Gemma Lumsdaine in training

My sporting life

Catch up with 2018 Young Coach of the Year Gemma Lumsdaine

Gemma Lumsdaine is a Scotland under-23 wheelchair basketball player and coach who had her dedication recognised by being named the sportscotland Young Coach of the Year in 2018.

As well as coaching at the Dundee Junior Dragons, Gemma coaches the Tayside Regional Squad and is assistant coach for Scotland Under-19s, supporting players to represent the UK in the Invictus Games and the GB U22 team.

Gemma also juggles her coaching and playing responsibilities with an ambassadorial role in the sport with Basketball Scotland and has presented at the UK Coaching Conference and the Scottish Women's Convention.

We caught up with Gemma as part of the 2020 #COVChampions campaign to look back over her sporting life.


Where did your journey into the world of wheelchair sport begin?

My wheelchair sport journey started in 2013 when I attend the Dundee Dragons Wheelchair Sports Club Launch day, which, at that time, was a rugby league club.

At that point in my life I had very little confidence in myself and my ability so my mum had to really encourage me to attend. When I arrived I saw other wheelchair users who could drive and go to university, I hadn’t really been exposed to this before so this started to change my perception of disability from a negative to a positive thing.

Although when I started at the club I couldn’t really push my chair or catch a ball, I was really motivated to improve and had something to work towards which is something I didn’t have before I started at Dragons. From that point it has been a crazy but amazing journey!

How did you feel when you discovered you had won a COV Award?

Honestly, I felt completely overwhelmed, I couldn’t quite believe it.

There are so many incredible young coaches across Scotland who are doing great things for their communities, so it was such an honour to win.

Has your success in winning a COV Award changed your sporting life in any way?

I don’t think winning the COV Award has changed my approach to coaching or playing per se. I think it has helped me to continue using the same ethos and approach, which is putting the individuals I work with at the forefront of what I do.

I focus on supporting the development of my players both as athletes and as people and help them to achieve their goals whether that is to represent Scotland or to learn how to push their wheelchair independently.

Would you encourage more people to take up a sport?

I think sport is extremely powerful in many ways. Sport has the ability to change people’s lives and provides so many opportunities for individuals to develop life skills, increase their confidence, meet new people and most of all have fun!


Introducing COV Champions

We couldn’t let the current restrictions stop us from recognising the great work that coaches, officials and volunteers have done over the past year, and that’s why we are committed to celebrating as many COV Champions as we can. Maybe you know someone who has gone above and beyond to help keep people connected to sport in these challenging times?

To do this, please get involved in the #COVChampions campaign. Tell us all about the outstanding achievements by coaches, officials and volunteers you have seen this year. They can be any age, from any sport, or in any local area.

Perhaps someone close to you has kept you active during the pandemic? Or promoted an inclusive and welcoming sporting environment? Let us know!

How to get involved

The campaign will be active throughout November with the hashtag #COVChampions and getting involved is easy. Just follow the steps below:

  • Choose a coach, official or volunteer that you feel deserves a little recognition for their work this year
  • On social media, tell us about their work and why it has been important to you or others
  • Remember to include a photo or a link for more information where possible
  • Don’t forget to use the hashtag #COVChampions and tag @sportscotland.

Find out more

Discover more about wheelchair sport on SportFirst.

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