelan.

Awards in Support of Coaches:

Coach Developer of the Year

  • Sarah Green (netball) (East Midlands, Nottingham)

Transforming Coaching Award

  • ECB - Cities Programme Team

Coaching for an Active Life Award

  • Scottish Disability Sport - Be Active, Be Well