07th December 2023
Joel Lock (left) with Active Sussex workforce lead Nick Chellel
Rising Star Award winner - Joel Lock
A coach working hard to make sport accessible for all has been recognised for his work by winning a Rising Star Award at this year’s Sussex Sport & Physical Activity Awards.
Joel Lock, 26, from Defiant Sports in Eastbourne, has been described as an ‘outstanding coach and employee’ who goes above and beyond his role.
Joel said of the award: “It was very exciting. Somehow at 26 and bald I am still a rising star, so I am very happy about that. Hopefully I have a bright future.”
He has introduced initiatives such as inventing a ‘traffic light’ behaviour system that is now used throughout Defiant Sport.
And he has created resources and cheat sheets for all the coaches to refer to in order to ensure all the sessions are accessible and engaging.
This year Joel has created and delivered accessibility training to other sport providers and is now working on his Level 3 tennis coach qualification to his longlist of credentials.
Nominating him, managing director Loretta Lock, said: “Every person he coaches is supported and enabled to engage.
“We receive positive feedback consistently about Joel, both from the players and their carers or support professionals.
“Joel is regularly requested by our players and if he is absent or unable to run a session, the players are always disappointed to see me.”
It has not been an easy journey for Joel, battling a bladder cancer diagnosis which he has now overcome, but he will still always have a smile and an ear for those who need him.
Testimonies highlight the confidence he instals in participants.
One parent said their neuro divergent 12-year-old daughter would not take part in PE at school before attending Defiant Sports. Now she gets recognition for her efforts in school PE.
An adult with learning difficulties who was too uncomfortable participating in mainstream sport began attending group sessions and then asked Joel to give private lessons in fitness and tennis.
This resulted in him becoming regularly active, losing weight and turning his state from diabetic to pre-diabetes through regular exercise.