Midlothian-based GB and Scottish Snowboard coach Hamish McKnight named Performance Coach of the Year
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Midlothian-based GB and Scottish Snowboard coach, Hamish McKnight, has been recognised for his dedication to the sport after being named High Performance Coach at the sportscotland Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering (COV) Awards 2023.
The sportscotland COV Awards celebrate all those who break down barriers, inspire and enhance the lives of others through sport, and recognise the commitment of those who apply their own time and effort to make sport accessible to all.
Hamish, like many other Scottish snowsport athletes and coaches, began his snowboarding journey at the Hillend Dry slope in Midlothian and has now gone onto a widely successful career as a professional snowboarder and now as a high-performance coach, where he has not only achieved the top level of Snowboard coach qualifications, but has helped re-design the education material for coaching in the sport.
Hamish said: “I’ve had a coach’s mindset I would say for all my life, I never thought any other way. Anything I see as a self-determined challenge, that’s not necessarily difficult but a challenge of some kind that can be, broken down into parts, learned and reaped a reward from, then I’m into it.
“The struggling with something is the first reward. When a young girl or boy comes to me and says, I’m struggling with this, initially ecstatic because it means they’ve chosen something that they can’t do, and they want it. And it’s that part of my job that I love and love working with them to get it.”
In his role as head coach of Freestyle Snowboarding at GB Snowsport, Hamish has supported athletes from a variety of backgrounds, who have gone onto achieve success and results at the highest international level, including Jenny Jones and Billy Morgan who won back-to-back bronze medals at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics.
Throughout his career, Hamish has championed equality in sport by promoting equal opportunities for female athletes to access high performance coaching and support. Over the course of the 2022/23 season, Hamish and his team supported Mia Brookes with an individually tailored approach that led to her amazing achievement of winning the FIS World Championships Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle title.
Mel Young, Chair of sportscotland, said: “Every year the Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards provide us with the opportunity to celebrate people across the country who have given so much of their time and dedication to Scottish sport and are making such an impact on their sport and community.
“Over the course of the last year, we have seen thousands of sporting enthusiasts who give up hours and hours of their own daily lives, to make a difference in sport and physical activity and who have an understanding what an impact that can have on people’s lives. The people we are celebrating have taken that recognition and turned it into life-changing ambition and force for good.”
sportscotland received 371 nominations covering 35 different sports across all 32 local authorities. People keen to recognise the contributions of selfless coaches, officials and volunteers working across a range of sports the length and breadth of the country submitted their nominations earlier in the year.
The COV winners were invited to attend a presentation ceremony at Glasgow City Chambers as a thank you for their continued work and dedication.