SWIS Coach of the Year winner is Karen Ross

Scottish Women in Sport, on Friday night in Glasgow, named their outstanding Female achievers of 2016 at their annual gala awards ceremony and as in 2015, McCrea Financial Services were delighted to offer their support by sponsoring the Coach of the Year award.

Scottish Women in Sport founder and CEO Maureen McGonigle said: “It is with great pleasure that once again we celebrate the success of our women in sport and those who work tirelessly in the background to support them. From the Rio Olympics to the qualification of the Scottish FA Womens National team, women in sport are achieving at the highest level and deserve recognition for their efforts.

"SWiS works tirelessly to bring about a culture change for sport, however recent figures are disappointing showing that only 7% of all sports media coverage in the UK is for women in sport and just 0.4% of sponsorship is directed at women in sport.

"We are keen to work with the Scottish Government to ensure that equality in sport remains a priority and look forward to the launch of the Sporting Equality Fund which will identify and target key areas for change.”

Performance Manager with Tennis Scotland, Karen Ross, lifted the McCrea Financial Services Coach of the Year award and was presented by fellow coach Judy Murray, whose sons, Jamie and Andy, currently hold World No.1 titles in both singles and doubles tennis.

Karen is a highly effective, passionate, totally committed and inspirational coach on the world stage. Over the past decade she has honed her coaching craft to nurture players to the highest level of performance, with considerable international success.

In 2006 Karen was coaching Kevin Simpson towards the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. At this time she was approached to coach the 14-year-old Gordon Reid. She continued to coach Kevin and Gordon in a voluntary capacity whilst in her day job she was Tennis Scotland’s Performance Officer, then Talent Performance Coordinator and ultimately Tennis Performance Manager. In June 2014 she took up the full-time position of Head of Disability Performance Coaching and Talent with the Tennis Foundation.

Karen has always applied her tennis coaching skills to the wheelchair game, where she had to adapt and modify and work with the players to best understand their individual needs. Karen prioritises what all good coaches should concentrate on – the individual. A great example of Karen’s coaching prowess was her need to learn to coach the backhand, which is an entirely different stroke in the wheelchair game. She did her research watching hours of footage and real-life tennis in order to have secure knowledge and understanding, and continually building round the individual preference of her players.

Prior to Kevin Simpson being selected for Beijing, he had one match to win which was to be played in Japan. Kevin Simpson winning the match meant he had qualified for Beijing which, as a coach, Karen found hugely rewarding, as Kevin was her first wheelchair tennis player she had worked with.

In January 2016, watching ten years of hard work and dedication pay off when Gordon Reid beat the world’s number one, Japanese Shingo Kunieda, at the Australian Open. Gordon then carried on notably to win the inaugural wheelchair singles and doubles titles at Wimbledon alongside further Grand Slam singles and doubles successes.

SWiS supporter Judy Murray added: "There's a real groundswell behind women in sport just now and events like this are really important for keeping it in the spotlight and for celebrating success, commitment, contribution and perseverance. There are so many women doing extraordinary things in sport and yet they go largely unnoticed. We have to get better at promoting and praising and we must all stick together because together we can make great things happen.”

Everyone at McCrea Financial Services sends their congratulations to Karen on her well-deserved win, and importantly the recognition of all the hard work and dedication that goes on behind the scenes.