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Our Awards

UK Coaching Awards 2021

The UK Coaching Awards is a unique opportunity for the sport and physical activity industry to honour and reward the work of #GreatCoaching across all levels in the UK.

This year's winners announced

The most impactful coaches and organisations were recognised and celebrated at the UK Coaching Awards 2021 ceremony in Leeds on Tuesday, 7 December.

In a year when our brilliant coaching workforce continued to push the boundaries, we celebrated the enormous benefits and transformative power of #GreatCoaching.

After an incredibly hard task, our independent judging panel whittled down hundreds of nominations, and the winners in each category were revealed:

  • Changing Lives Award Andrew Joyce, Christchurch
  • Coach Developer Andrew Noble, Sheffield
  • Coaching Chain, supported by Sport England Kadeena Cox MBE’s chain (Tom Hodkinson, Joe McDonnell, Jon Norfolk, Brian Scobie, Sue Bowles, John Westerman & Nathan Wells)
  • Coaching for an Active Life Award, supported by Spond Our Parks
  • Community Coach Adults, supported by Sport England Alice Tribedi, London
  • Community Coach Children & Young People, supported by sportscotland Sean Ross, Hull
  • Great Coaching Moment – Jane Figueiredo, London, for turning heartbreak into success with Tom Daley’s Olympic gold
  • High Performance Coach Richard Morris, Sheffield
  • Lifetime Achievement Award Richard Brickley, Fife
  • Talent Development Coach Julie Maiden, Milton Keynes
  • Transforming Coaching Award, supported by Reading Room Coach Core Foundation
  • Young Coach Tor Freeman, Biggleswade

Read the full story.

Awards for Coaches

You can learn more about each of the winners and finalists below (open to view the citation for each finalist):

Andrew Joyce (water sports) Winner

As England Adaptive Para-Surf Manager from 2017, Andrew has worked to ensure that adaptive surfing was still possible despite the complications of the pandemic. He helped to arrange training sessions for small groups of adaptive surfers, and over the last year he initiated and led the first Adaptive Surfing Roadshow in the UK, in order to allow more disabled people to try adaptive surfing for the first time.

Joe Lockley (boxing)

Joe leads Bright Star Boxing Academy, which focuses on supporting those in need through the power of sport. As part of his efforts to champion community sport, Joe has created programmes and sessions for people across many vulnerable groups, such as those who struggle to manage their mental health, those in recovery, those at risk of exploitation, and abuse survivors.

Rhona Wilson (multi-sport)

Rhona's coaching roles centre on working with young people who have barriers in their life stopping them from reaching their full potential, especially in a sport environment. To fully understand the needs of participants, Rhona conducted important research and led informal consultation sessions with young people, with a long-term vision to continually improve provision to support their community.

Marc Tamlyn (archery)

 

Marc coaches over one hundred individuals each week, and his desire to go above and beyond during the pandemic ensured school archery coaching and clubs could continue safely. Once more group activities were possible, Marc restarted coaching, modifying shooting procedures so that participants could shoot safe at a time when very few other social or sporting activities were available for young people.

Marcus Cabeca (capoeira)

Marcus has coached Capoeira for 16 years – and has founded his own school where he has introduced his students to not only technical aspects of the martial art, but with an educational focus on the aesthetic of the sport, the afro-Brazilian culture, the Portuguese language and the music associated with it. Aside Capoeira, Marcus has also founded a Kingston-based charitable organisation using creative thinking to build community cohesion.

Sean Ross (boxing) Winner

Sean is the founder of the East Hull Boxing Academy. Since taking up boxing himself aged 10, he recognised it was sport that had kept him on the right path in life and wanted to provide that same opportunity for others in the Hull area. Sean has achieved this and more. The club now have their very own European silver medallist – the first club to have had a European female champion in Hull’s history.

Alice Tribedi (multi-sport) Winner

As a professional dancer with a foot injury, Alice was told that she would never walk again – yet after hard work, training, and qualifications, she actively coaches dance/exercise for those aged 60, all the way up to 93. Alice provided her classes free for several months during the lockdowns – prioritising access to emotional and mental health support.

Tania Skerritt (multi-sport)

Tania is the Well-being Navigator for the residents of the Inspired Villages Group retirement village at Great Alne Park. When lockdown was imposed upon the UK, she ensured that householders had a set of basic equipment at home and set up a varied schedule of classes that could be accessed via Zoom. Tania also arranged for a Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards to visit the village to help inspire her participants, with Eddie engaging in one of her exercise classes.

Yvonne Bignall (Nordic Walking and multi-sport)

Yvonne led two programmes during the Covid pandemic as regulations allowed – with each of the programmes supporting participants with a wide variety of additional needs including autism, schizophrenia, and partial sight, plus older participants with physical limitations from knee or hip injuries. Yvonne also created an online introduction to Nordic Walking to inform any beginners to the sport.

