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This week (June 6-12) is UK Coaching Week and we are highlighting the important role that grassroots coaches play in our community.

Yesterday we caught up with our inaugural Grassroots Coach of the Year winner Keith Burns (Hertfordshire), and today is the turn of one of our runners-up, Sheila Boyes (Durham).

Sheila, who lives in Durham, is a lifelong sports participant and fan who is passionate about the benefits of staying active and committed to passing on that passion to others, especially through the enjoyment of playing badminton.

Sheila has been involved in Badminton for over 45 years as a player in various leagues and clubs, where she has held numerous roles on committees and associations and has coached for over 20 years ever since she took her children along to a junior club.

Sheila is currently head coach at Thornaby Pavilion Badminton Club and when nominating Sheila for this award, her nominator said the following: “Sheila goes into local schools to provide children the first experience of badminton, as well as weekly after school clubs for those who want to play more.

“She runs local junior badminton club and provides professional coaching for children with different age and/or ability.

“She inspires young people not only to enjoy playing badminton but also to challenge themselves, encouraging them to take tournament competitions or to become young leaders.

“Huge numbers of kids and their families have benefited from Sheila’s continuous and tireless work.

“By attending the club, young people have not only developed their badminton skills and active lifestyle, but also learned sportsmanship and teamwork skills. Annie Zhu, with Sheila’s help and support over years, won the 2020 Young Volunteer of the Year Award.

“Sheila always inspires other people such as parents as well as encourages them to be volunteers or helpers.

“She provides them well-prepared training plan before sessions and supports them all the time during sessions.

“Older kids in the club can be the young leader and be supported to take some jobs in younger kids’ sessions.”

With Thornaby Pavilion Badminton Club now delivering over five sessions a week to more than 200 members, we sat down with Sheila and those who nominated her for this award to learn more about him and Thornaby Pavilion Badminton Club.

How would you describe your own coaching philosophy?

Enjoyment, development and passing on players who need more than I can give them. Coach the player not the sport.

What are your aspirations within badminton?

To get grassroots coaches recognised for the skill, knowledge, and dedication we all bring.

Who did you/ do you look up to in coaching & why?

Gregor Townsend and Eddie Jones for their positivity.

What challenges have you faced as a grassroots coach along your coaching journey, and how did you overcome these?

Being recognised as a coach of value where performance was more important than retaining players who would only ever play local league.  I always believed there was a place for my style and I persisted over many years.

What do you enjoy most about the coaching role you undertake and why?

The enjoyment of seeing players develop and the younger ones eventually playing in teams and matches.

What advice would you give to a coach starting out on their coaching journey?

Keep going. Believe in your values. Gain knowledge.

What did being nominated and being a runner up in the Grassroots Coach of the Year award mean to you?

It’s very satisfying.  Lovely to know that someone had taken the time to submit a nomination.

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