Op-Ed: It's time for brands to step up and support community sport

11 Jun 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

During UK Coaching Week, Michael Inpong (pictured above), Strategy & Marketing Director, Muller, says brands need to step up and invest in community sport - and reveals how he got into coaching because of his brand's partnership with British Athletics, where it curently serves as Title Sponsor.

I have been involved in sport all my life; I was part of a professional football academy in France during my teens, and I won the men’s over 20s category at the All-England Shotokan Karate Championships in 2013 – despite a broken finger 3 weeks before the competition!

Throughout my sporting life, I have been lucky enough to work with some fantastic coaches. Those who have invested their time and devoted their expertise to supporting and improving athletes - they make sport what it is.

More recently I have been undertaking my own coaching journey having discovered a love for athletics through Müller’s partnership with British Athletics. I am now part of the coaching team at my local athletics club having completed my Level 1 and 2 coaching qualifications.

The experience has been incredibly affirming. I am a strong believer in constantly educating yourself – and coaching is the perfect vehicle for self-development. It is both inspiring and humbling to see first-hand the marvellous generosity and commitment of the coaching community.

I’m not alone in recognising the value of coaches. New research from UK Coaching has shown the vital work coaches deliver is being understood and appreciated more than ever, with over two thirds (69%) of the nation believing it is important for society to value the role that coaches and instructors play in keeping local communities active.

The pandemic has exacerbated many of the existing health issues in the UK, including the mental health crisis, and coaches will be central to supporting the nation to get back into physical activity post-pandemic.

I believe that now more than ever, brands need to recognise the incredible impact that coaches have and play their part by investing in the power of coaching and community sport.

The time is now for brands who have a stake in sport to play a major role in getting more people moving and building active communities – they must step up and play their part in helping rebuild Britain as a sporting nation which supports everyone from top to bottom.

It should no longer be acceptable to sponsor the ‘crown jewel’ events – Euros, Olympics, etc - without showing a strong, meaningful and lasting commitment to building a healthier nation. I believe that this starts within community sport and physical activity.

I can say with certainty my own coaching experience has embellished both my professional and personal life, and I believe firmly in the capacity of coaching to transform lives. With the UK needing perhaps the biggest transformation in living memory post pandemic, we must all work together to build back stronger – with the power of coaching on our side.