LEWES Athletics Club’s very own Rick Pilling was awarded the Development Coach of the Year Award from England Athletics at a ceremony in London last week.
This prestigious award was in recognition of all the work that Rick has done to develop coaching within the Lewes club and to help athletes across Sussex realise their true potential.
Rick started coaching at Lewes AC when his son Chris started competing for Lewes and both were inspired to focus on pole vaulting.
In six years Rick has taken pole vaulting in Lewes AC – and indeed the county of Sussex – to new heights.
He has travelled countrywide in his pursuit to learn more about the event. Pole Vault School in Loughborough, regular visits to Sutton and Lee Valley and England Athletics Local Coach Development workshops are part of his coaching routine.
As a Level 3 coach he is now sharing his coaching experience with other coaches and fulfils his role as Coaching Coordinator for Lewes Athletics Club. His 12-strong group of athletes, which includes those from several Sussex clubs, are a testament to the dedication which he applies to his coaching.
Improving year on year, seven of these 12 athletes are ranked in the national top 20 for their age groups. All 12 of Rick’s athletes have performances posted on the England Athletics Ranking Lists Power of 10 and seven of the 12 athletes are ranked in the top 20 in the UK for their event – the pole vault.
His athletes have won medals at Sussex County Championships, Southern Counties Championships both indoors and outdoors.
Two athletes competed in the English Schools Championships in Gateshead, with Naomi Lee placing sixth and Emilie Blackwell third – a major achievement for the athletes, Lewes Athletics Club, and for the dedication and expertise of Rick.
Peter Masters, Chairman of Lewes AC, said: “Everyone at the club is absolutely delighted with Rick’s award.
“It is richly deserved and recognises his total commitment to coaching and to helping young athletes achieve their true potential.
“As well as coaching athletes he has within the Lewes Club helped to start many of our teenage athletes onto the coaching ladder.”