One of Scottish Rugby’s development officers, based in the north east of the country, has been awarded the Children’s Young Persons Coach of the Year award (supported by Jon Lewis Partnership – Partners in Sport), by Sports Coach UK.
Mike Avis from Ellon RFC was presented with the prestigious accolade by the Princess Royal at an event at Carlton Tower in London earlier this week for his outstanding contribution to children’s coaching and development.
He said: “I believe you get one chance to impact children’s lives, so it’s extremely important to make the most of that chance. This award shows all the hard work that is going on at Ellon.
“These things don’t happen without support, I couldn’t run everything myself. The support that Gareth Kemp, the club’s coach co-ordinator plus others in the club, my volunteers, players and Scottish Rugby have given me is outstanding.”
Avis, who has worked as a development officer for two and a half years and coaches up to 1000 children a week, has developed a programme called ‘The Ellon Way’ which addresses core rugby skills, discipline and building up players’ confidence. It also puts a strong focus on fun and development of aspirations for under-15, 16 and 18s.
In addition, he is the club’s head coach and holds the same role at Aberdeen University; he has started and developed girls rugby at Ellon; works on coach education and Scottish Rugby’s pathway programme.
In winning the award it was also noted that Avis had visited Harlequins and Biarritz working with their coaches to bolster his experience and skills.
Scottish Rugby’s head of coach development, Henry Edwards, said: “This is an extremely difficult award for any coach, in any sport to win. I’m delighted to see a Scottish coach being recognised and rewarded for his work in Scotland across the UK.
“This is a well deserved reward for Mike and all his volunteers at Ellon Rugby Club and for Scottish rugby in general. It was a pleasure to attend the UK event where Mike received his award from Princess Ann.”