An Ulster athletics champ who turned to coaching when an injury forced him to take a break from sports is showing other young athletes that teaching is just as rewarding as taking part.
Connor Lunnun from Ballymena had previously taken two first-place titles for the long jump in Ulster’s indoor athletics championships, but was forced to take a break from competing after a rugby injury left him with a slipped disk in his back when he was just 16.
Student Connor, now 18, faced months of physiotherapy after his accident.
He says: ‘It was very frustrating to put my sporting career on hold. I felt a bit unnecessary- I felt like I wasn’t doing what I was good at.
‘Fortunately my athletics club was very supportive and they organised for me to go on my first training course shortly after my injury.
‘As I started to take more courses they allowed me to take more of a leading role in the coaching.’
With Fixers, Connor has developed a series of posters urging other young athletes to consider coaching, after noticing that the profession lacks young instructors.
Click the image below to see the posters.
Connor says: ‘When I went on courses I realised that there was no-one there who was my age.
‘Most coaches are older, but younger athletes who have competed offer lots in terms of experience and have a great understanding of current training exercises.’
Connor plans to share his posters in local sports clubs, schools, gyms and leisure centres.
He says: ‘I want other people to know that coaching isn’t just for people who are done with competing.
‘Although I have had some serious injuries and they have put me back, I am competing again now.
‘But for me, training others now comes before competing.’
Connor says that coaching can sometimes be more rewarding than competing.
He says: ‘I have actually found it more rewarding being able to pass on my knowledge to someone else, as opposed to getting personal rewards through competing.
‘I feel a great deal of pride being able to pass on what I know.’
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.