Published on: Friday, December 2, 2022

It was announced at the recent South West region volunteer awards that our very own Mr Steve Shaw won the Athletics Coach of the Year. England Athletics brought together volunteers most deserving of recognition this year at a glittering event in Exeter. Head of Athletics and Cross Country at King’s College and South West Council Chair Richard Llewelyn-Eaton delivered a welcoming speech then introduced the room to five-time Olympian Jo Pavey who spoke about her career and the impact volunteers have had on her athletics journey.

Mr Shaw was awarded Athletics Coach of the Year for his dedication, particularly to the Combined Events group, which has seen athletes of all ages develop and succeed. He selflessly spends hours developing specific training plans, researching new methods and improving techniques for his athletes which demonstrates his ‘above and beyond’ attitude towards the wider athletics community. He often assists other groups at the club offering technical and well-being support to bring out the best in all those around him.

Mr Shaw has had a connection to the Taunton Athletics Club for around 15 years, but been the Head Coach of the Combined Event Group (Heptathlon, Decathlon) and coached racewalk for the last four years. In his role as Athletics Coach at King’s College, he has secured a partnership agreement with the Club that enables pupils to access athletics conditioning coaching and train at Taunton AC. He also mentors and coaches two King’s athletes, Abby H and Darcie C as part of the King’s High Performance. Abby has competed in the racewalk category at the British Senior Championships and is national champion in her age group. Darcie represented the school and Somerset in the National U15 Pentathlon finals in September 2022.

King’s College School Captain and national champion racewalker, Abby H nominated Mr Shaw, saying: “Without Mr Shaw’s dedication and commitment, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to represent England and compete internationally. He volunteers every day to coach at the athletics track and gym as well as communicate with other coaches and write training plans. He has been a huge support at many of my races such as Senior British Championships, and helps me balance my school and athletics commitments.”

In 2021/22, Mr Shaw coached four athletes to national finals including Seren Rodgers who competed for GB in the heptathlon at the European Athletics Championship in Israel this year. Seren was ranked 12th going in but finished an impressive 7th and set five personal bests out of a possible eight. Her preparation included training five to six times a week and sessions that focussed on mental preparation.

Mr Shaw said: “I truly believe that as each athlete is unique and that no textbook or manual will cover all. I take a holistic and educational view on training and strive to create a family environment within the training squad. Each athlete receives an individual programme to meet their specific requirements, timetable of competitions and the ability for one-to-one session. I also offer psychological support and advice to parents, and happily travel around the country and abroad to assist them through competitions.”

He reflected: “It’s an honour to win this award and a great surprise since there is such a high level of coaching experience in the South West. I want to the thank those that supported my nomination and the athletes who, without their trust, passion and dedication this award would not have been possible.”

“After the success of the past year and this award, I’m planning on using this experience of the psychological, emotional and planning to benefit the pupils at King’s College by helping them achieve their dreams. This has taught me the truth in Eleanor Roosevolt’s quote; the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. So truly believe if you work hard, trust the process and believe in yourself it can be possible.”

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