Craig Morris (canoe slalom)

Craig helped his whole training squad of three athletes to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics – all the more impressive with just four spots available. This was an Olympic debut for each of the three athletes, with all three making their final, and Mallory Franklin taking home the first GB Silver medal in women’s C1.

Richard Morris (para-badminton) Winner

Richard returned from the Paralympic Games in Tokyo having led the team to a silver and bronze medal on the sport’s debut at the Paralympics. In addition to his success over the summer, Richard has coached players to numerous World and European Championship titles. Having worked hard to put Para-Badminton on the map, the sport has an exciting future with Richard at the helm.  

Scott Hann MBE (gymnastics)

Scott is Director of Coaching at South Essex Gymnastics Club, leads the performance Artistic Gymnastics programme in Scotland, and is personal coach to several elite gymnasts, including Max Whitlock MBE. Scott supported both gymnasts and coaches throughout the pandemic, making sure they were able to stay active and connected, including delivering coaching forums around Great Britain.

Josh Atkins (swimming)

Josh is the lead performance coach for Wycombe District Swimming Club, leading the Intermediate Performance Squad, which features swimmers aged 12-17 that are National Level. He is also responsible for the Talent ID of swimmers within the club’s programme. In 2021, the club had six swimmers selected to represent GB at the European Junior Open Water Championships – making up half the 12-strong team.

Julie Maiden (netball) Winner

Julie is both head coach of MK Dons and MK Netters and has achieved outstanding results producing young talent in her sport. She has used her coaching expertise to not only set a strong foundation for netball development in her region, but to have a wider positive social impact. Julie has achieved this by working with social justice charity Nacro to tackle youth crime and set up multiple youth projects with Councils and Sports Partnerships.

Matthew Puddy (swimming)

A swimming coach from Millfield School who is always smiling and who, despite exceptional success with his team, insists that on race day he prioritises having fun with his athletes. This year, he has coached a group of 30+ athletes at Regional level and above, and 10 of Matt's squad were selected for the National Development Programme.

Hannah Campbell (triathlon & swimming)

As soon as the pandemic began, Hannah proposed to Stirling Triathlon club that she run live Zoom turbo for the children, on an entirely voluntary basis. In the second lockdown, she continued to run online sessions but also started up a podcast called Sporting Routes, talking to inspirational athletes, plus a channel for young members to discuss mental health in sport.

Kieran Trimmer (swimming)

To keep morale high during the lockdowns, each week Kieran delivered a fun session on Zoom which ranged from treasure hunts to quizzes – putting his swimmers’ mental and emotional well-being first and bringing the group together, even while apart. Looking after around 60 children per session, Kieran also embedded a developmental element to his online sessions, as he built up the children's knowledge on each exercise.

Tor Freeman (basketball) Winner

Tor, who coaches St Albans U16s girls’ basketball team, made a choice to focus on coaching girls due to the lack of performance level opportunities for girls in the sport. Taking the pandemic complications in his stride, he kept his players engaged through a number of online activities: speaker sessions, video training sessions, video analysis, games, challenges and fitness activities – not missing a single session.

Further award winners on the night included the coaches of GB Paralympian Kadeena Cox MBE, winners of The Coaching Chain award, the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Richard Brickley, and Mussabini Medallists – coaches who supported their athletes to gold medals at this year’s Tokyo Games.

 

The coaches of GB Paralympian Kadeena Cox MBE won The Coaching Chain award and received their accolade at this year’s UK Coaching Awards.

Cox’s coaching chain has been recognised for their tremendous impact on her journey to success. The award signifies and celebrates the importance of progressive person-centred coaching and the continuous dedicated support and time invested in athletes throughout their careers.

The coaches behind the growth and development of multi-medallist Cox are Tom Hodgkinson Joe McDonnell, Jon Norfolk MBE, Brian Scobie, Sue Bowles, John Westerman and Nathan Wells.

Read the full story.

Richard Brickley was recognised for his outstanding service to participants with disabilities, having worked for over 40 years to give disabled people the best possible experience in sport and physical activity. His dedication to creating a culture of inclusion within sport led him to become the inaugural chair of the UK Coaching Learning and Leadership Group, which was formed in 2007, acting as an advisory group to help embed inclusive practices throughout coaching across the UK.

Read the full story.

Coaches of gold medallists at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, will receive a special accolade of the Mussabini Medal – named after Scipio Africanus Mussabini (Sam), widely recognised as a pioneer of modern sports coaching.

Between the 1908 and 1928 Games, Sam coached athletes to 11 Olympic medals, including five Golds. The tradition of awarding medals in Sam’s name dates back to the very start of the UK Coaching Awards.

