Lesley McKenna has been named Coach Developer of the Year at the sportscotland Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering (COV) Awards 2023, recognising the significant contribution she has made to the development of coaching across a multitude of sports.
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.
Since retiring as a professional snowboarder, representing Team GB at three Winter Olympics Games, Lesley has made an outstanding contribution to coach development, both at an individual level, as well as organisational and national levels. Drawing from her experience as a as an ex-athlete and trailblazer not just for women's sport but also for snowsport more broadly, Lesley's unique, collaborative, creative and open-minded approach has made her highly successful across multiple Scottish sports.
As a SIS (sportscotland Institute of Sport) endorsed coach developer practitioner, Lesley has supported Scottish coaches in Boccia, gymnastics, netball, swimming, climbing, sailing and snowsports working within both the Scottish and UK High Performance systems. Over the last 12 months, Lesley has worked particularly close with talented female performance coaches as well as a cohort of coaches with a disability in boccia.
Despite having no experience working in many of these sports, Lesley has made a huge impact on the transition of these coaches from performance boccia players into performance coaches. Lesley does this through excellent relational skills and a deep desire to really, truly understand the people she’s seeking to support.
Lesley McKenna said, “There’s also a bit of a eureka moment for both the coach and myself because actually I’m never really sure if it’s going to be that thing that will catalyse the next breakthrough. So, it’s a real adventure of discovery.”
“My favourite part about doing coach developer work, is its all completely unique and different, so each situation and each individual coach brings a unique set of skills, knowledge, challenges, and I’m always getting to learn. So, as well as supporting others to learn, I’m learning myself.”
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.”
“Funding for so many of these local clubs and communities that we have celebrated tonight, would not be possible without the National Lottery, and we thank them for their continued support. Throughout the years, the contribution from the National lottery players has truly changed lives and supported people and communities to improve and grow.’’