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Great Coaching Moment 2019

The Great Coaching Moment vote is now closed.

This award celebrates the moment that distinguishes a coach from their focus on a game or a result to their focus on the person or people in front of them; the moments when ‘we’ see or hear about a coach doing something humanistic to support and guide their athlete or athletes.

Gareth Southgate

Bulgaria vs England Euro 2020 qualifier

© Eddie Keogh for The FA/​Shutterstock


In very difficult circumstances, Gareth Southgate led England to a 6-0 victory over Bulgaria during Euro 2020 qualifying.

With racist chants and right-wing salutes aimed at England’s black players, the match was stopped twice and nearly abandoned altogether as Southgate, his players and backroom staff followed UEFA’s protocol for dealing with racism.

Ultimately, Southgate’s display of decision making and leadership qualities, supporting and protecting his players and the wider team, meant as a collective they managed the abhorrent racism – with their actions and their football – as robustly as they could.

There is one moment from the match that shows the type of person-centred bond that Southgate has with his players: His heartfelt embrace with Marcus Rashford as he was substituted from the game.

John Blackie

2019 World Athletics Championships

© PA


Essex-born coach John Blackie, who Dina Asher-Smith has called her ‘second dad’, is the guru behind the British sprinter’s triumphs at this year’s World Athletics Championships in Doha, where she won the 200m gold, 100m silver and 4x100m relay silver.

Asher-Smith’s journey with Blackie began at Blackheath and Bromley Harriers AC, when she was just eight years old. And in a candid column she wrote in The Telegraph prior to making history in Doha – becoming the first Briton to win three medals at a major global athletics championships – she thanked him for the crucial role he has played in the making of her success, commenting on his joy in supporting and helping others to fulfil their potential.

It is fitting that Asher-Smith then went on to share her moment in the spotlight with him, dedicating her world gold to his ‘patience, intelligence and wisdom’.

Mel Marshall

2019 World Aquatics Championships

© The Telegraph


Mel Marshall is one of Britain’s most decorated swimmers and the world-class swim coach who helped mastermind Adam Peaty’s success. This year, Peaty broke his own world record in the semi-final of the 100m breaststroke at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships in South Korea with a time of 56.88. Going on to retain his title and win gold in the 50m breaststroke as well.

Their coach-athlete relationship started when Peaty was 15, with Marshall motivating his rise from a club swimmer to a World, European, Commonwealth and Olympic Games champion.

In a recent Instagram post, Peaty encapsulated their coaching journey, with a snapshot of them working together and the caption ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’.

Jürgen Klopp

2018-2019 UEFA Champions League Winner

© Xinhua News Agency/​Shutterstock


After finishing as runners-up in the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League final, Liverpool FC manager Jürgen Klopp made amends this year, beating Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in Madrid. The win gave the German his first trophy with Liverpool and his first Champions League title, cementing his name in the hearts and minds of the Anfield faithful.

The coaching moment to savour came in the second leg of the semi-final, when Liverpool produced, arguably, one of the best come-backs in sporting history, booking their place in the Champions League Final by thrashing Lionel Messi’s Barcelona 4-0, having been 3-0 down from the first leg. With his arms clasped around the shoulders of Virgil Van Dijk and Mo Salah, Klopp belted out the iconic ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ in harmony with the Kop, bringing the community of supporters together with the players and lifting the whole club.

In the footage, Salah is wearing a t-shirt with the words ‘never give up’ printed on; a nice synopsis of Klopp’s coaching style, which assistant manager Pepijin Lijnders said is about team building – connecting, understanding and developing people.