Coaches to receive a Mussabini Medal include:

Adam Elliott Triathlon
Alex Pinniger Swimming
Andrew Pink Cycling
Angela Weiss Equestrian
Ben Bright Triathlon
Bradley Hay Swimming
Chris Bartle Equestrian
Colin Radmore Canoeing
Dan Henchy Cycling
Darren Matthews Wheelchair Rugby
David Turner Athletics
Glynn Tromans Boccia
Graeme Smith  Swimming
Graham Ravenscroft Athletics
Iain Dyer Cycling
Ian Johns Judo
Ian Mitchell Triathlon
Jacquie Marshall Swimming
Jan Bartu Pentathlon
Jane Figueiredo Diving
Jenni Banks Athletics
Joe McDonnell Athletics
John Hewitt Cycling
Lee Pullen Boxing

 

Marco Quattrini Pentathlon
Marcus Bloomfield BMX Racing
Matthew Lawrence Canoeing
Melanie Marshall MBE Swimming
Monica Greenwood Cycling
Nelson Lindsay MBE Swimming
Nick Baker Rowing
Nina Venables Equestrian
Paul Shaw Wheelchair Rugby
Peter Rome Fencing
Rich King Cycling
Rikki Bingham Archery
Ritchie Barber Swimming
Rob Tarr Wheelchair Rugby
Robin Armayan Swimming
Robin Brew Triathlon
Ryan Spencer Jones Athletics
Scott Hann MBE Gymnastics
Scott Pollock Cycling
Steve Doig Athletic
Steven Tigg Swimming
Tim Millett Swimming
Tom Dyson Rowing
Tom Hodgkinson Cycling

 

 

Awards in Support of Coaches

The following categories were awarded in support of coaches:

Andi Revell (gymnastics)

Andi is a High-Performance Trampoline Coach at AAAsports, where he leads mentors and develops a team of more than 20 coaches in various disciplines. As a high-performance coach for over ten years, Andi’s passion has evolved from coaching to coach development. During the pandemic, Andi launched an interactive delivery system for classes, which he trained coaches to use, and worked with British Gymnastics to transfer existing qualifications into virtual courses.

Andrew Noble (multi-sport) Winner

Andrew has been Development Manager at the Arches School Sport Partnership since 2013, where he works to provide physical education, sport, and physical activity opportunities for primary school children throughout Sheffield. Andrew is responsible for the recruitment, training and development of all Arches coaches – actively mentoring coaches and creating personal development plans to help support them on their coaching journey.

Wasim Collins (multi-sport)

Wasim works for Lifetime Training as a Learning Coach, where his role is to train sports coaches up to deliver the highest quality coaching and support for participants in the local community. He has focused on passing on his knowledge from working in the most deprived areas of Newcastle – and with the hardest to reach children – to the next generation of coaches coming through the organisation’s ranks.

Access Sport Wingz Disability Inclusion Project

Recognising a shortcoming in inclusion and accessibility training for coaches, the project addresses the issue at source, encouraging the cycling workforce to embrace an inclusive and pan-disability approach. The project has trained over 150 coaches, instructors and volunteers to date, improving their confidence, skills and understanding.

Our Parks Winner

Last year, Our Parks created Couch to Fitness, an online, on demand fitness programme which featured a diverse cast of personal trainers to help communities get active at home in their own time and at their own pace. This programme saw over 100,000 people take part, the majority of which were women and girls – going above and beyond to empower them through the power of community coaching.

Boing Kids

Boing is a project that supports coaches and educators, who in turn support young people. Their approach emphasises physical literacy as key to the process of development and embraces a constraints-led approach to pedagogy to elicit problem-based learning opportunities. As part of their PLAYUP initiative, in collaboration with Sport England and the Magic Academy, Boing produced a video series featuring child-friendly game ideas to incorporate into coaching sessions.

Coach Core Foundation Winner

Coach Core is an employment and education charity that uses a community sports apprenticeship to target young adults not in employment, education or training. This year, to prevent the pandemic stalling the essential development of upcoming trainees, the project delivered the first live-streamed End Point Assessments for Community Activator qualification in the UK, to allow learners to complete their apprenticeships.

Our Parks

Our Parks was created to break down barriers to exercise and since 2014, the initiative has focused specifically on working with ethnically diverse communities and lower socio-economic groups. As part of its Couch to Fitness programme launched this year, marginalised groups were motivated to remain physically active during the pandemic.

Great Coaching Moment of the Year – 2021

The Great Coaching Moment Award focuses not only on the material successes of coaches but on how they ground their work in putting people first. And with each of the incredible nominees, their unique connection with their team or athlete sets them apart and typifies what great coaching is all about.

