Belfast Ladies Netball Club Coach Clare Winning has lived up to her name by collecting a prize at the 2018 Sport NI SportMaker Awards.

Clare was named Club Performance Coach of the Year in recognition of her achievements with the club’s Firsts, Seconds and Thirds, whom she led to multiple successes in the 2017/18 season.

The teams’ collective trophy haul over the last year included the Premier Senior League, Senior One Senior League, Central Area Senior League, the Valerie Walsh Shield and the Ann Curran Shield. Belfast Ladies’ many accomplishments had previously seen them named Netball NI’s Club of the Year for 2017/18.

Sport NI’s SportMaker Awards recognise the contribution of the local sporting working – the coaches, officials, volunteers and projects making a difference in helping people here enjoy, engage and excel in sport. The Club Performance Coach of the Year award is given to coaches who have demonstrated high quality, player-centred coaching and who have experienced club success and recognition at national or international level.

The Award was presented to Clare by David Smyth, Coaching Consultant at Sport Northern Ireland.

Noleen Lennon from Belfast Ladies Netball Club, who nominated Clare for her award, said:

Clare’s winning streak this year is a testament to her dedication and enthusiasm as a coach. Her coaching philosophy is structured around intensity and the belief that everyone can contribute if they give 100%, and Clare definitely does that herself. In the last year she managed to find the time to observe coaching sessions delivered by then-National Coach Elaine Rice, and was able to translate this insight into an appropriate club approach. She has also put a great emphasis on club fitness, which has seen 15 Belfast Ladies club members representing Northern Ireland on the International stage at Senior, U21 and U17 level. On behalf of the club we’d like to thank her for all she has done, and congratulate her on her award.”

Reacting to her win, Clare Winning said:

“I am absolutely overwhelmed – it was something that I definitely wasn’t expecting. I played netball myself from a very early age right through to International standard and respected the coaches so much that I decided I would give something back to the sport. Coaching is something where you can see people develop, from the very young kids developing their skills but also developing their mental attitude towards sport. I am just very proud and pleased to be nominated and have won the award.”

Congratulating Clare on her award, Sport NI Chief Executive Antoinette McKeown added:

“Through the SportMaker Awards, Sport NI is shining a light on the local people and projects that are making sport happen every day in Northern Ireland; those behind the scenes who all too often go unnoticed. It is wonderful to be recognising coaches like Clare who demonstrate the power that effective coaching and a structured club system can have on allowing people to develop and achieve their sporting ambitions. Her combination of drive and care in the management of her players is clearly reflected in the team’s achievement’s last year, and we wish both Clare and Belfast Ladies Netball Club continued sporting success for the future.”