Student wins Glasgow Coach of the Year

City of Glasgow College HND Coaching & Developing Sport student, Natasha Lawton, has beaten rugby star Gregor Townsend to take the Glasgow Coach of The Year 2016 title.

The award recognises an individual who has shown outstanding commitment to coaching and further development of athletes in their sport.

Natasha has been a volunteer coach at Glasgow Kayak Club Sprint & Marathon Team for over three years and is also greatly involved in the running of the club. She said:

“We run four sessions a week all year round for young people aged between eight and sixteen with roughly 20 athletes attending. In the summer months we are on the Canal while during the winter we are based at Springburn Academy where we work on general fitness. We also teach and improve the young people’s swimming at Springburn Leisure Centre.”

When a shoulder injury put her competitive career on hold, coaching was suggested as an alternative and Natasha applied to City of Glasgow College. She said:

“If I hadn’t come to the College I wouldn’t be at the level I am now in terms of confidence and development. I am in my second year and have really enjoyed the course. It’s been good to try different sports and be out of my comfort zone. I’ve enjoyed the theory and I am putting some of the nutrition and psychology elements into practice with my students at the Club.”

The 19 year old from Robroyston gets up at 5.00am every morning and does an hour’s training before she starts her College classes. Natasha is shocked but delighted to be up against rugby hero Gregor, saying:

“A number of people nominated me for the award and I have been lucky enough to be shortlisted. The Club is my life and I am determined to stay with it and help it develop. Last year was our most successful in terms of sprint and marathon, winning over 124 medals in total.

“My shoulder injury is improving and I am back to full training now and entering national regattas to help build my experience so I can work up to national level and get known for being a paddler as well as a coach.”

Mags Burnett, Curriculum Head for Coaching & Leisure at City of Glasgow College, said:

“This is the first time the College has had a student up for this award and it is fantastic that Natasha has won. She has stepped well beyond her comfort zone and is proving to be a great role model. We are absolutely delighted for her."

Natasha was presented with her much deserved award at the Sportsperson of the Year ceremony on Friday 17 February in Glasgow City Chambers.