A coach who has made a tremendous impact on Scottish wheelchair curling has had her dedication recognised after being named sportscotland High Performance Coach of the Year.
Sheila, originally from Perth, now coaches Scotland’s wheelchair curlers at the National Curling Academy in Stirling.
During a stellar playing career, Sheila won gold at the 2002 World Curling Championships in 2002 alongside Jackie Lockhart. She later took up coaching and is now wheelchair head coach for Scottish and British Curling.
Under Sheila’s guidance Scotland won silver in the 2019 Wheelchair Curling World Championships, a special moment on the home ice in Stirling. This came a year after she led Team Neilson to the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang.
But beyond preparing her athletes to ensure they are able to perform at the highest level and under huge pressure, Sheila acknowledges the huge social impact the sport can have on wheelchair users at grassroots level.
She is a coach who inspires her athletes but is also determined to help other coaches and will go above and beyond to ensure others are supported in their coaching journey.
In her own words
Sheila said: “I think it is just about seeing people achieve, whether it is [high performance sport or] club curling, where someone might not have participated in the sport before and all of a sudden, they can throw it full length and enjoy the social side of it.
“It’s as much about those participants as it is who I work with now, and athletes going to Paralympics or winning medals at World Championships.
"I often say to people that it is not about the medals, especially with wheelchair curling. It can be-life changing for participants.”
Sheila picked up her award at the sportscotland Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards 2019 at Glasgow City Chambers on 21 November.
Inspirational coaches, officials and volunteers from all over Scotland were recognised across 15 categories for their significant contribution to sport.
Hosted by BBC Scotland’s Bryan Burnett, the Awards celebrated coaches, officials and volunteers for their work in sports such as swimming, cycling, athletics, football, karate, wheelchair curling, basketball, boxing and canoeing.
Stewart Harris, sportscotland chief executive, said: “Every year across Scotland, thousands of dedicated sporting enthusiasts devote their time, knowledge and skills to afford others the chance to take part in sport, and experience all the benefits that come with sport participation.
“Our Coaching, Officiating and Volunteering Awards give us a chance to celebrate the great sporting achievements that are taking place every day and congratulate those who are making an incredible commitment to Scottish sport.
“At sportscotland we are implementing a world-class sporting system at every level and that is only possible with the support of the many dedicated coaches, officials and volunteers.”
Find out more
Visit the sportscotland website for information about coaching, officiating and volunteering.