Ennis coach in plea for more Sheffield volunteers

Coach Tony Minichiello talks to Jessica Ennis during the London 2012 Olympic heptathlon.
Coach Tony Minichiello talks to Jessica Ennis during the London 2012 Olympic heptathlon.
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JESSICA Ennis’s coach Tony Minichiello has warned there are not enough coaches at youth level to help the next generation of athletes inspired by the 2012 London Olympics.

Mr Minichiello, who helped heptathlete Jessica to gold medal glory, was speaking at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield, in Attercliffe, where he said: “People are talking about legacy and those who are going to deliver that legacy in terms of creating athletes of the future are coaches.

“Frankly we don’t have enough of them.

“What we have to do is get out there and find people who are willing to get involved – some 75 per cent of coaches out there are volunteers.”

Mr Minichiello, who has only been coaching professionally for six years and carried out the work on a voluntary basis for the previous 14 years, said: “We need more of those volunteers to achieve that legacy.”

Shaun Hird, of City of Sheffield Athletics Club, called on those running UK athletics to put more focus on junior level coaching.

He said funding should be available for coaching junior athletes.

He said: “After the Olympics, we had 80 to 90 children coming down to training sessions and you need coaches to train them.

“Funding is an issue. There is money available for coaching 14 to 25 year-olds, but you have to start work with young athletes at an earlier age.

“We have nine to 13 year-olds coming through.”