Testimonial from a Users of our Distance Coaching TechnaCoach programme
My son and I met Sonya when we were visiting Exeter University. We were both impressed by her enthusiasm and knowledge. When my son decided he wanted to change coach, one month after running for Scotland, we asked Sonya if she would coach him by distance, as we live in Jersey.
I knew it would not be easy, but Sonya has set him comprehensive training schedules for running and strength & conditioning, based on his feedback and objectives, and her experience of coaching the 400 metres.
With Facebook, Skype, and my amateur video footage to help Sonya ‘see’ some training sessions, the distance coaching has proved very successful and supportive, especially during niggles and illness. We are looking forward to his races when all of that hard work and focused training will pay dividends.
Grant Stenhouse (Parent of athlete)
Last year, I decided that it was best for my athletic development to move to another coach. However due to a lack of coaches in my area I had to search further afield. I met Sonya on a visit to Exeter University and immediately took a liking to both her personality and her coaching style, so when she said that she runs a distancing coaching business she was the obvious choice.
Five months later and with the help of Sonya’s coaching I have just won the Scottish indoor championships U20 men’s 400m.
When Sonya began coaching me I had never really done any substantial 400m training, but Sonya’s training schedules accounted for this and slowly incorporated it into the schedule, allowing my speed endurance to gradually improve. Even though she lives more than 100 miles away Sonya is always on hand to discuss training, or even general support to help with injuries and other such issues.
Thanks to things such as Facebook and Skype, Sonya is always contactable and is even able to give technical pointers and advice thanks to videoed track sessions. Sonya is an incredible coach with lots of experience, allowing her to help with a range of issues, both on and off the track. The distance, although at first glance may seem to be a disadvantage is hardly ever noticed thanks to Sonya’s easy contactability.
Robbie Stenhouse (U20 400m Scottish Indoor Champion)
Testimonial from CEDA (Community Equality Disability Action) in Exeter
On behalf of CEDA I would like to thank Sonya and the South West Athletics Academy for their fantastic work enabling our clients the opportunities to participate in Athletics. CEDA are a charitable organisation based in Exeter with a purpose of promoting the social inclusion of people with physical, sensory or learning disabilities living in the South West of England.
The South West Athletics Academy has both enabled children and adults at CEDA to fully access the facility of Exeter Arena and provided first class coaching. Creating a programme of sessions has enabled CEDA to meet many of its goals for sport. These include:
a) Introducing sport, exercise and healthier lifestyle to disabled adults and children and increase the activities they can participate with families, friends and peers.
b) Demonstrating and increasing the awareness of the potential abilities of disabled people to community and sports venues, their staff and customers.
c) Increase the capacity within the organisation and within the county network, raise the profile of sports for disabled people and share good practice.
The following statements give two view points from an adult attending CEDA and a CEDA staff member. They reflect what the athletic programme has meant to them and highlight some of the great benefits of taking part in athletics.
“Running around the track as fast as we could.” “Threw the shot putt.” “Running was my favourite.” “Yes, liked getting certificate.”
Daniel – Adult service user
“I think they built up camaraderie and also broke barriers for individuals to take part in activities they previously thought they could not do. I just loved seeing everyone have fun with smiles on their faces. Personally my role is to enable a 19 year old male who has autism and limited communication skills. At first he participated little in athletic activities appearing to lack focus and also through a trait of seeking exits to facilities. However seemingly week by week he began to engage more and more with whole group and able to perform nearly all activities by the end. This included throwing shot putt when asked and he was really quick over low hurdles!”
Jenna – Adult enabler
We look forward to many more opportunities for our service users to take part in athletics something that would not be possible without the commitment from Sonya and the South West Athletics Academy.
Howard Hoskins – Sports & Activities Leader
Testimonial from Will Cullen – Club Captain of University of Exeter Athletics Club
As head coach of the University of Exeter Athletics Club Sonya Ellis takes on a huge commitment every year. Managing the training of over one hundred university students is a daunting task but one that Sonya takes in her stride. Not only is she highly professional in her coaching but also very aware of the specific needs of every athlete she works with; this dedication and attention to everything she does makes her stand out from all other coaches. Alongside this her enthusiasm and love of the sport are great assets to her, always the first to offer help or advice when needed and approaching every challenge with a positive and encouraging attitude. Being a member of the club for three years now I have witnessed many athletes benefit hugely from the coaching Sonya has given. From inspiring total beginners to compete in their first ever race through to tailoring high performance coaching programmes for a variety of disciplines. She is a remarkable woman whose coaching deserves recognition at the highest level.
Will Cullen – University of Exeter Athletics Club Captain
Testimonial from a Parent of some Mini Athletes
‘We have been taking our kids to sessions at the Arena since the South West Athletics Academy started up. The sessions are brilliantly run by friendly and knowledgeable folk who delight in getting the kids involved from a very early age. The way information and training is imparted is very clever, and although they’re learning a great deal of sporting technique it’s done in such a way that they just keep coming back for more. A superb introduction to athletics. ’
Mr G Wilson (May 2012)
A couple of Facebook posts
Belgium 2011 South West Team
Had a fantastic time in Belgium – well done Team South West! And thanks to Sonya Ellis for her fabulous organising skills!
UK School Games 2011
Agree, it was definitely a pleasure as always. What astounds me is not only the talent but also the temperament of the athletes who we are responsible for. The job is always made so much easier by the meticulous planning and extra effort that goes into it on your part, Sonya, so give yourself a massive pat on the back too. Nice that you appear in the video that was produced!!