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Great Coaching Video Wall

Some leading figures from the world of sport and coaching share their views on the transformative benefits that great coaching can have on lives and communities

For our #Born2Coach campaign, sporting luminaries and some of Britain’s best coaches tell us about their experience of great coaching. We asked them:

  • What is #GreatCoaching?
  • What qualities do you need to be a great coach?
  • What is the impact of great coaching?

A great coach is someone who wants to help, who wants to improve someone… and just bring out the very best, the very pure essence, that hides somewhere in all of us.”

Dame Katherine Grainger DBE – Chair of UK Sport. Gold and silver Olympian and World champion

Great coaches are like great gardeners. They prepare the soil; they plant; they find a little bit of rain, which isn’t always comfortable, but they put a lot of sunshine, a lot of reward, a lot of support, a lot of encouragement. Those are the qualities that really help people grow.”

Baroness Sue Campbell DBE – Director of Women’s Football at The FA. Former Chair of UK Sport

Coaches empower athletes to explore and develop themselves as athletes and as human beings… and enable them to achieve more than they believed possible.”

Sally Munday – CEO UK Sport

We should all want to be happier and healthier in the lives that we live. It’s a coach that can make that happen…  a great coach is an inclusive coach who understands that it is about the enjoyment and fun of everybody, as well as being able to make it work for those who take their sport as seriously as many do.”

Tim Hollingsworth OBE – Chief Executive of Sport England

For me I feel very lucky to have Scott [Hann]. He's not just my coach. We're family as well. The work he's done shows, not just from our elite side but all the way down to the two and three-year-olds."

Max Whitlock – Great Britain gymnast and triple Olympic gold medallist

The reason I started coaching was... to try and help people reach their maximum potential. But it's so much more than that now. It's a journey. It's people. And every one of the athletes I've worked with is still a massive part of my life. If people feel they've got a family outside of the family, they are going to want to do that sport forever."

Scott Hann – Director of Coaching, South Essex Gymnastics Club and Max Whitlock's coach

Anyone who's a coach needs to realise that you are there to improve that person functionally, physically, but you are also there to help them as a human being."

Jonnie Peacock – Double Paralympic 100 metres champion

Coaches are not only your mentors, they are your oracle. They know everything you want to have to be a successful sportsperson and person."

Colin Jackson – Two-time World champion and Olympic silver medallist, 110 metres hurdles

Patience, real vision and passion, and I think empathy and understanding for the way in which different people react to coaching are probably the biggest qualities… When you speak to athletes now and former athletes, they will often talk about the impact that their coach has had on their life development.”

Sally Bolton OBE – Chief Executive Wimbledon All England Lawn Tennis Club

You’ve got to be open-minded as a coach and curious… have that ability to be able to listen really, really well at a deeper level so that people really feel you care about them.”

Ben Ryan – Olympic gold medal-winning head coach of Fiji 7s

It’s so important to get behind sport and coaching for the valuable role it plays in the community. The NHS took care of health [during the pandemic], and it’s sport and coaching’s job to take care of hope.”

Mel Marshall MBE – Adam Peaty’s head coach and former Olympic swimmer

Every individual is different, so what works for some doesn't work for others. So coaching is really about that two-way relationship in trying to get the best out of the athlete... Coaching is such a fantastic job. It's so rewarding and personally I love it!"

Dani Rowe – Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist, who is a coach with Rowe & King Cycle Coaching

A coach who massively influenced me was Lyn Gunson. She was definitely about the holistic, and not just about netball and performing. She taught me so much in terms of respecting people and how to support and manage myself outside of sport.”

Ama Agbeze – Captain of England netball's 2018 gold medal-winning Commonwealth Games team

Great coaches take you out of your comfort zone… and give you all the tools in their arsenal for you to enjoy that sport or activity… live longer and more fulfilling lives, and meet new people.”

Born Barikor – CEO and Founder Our Parks

Robin [Williams] who coached me and Helen [Glover], he looked at us holistically… it wasn’t just our performance on the water. He looked after us off the water as well. The happiness of us and our families was equally important because if you are a happy athlete, you are going to perform at your best.”

Heather Stanning OBE – double Olympic and World rowing champion

I believe there are three fundamental qualities of a great coach. One is getting me out of my comfort zone… the second is the capacity to listen and support… and the third is to make it fun. Great coaching had a massive impact on me. When I was an athlete, it gave me wings!”

Michael Inpong – Strategy and Marketing Director Muller UK & Ireland, and coach

You’ve got to be able to see feedback and give it back in a very positive manner. And I always love that positivity, the energy that a coach has. You’ve got to be open, understanding, empathetic, and really understand everything that athlete’s going through.”

Chemmy Alcott – four-time winter Olympian, coach and Ski Sunday presenter

Some coaches, years ago, when you speak about disability were a bit unsure and I saw the gap… of how to coach, and also how to help those coaches help riders like myself. And I love it!”

Kiera Byland – six times Special Olympics World Games gold medallist

What constitutes good behaviour comes before we talk about sport and BMX, because it’s all about getting your mind right first before you go into action.”

CK Flash – aka Michael Pusey MBE, CEO Peckham BMX Club

I was fortunate enough to work with the great Bobby Robson and he was ahead of his time and he got the best out of his players… by being a very very good human being.”

Mick Harford – Luton Town assistant manager and former professional footballer

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