Emma Mitchell, who has worked with the England and GB Hockey team for almost two decades, had her work recognised by peers at the UK Sport PLx Awards.
The Performance Lifestyle Coach, Mitchell, was nominated in the Support Staff category by the England and GB Hockey performance team after her dedication and hard work that has supported countless athletes both on and off the pitch.
With 65 athletes on the programme, Mitchell has been key to supporting both athletes and staff through transitions on and off the programme. Mitchell handles these experiences with a huge level of skill, empathy and experience to ensure they are smooth, person centric and performance enabling.
Dual aspirations (a career path or pursuit outside of playing international hockey) is a critical component of the international programmes and Mitchell has been the driving force behind this. 60% of athletes are in part-time education. Mitchell not only works with athletes to establish their motivation but also ensures any challenging scenarios are dealt.
Throughout her career, the former rugby player has utilised her personal experience to provide support for over 200 athletes which has not only included practical support but also the promotion of mental wellbeing across the programme.
On her win, Mitchell said: “This is an incredible honour and I’m thrilled to have been recognised in this way. I absolutely love what I do and it’s a real privilege to work with this athlete and staff group. I’ve seen so many changes and I am looking forward to seeing the changes that are coming in the future in performance lifestyle.”
England and GB Hockey Performance Director, Ed Barney, added: “I want to thank Emma for her dedication to the athletes, staff and Hockey. The impact that she has made across our programme has been truly exceptional. As a staff team are thrilled to see her win the Support Staff Award.
“I have worked with Emma for the past ten years and it has been a privilege getting to know and work with her. It’s almost impossible to articulate the value and impact that Emma has brought to Engand and GB Hockey over the past 17 years.
“The level of support and impact is immeasurable. More ‘traditional’ and ‘front line’ disciplines like physical preparation and physiotherapy are often seen as the most performance impacting, but Emma’s work has been seminal in ensuring our best and most talent players are incredibly well placed to excel every time they step onto the pitch. In supporting players to have extensive and lengthy international careers and supporting them to be content and happy in life off the pitch and as they step away from the international field.
“Emma brings her skills, her experience and her ability to navigate tricky situations to all situations. She is incredibly caring for the people she is working with, and I know that there are endless athletes (and staff) that will couldn’t speak more highly of the support they’ve received from her.”
Double Olympic medallist, Maddie Hinch, said: “I was lucky enough to work with Emma throughout the entirety of my 14-year senior career. Emma was very much a guiding light for me and was very much a source of inspiration and without doubt a pillar of support at times. For me, what makes Emma truly special is her relentless dedication, unwavering commitment and her selflessness in all that she does, and I feel very lucky to have been one of those people.”