Olympic champion Goodhew on the coach who changed his life

For Olympic champion Duncan Goodhew, it was his first coach who took him from a ‘drowned’ kid in the classroom to a world star in the pool.

Goodhew, 65, won gold and bronze in swimming at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, but admits it would have been impossible without his physical education teacher.

And the three-time Commonwealth Games medalist is now returning the favor and supporting UK Coaching’s new recruitment campaign and the #Born2Coach initiative, encouraging people to return to coaching and supporting others to be active after the pandemic.

The new campaign will see UK Coaching engage with seven of the country’s leading sports over the next ten years to recruit more coaches and ensure the nation is fully supported to get more active, more often.

And Goodhew said, “They [coaches] made all the difference in my life. “My first coach, Tony Roberts, was a PE teacher, they took me straight to the pool, to a club, and the rest was history >
“Since I was literally drowning at the back of the class, dyslexic, in big trouble at school, he threw me the lifeline that changed my life.

“He made me feel like I was important. He made me feel like I had something to do that I could be good at. I learned, I grew, I got better. He gave me a way to improve that I could measure and understand.



Goodhew won gold at the 1980 Olympics after being introduced to swimming by his physical education teacher. Credit: UK Coaching.

The latest data from Sport England showed a drop of more than 3.1 million people giving up their time to lead activity sessions.

And to combat this alarming drop, UK Coaching is announcing a nationwide campaign to expand the coaching workforce to mark the start of UK Coaching Week, the annual nationwide awareness campaign that allows athletes, coaches and the public to celebrate great coaching.

The organization is partnering with several major governing bodies including the England and Wales Cricket Board, England Boxing, British Gymnastics and Swim England in this innovative initiative.

UK Coaching will help these governing bodies to dramatically increase the coaching workforce by inspiring people to become coaches and empowering current coaches to improve their abilities.

Goodhew added: “People make all the difference in your life and lucky people find people who can believe in them, who can take them forward.

“When you do that you feel good about yourself so you work harder you get more done and that’s what this campaign is about is that everyone is born to coach no matter what. which can result.

“We would like to get more people to become coaches because you get this great feeling, you learn that you are developing yourself and improving other people. It’s really great to get involved. »

Mark Gannon, CEO of UK Coaching, explained the thinking behind the initiative, adding: “We know now, thanks to Covid, that the nation needs to be healthier and more active than ever.
“A lot of the facilities and especially the coaches who make this happen have been impacted by Covid.

“What we are doing now is that as part of UK Coaching Week where we celebrate coaching and the impact coaches have on their participants, we try to encourage people to come back to coaching or take up coaching.

“If you’re a people person, you’d make a great coach. What we’re trying to do is connect with the mainstream sports and say, ‘Look, if you have any skills or want to develop your skills, which will not only help you as a coach, but will help you in your work your life, why not come and try?

To learn more about how you can get into coaching, visit www.ukcoaching.org/born2coach .

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