Coaching Achievements Celebrated with Three National Awards
Gymnastics was well represented at this year’s UK Coaching Hero Awards with six out of the 25 overall awards presented to gymnastics coaches from Scotland and Wales at the ceremony in Leeds on 6 October.
Three gymnastics coaches from across Scotland were recognised and celebrated for their commitment to gymnastics – and their ability to innovate and keep gymnasts engaged with sport over the difficult lockdown period.
From 500 public nominations, a long list of 75 coaches from 65 different places around the UK and representing nearly 40 sports and activities were chosen for public vote. During UK Coaching Week 2021, people were able to vote for their favourite coach and over 65,000 votes were cast in the ballot to decide the overall winners.
At the ceremony, Amy Chambers from Meadowbank, Greg Roberston from Kilmarnock Acrobatic and Megan Bennington from Stewartry were presented with an award by HRH The Princess Royal.
Emma Atkins, director of coaching at UK Coaching said:
Many congratulations to all our winners. We applaud your efforts and the role you played in your communities, boosting morale and lifting people’s moods in a completely alienating time.
“Helping people to use sport and physical activity positively through challenging times is a privilege and one which carries huge responsibilities, and you took your duties seriously, using your initiative to create solutions to the embargo on most sport and physical activity – looking always to what was possible – thank you”
After receiving her award, we spoke to Megan Bennington who added:
When I found out I had won I was in complete shock. I felt very emotional and so honoured. Even to be nominated was fantastic, so to be announced as a winner was truly incredible!
“I think setting up Zoom sessions were a necessity for that next level of contact. We ran weekly challenges and I set up a YouTube channel and it was great to get photos and videos sent in from the gymnasts and their families, but the Zoom sessions offered a better connection. Talking to someone face to face, in real time was a great way to check in with people and had such a positive impact on everyone’s mental health.”
In addition to the creative Zoom sessions from each of the awarded coaches which impressed the judges – there were other great innovations that lead to them being chosen as winners.
Despite being in her final year of her teaching degree, Amy Chambers took the time to focus on her gymnasts’ physical strength training and created a programme of activities which were essential to staying positive and connected.
Greg Robertson encouraged parents to get involved in their gymnasts’ virtual sessions – showing the hard work and time it takes to maintain great fitness through the lockdowns. He also arranged outdoor activities and challenges that encouraged gymnasts to connect with nature when they couldn’t train in the gym.
Scottish Gymnastics CEO, Doc McKelvey said, "It is a fantastic achievement to see three of our Scottish coaches being rewarded for their hard work, after so many stepped up to support gymnasts and clubs over the last 18 months. We extend our congratulations to each of the coaches and hope their awards inspire others to continue to innovate and bring new ideas to drive our sport forward."
You can find out more information about the ceremony and the profiles for each of the winners by visiting the UK Coaching website.