Anne Barrett, Ollie Green, Alan Williams and Joe Glanfield have won the Coaching Chain award at this year’s UK Coaching Awards, which recognises excellence in coaching.
It was on the Welsh waters of Llanishen Sailing Centre where coach Barrett taught an eight-year-old Mills to love sailing, and when she joined the Welsh National Optimist Squad the following year it was Welsh National Squad coach Green who honed her racing skills and dedication.
Playing an important role in her transition from a good racer to a fierce competitor on the international stage was Welsh National Squad Coach Williams. As well as being a calm and supportive influence, Williams taught Mills about performing at the highest level under the highest pressure.
Double Olympic medallist Glanfield has been an indispensable part of Mills’s sailing career for the last 10 years. Describing him as a friend, mentor and inspiration, Mills is clear that she wouldn’t have achieved her Olympic medals without him.
“I’m absolutely delighted that these four hugely influential coaches have been recognised with this award,” said Mills, who at Tokyo 2020 will aim to become the most successful female Olympic sailor of all time by winning a second gold medal.
“From nurturing me in Optimist dinghies as an eight-year-old to seeing me through to my first Olympic medal, these guys have been instrumental in my development as a person and as an athlete. I will be forever grateful for their input, dedication and devotion to me.”
Emma Atkins, UK Coaching’s Director of Coaching, added: “The Coaching Chain award is unique in the sense that it celebrates not just one coach but all the coaches who have been behind the growth and development of one of our star athletes.
“Throughout our lives there are people who, through coaching sport physical activity, will help us be better tomorrow than we were yesterday. They help us to realise our goals and motivations, and challenge us to improve mentally, as well as physically.
“Great coaches not only help create some of the greatest athletes this country has ever seen but are more importantly a force for good in our society – making this world a healthier and happier place.”
Mills’ coaches share the award with the coaching chain of England cricketer Ben Stokes.
The award will be presented at a glitzy ceremony at the Tower Hotel in London on December 5.