DORSET’S Great Britain and England Hockey performance lifestyle coach, Emma Mitchell, has lifted the ‘Support Staff’ award at the PLx Awards 2023, hosted by UK Sport.

Mitchell’s role as a performance lifestyle coach entails aiding athletes with balancing and enhancing their personal lives alongside their sporting careers.

Mitchell, from Lydlinch in north Dorset, began her professional sporting career by playing international rugby for England as well as her club, Saracens.

During her international rugby career, she served as England’s vice-captain, and was appointed honorary life member of the Rugby Football Union as well as member of the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2000.

READ MORE: Dorchester's Bob Mowlem wins national coaching award

Following her retirement, Mitchell got into coaching with Saracens as well as in the USA and Canada.

However, her vast experience has allowed her to branch out into a new sport.

For more than a decade, she has been working with Great Britain and England Hockey as a performance lifestyle coach, passing on her wisdom to Olympic and Paralympic athletes alike.

After collecting the award in Stratford-upon-Avon, Mitchell said: “They’re (hockey squad) not only incredible athletes but they’re incredible people and this role is so much about being alongside them on the journey. 

“I feel privileged to be able to do it for nearly 17 years. It is the most rewarding job I’ve had, and I’m grateful to hockey for really integrating the service into the team, and into the whole support the athletes receive.

“I very much feel a part of the team and I know that they are grateful for the support they receive. So, thank you.”

Mitchell champions the importance of a broad identity alongside genuine commitment to dual aspirations, with 50-75 per cent of the hockey players completing part-time work alongside their international programme.

All players are tracked against a podium framework, with 95 per cent of athletes sitting within the bronze to gold category in the Tokyo cycle.

Her ability to deliver personalised, one-to-one, support as well as group sessions to a ‘gold standard’ has enabled the development of a superior team culture, as well as aiding individuals both on and off the pitch.

Having started this role in 2007, Mitchell has promoted mental wellbeing in sport prior to mass awareness of its importance, which has come about only in recent years.

England and GB Hockey performance director, Ed Barney, added: “I want to thank Emma for her dedication to the athletes, staff and Hockey.

“The impact that she has made across our programme has been truly exceptional. As a staff team are thrilled to see her win the ‘Support Staff’ award.

“I have worked with Emma for the past 10 years and it has been a privilege getting to know and work with her.

“It’s almost impossible to articulate the value and impact that Emma has brought to England and GB Hockey over the past 17 years.”

The PLx Awards celebrated the high-performance sporting community in the UK and their contributions as an individual, team, sport, or event during 2023.

To find out more, visit