Corby man honoured with national coaching hero award for dedication during lockdown

To engage with his younger participants, Lee created themed Jurassic Park adventures, where participants had to solve clues

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 11:59 am
Updated Thursday, 7th October 2021, 12:00 pm
Corby's Lee Reade was presented with a coaching hero award from HRH The Princess Royal.

A Corby football coach has won a national coaching hero award, after becoming a ‘cyber coach’ to help keep young aspiring players active throughout lockdown.

Lee Reade is one of 25 coaches across the UK to be crowned a winner at the UK Coaching Hero Awards from nearly 500 nominations.

As lockdown prohibited organised sport, Lee had to draw on all his coaching experience and be inventive to try to keep his participants active.

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Lee coached online during lockdown.

To engage with his younger participants, he created themed Jurassic Park adventures, where participants had to solve clues and complete activity challenges.

With a keen focus on mental health given the anxieties only exacerbated by the pandemic, Lee wanted to continue delivering his coaching and education to ensure that every young person was supported in every way possible.

Lee said: “The pandemic was the biggest challenge I have had in my coaching career.

“I became a ‘Cyber Coach’ for my clients and anyone else that wished to participate.

“As a player and goalkeeper coach, the creation of cyber coaching also added many other features that meant I could help others and educate them on topics such as diet and healthy eating, fitness sessions and mental well-being.

“This grew to an extent where I was working more hours than I was prior to the pandemic, but this was totally justified when on return from the lockdown I saw little effect on the skills of my goalkeepers and players.

“To be nominated by those I coach, to be accepted and recognised for The UK Coaching Heroes Award was an extremely proud moment.

“As in many grassroots sports, a coach is often a ‘background figure’ to any sporting success, so personal recognition was truly an honour."

The coaches, who were voted by the public for their innovations and achievements to keep people moving during the coronavirus lockdowns, each received a memento from UK Coaching’s Royal Patron, HRH The Princess Royal to mark the considerable difference they made to people’s mental and physical well- being.

UK Coaching director of coaching Emma Atkins added: “Many congratulations to Lee and 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.”

UK Coaching opened nominations to its UK Coaching Hero awards initiative in 2020 after the first major UK-wide Covid-19 lockdown.

The charitable organisation wanted to acknowledge the efforts of coaches, who in difficult circumstances persevered and re-thought coaching techniques to deliver legal, digital and one-to-one training, utilising sport and physical activity to keep people connected.