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Ski coach recognised for efforts to combat isolation during lockdown

A ski coach from Perth has been recognised for his efforts during lockdown to help combat isolation.

Fraser Buchan is one of 25 coaches across the UK to be crowned a winner at the UK Coaching Hero Awards.

As head children’s coach for the British Ski Academy, Fraser recorded general and alpine ski race specific fitness sessions that were distributed twice a week, as well as holding regular live Zoom fitness sessions that attracted up to 80 athletes and their families on a Sunday morning.

He also hosted a regular Wednesday evening Zoom technical session for his athletes and their parents, providing everyone with the opportunity to keep in touch.

Along with the other coaches, Fraser last week received a memento from UK Coaching’s Royal Patron HRH The Princess Royal to mark the considerable difference he made.

Fraser said: “I am massively proud for my coaching work to be recognised – no one gets into coaching for the recognition but when something like this comes along it’s very humbling.

“I owe a great deal to the team around me, the other coaches, and staff on the team that all work tirelessly with the same goal in mind. To even be considered for this award meant a great deal but to be one of the winners is something I am immensely proud of.

“It has been a big change, as normally we are fortunate enough to spend six months of the year in Europe or further afield training and racing, but over the last 18 months we have not been able to do this. Things moved online, and throughout January, February and March we hosted online fitness sessions.

“Alongside this we had weekly ‘technical sessions’ that allowed the athletes to remain involved but also helped educate the parents as to the demands of the sport and greater their understanding.”

Looking back on those days, Fraser added: “The first couple of sessions back then were very strange. I had some nerves coming back to coaching after such a long time online.

“My teammates and staff helped massively in our return to play policy and making a safe return to coaching, and I owe a great deal to the team around me again for helping not only me as a coach but the programme as a whole.”

Reflecting on the exceptional contribution of the award-winning coaches like Fraser, UK director of coaching Emma Atkins, said: “Helping people to use sport and physical activity positively through challenging times is a privilege and one which carries huge responsibilities, and you took your duties seriously, using your initiative to create solutions to the embargo on most sport and physical activity – looking always to what was possible – thank you.”

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