A Wigan Warriors coach has been shortlisted for national award

A rugby coach from Wigan has been shortlisted as a national ‘coaching hero’, after setting up a UK-wide men’s mental fitness group.
Scott BurnsScott Burns
Scott Burns

From nearly 500 public nominations, Wigan’s Scott Burns is one of 75 coaches across the nation to have been shortlisted for the UK Coaching Hero Awards.

The initiative recognises and celebrates the innovations and achievements of coaches who inspired the nation to keep moving during the coronavirus lockdowns.

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Burns works for Wigan Warriors as the Disability and Inclusion Officer and also coaches the

club’s Physical Disability Rugby League and Learning Disability Rugby League teams. He has also recently made history, after being appointed as the first ever Head Coach of Scotland Physical Disability Rugby League.

Throughout the pandemic, Burns has run health and well-being sessions to help keep the community fit and healthy, both physically and mentally. And in a time where mental health mattered more than ever, he has provided support, advice and maintained a constant social environment to the disabled people in the Wigan community.

Just happy to be making a positive difference, Burns said: “It’s an absolute honour to be nominated for a UK Coaching Heroes award.

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“What makes it even more special is that I have been nominated by people in the local community. If the participants of our disability and mental health sessions are enjoying the groups and benefiting from them either physically or mentally then I know I’m on the right track!

“The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, lack of social interactions, hobbies and sports having to stop and, for some, long periods of isolation have had a damaging effect on all of us, myself included. I never see what I do as going ‘above and beyond’ it is being able to empathise and identify how people in the community are feeling and doing what I can to help them in any way. We all need help and support as we try to emerge from an unprecedented time.”

Despite having already done so much for his local community, Burns believes he is always learning, as coaching is a constant development process. He said: “Over the past year I have learned a lot about myself both as a person and as a coach.

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“Using my own experiences and struggles I have been forced to change and adapt my coaching, finding new ways to communicate and connect with people not just in the local community but over the whole country. Most coaches now are quite adept in using technology, Zoom, Teams etc as part of their coaching delivery. I believe I have emerged from the pandemic a more empathetic, patient and determined coach.

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“If we can help and support each other through computer screens, then just imagine how much more powerful and exciting getting back to face to face and group coaching will be!”

The vote features as part of UK Coaching Week, which is taking place this week, empowering athletes, coaches, organisations, and the public to celebrate great coaching and encouraging coaches to adapt and recover their space within the sport and physical activity sector.

To vote for your UK Coaching Hero and to find out more about the campaign, visit: ukcoaching.org/coachingweek