Coach Amy Chambers' creative gymnastics courses land national award and royal seal of approval
Covid closedown of gymnastics prompted coaching creativity from Meadowbank coach Amy Chambers and earned an award presented by Princess Anne.
She was one of 25 coaches crowned at the UK Coaching Hero Awards this week for her initiatives during lockdown in maintaining teaching time with her gymnasts and her input to their mental wellbeing.
Amy created ‘Check-In Tuesday’ groups where gymnasts could share their thoughts and emotions as well as honing some outdoor exercises – far removed from the equipment-laden gymnasiums her students were used to.
She explained: “The pandemic affected my coaching delivery massively. During the first lockdown all my coaching took place over zoom with some outdoor training sessions – very unusual for gymnastics. When we came back in September 2020, we were unable to physically support gymnasts which was very challenging and led to some really creative coaching and innovative training sessions.
“Invested and committed coaching can be hugely important to people’s lives, especially when you’re working with children and young people. The positive relationships formed are often life-long.
"I felt really touched that my gymnasts had decided to nominate me.”
While coaching Meadowbank gymnastics club Amy also completed her final year of a teaching degree and her innovative approach to physical – and mental – health impressed judges.
She added: "I wanted to start coaching because it was something that came quite naturally to me when I was still a gymnast myself. I was always getting distracted by trying to help other people rather than being focused on my own gymnastics.
“I’ve focused a lot on supporting mental health as a teaching student and now teacher I’ve also been very lucky to have regular training and research about children’s mental health and how we can best support it as influential adults in their lives.”
UK Coaching opened nominations to its Coaching Hero awards in 2020 to acknowledge the efforts of coaches, who in difficult circumstances persevered and re-thought coaching techniques to keep people connected.
UK Coaching Director Emma Atkins said: “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.”