Following a close public vote, the winner was announced at the awards ceremony on Tuesday 7 December as coaching legend Jane Figueiredo, who was instrumental in assisting British Olympic poster boy Tom Daley win his first gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

You can learn more about Jane's Great Coaching Moment and the other finalists below, which were nominated and judged by an independent panel.

 

Zimbabwe-born coaching legend Jane Figueiredo was the catalyst to helping British Olympic poster boy Tom Daley win his first gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Previously coaching Russia to Olympic gold in Sydney 2000, Figueiredo joined British Swimming as Head Diving Coach in 2014 with the experience, mentality and determination to bring gold to Great Britain. After heartbreak at the Rio Olympics, where Daley failed to reach the final, Figueiredo made the tactical decision to pair Daley with new partner Matty Lee at Tokyo 2020, and they brought home the gold medal in spectacular fashion in the Men's synchronized 10m platform diving event.

Alongside the technical aspect, Figueiredo was able to alleviate the huge public expectation on Daley, by turning his perceived failures into his biggest successes, as well as banning talks of winning a gold until both Daley and Lee were stood on the winner’s podium.

The whole nation had to wait a long time to see Daley win gold, but with a special coach like Figueiredo in charge, was it ever really in doubt?

 

In August this year, Great Britain national wheelchair rugby team head coach Paul Shaw, his backroom staff and mix-gender team of elite athletes, managed to turn what once seemed an impossible feat into reality, when The Sweet Chariots delivered gold at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Becoming mainstream stars in the process with their high-scoring, competitive matches, it’s easy to forget how far the GB national wheelchair rugby team has come after facing many bumps in the road. As a three-time Paralympian athlete himself, head coach Paul Shaw and his team of coaches were able to create a winning mentality and defeat all obstacles to lead the team to their first ever gold medal.

It was only a few years prior that the team had lost all their funding, but both the coaching and support team continued as unpaid volunteers and managed to turn a team on the brink of oblivion into the pinnacle of their sport. 

 

After receiving criticism prior to Euro 2020 that taking the knee had become overused, outdated and unnecessary, Three Lions coach Gareth Southgate stood up in front of the world and said England were “more determined than ever” to take the knee during the multi-hosted international tournament.

Southgate’s foresight and determination to protect his team, fight racism and continue to take the knee was vindicated after three of England’s top stars faced horrific racial abuse after missing penalties in the heart-breaking final defeat against Italy at Wembley.

Under Southgate’s leadership, England have transformed from serial underachievers to one of the best teams in the world, but after all the drama, the penalty heartbreak and the abhorrent racist behaviour, it is his leadership qualities, the support and protection he gives to his players, and his determination to fight racism that continues to create a community of players and backroom staff that the nation can be proud of.

One picture perfectly sums up Southgate as a great person and a great coach: Holding a tearful Bukayo Saka through the toughest moment of his career.

 

Preparing for the biggest stage of them all is one of the most challenging prospects an athlete and coach will face in their career. For Gaz Choudhry, who became player-coach for the British wheelchair basketball team on the eve of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, calling his preparation challenging would be an understatement.

Prior to travelling to Tokyo, wheelchair basketball coach Haj Bhania tested positive for Covid and was unable to travel with the team. With plans in turmoil, tactics in the air and a team missing a coach, the wheelchair basketball team needed a leader, and Choudhry took the nation on his shoulders and stepped up to become player-coach and lead the team to an unprecedented bronze medal.

Choudhry received deserved praise from the nation and his teammates but played down his role in their success and instead focused the praise on the community and the collective identity of the wheelchair basketball team and staff.

Reflecting on his journey to and from Tokyo in an Instagram post, the humble Choudhry spoke of his determination to keep aiming to improve and be the best.

 

UK Coaching’s CEO Mark Gannon reflected on the huge variety of coaching talent announced as finalists, saying:

This year the bar has been raised once again, and whilst we are fully aware of the power of coaching across the UK, our brilliant coaching workforce continues to surprise us and push the boundaries to support people and their communities.

“The complications and anxieties caused by the pandemic have affected so many, but coaches have been there every step of the way ready and willing to adapt – not just persevering but excelling. Out of the nation’s darkest moments, coaches have stepped up to be leaders and mentors to their participants, when they needed it most – and that is what great coaching is all about.

Nearly three million people regularly coach across the UK and joining us in December will be the very best of what is a remarkable workforce, who have responded to the call of a nation who for so long were deprived of ‘normal’ physical activity and sport.

“Thank you to all our coaches across the UK, and to our finalists.”

The UK Coaching Awards recognise and reward great coaching from a diverse array of backgrounds, honouring people and organisations that demonstrate the role #GreatCoaching plays in transforming lives and making the nation a healthier and happier place.

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