We have been taking our kids to sessions at the Arena since the South West Athletics Academy started up. The sessions are brilliantly run by friendly and knowledgeable folk who delight in getting the kids involved from a very early age. The way information and training is imparted is very clever, and although they’re learning a great deal of sporting technique it’s done in such a way that they just keep coming back for more. A superb introduction to athletics.
Mr G Wilson – parent of mini athlete
Last year, I decided that it was best for my athletic development to move to another coach. However due to a lack of coaches in my area I had to search further afield. I met Sonya on a visit to Exeter University and immediately took a liking to both her personality and her coaching style, so when she said that she runs a distancing coaching business she was the obvious choice.
Five months later and with the help of Sonya’s coaching I have just won the Scottish indoor championships U20 men’s 400m.
Robbie Stenhouse (U20 400m Scottish Indoor Champion)
Elite Performance Coaching
As head coach of the University of Exeter Athletics Club Sonya Ellis takes on a huge commitment every year. Managing the training of over one hundred university students is a daunting task but one that Sonya takes in her stride. Not only is she highly professional in her coaching but also very aware of the specific needs of every athlete she works with; this dedication and attention to everything she does makes her stand out from all other coaches. Alongside this her enthusiasm and love of the sport are great assets to her, always the first to offer help or advice when needed and approaching every challenge with a positive and encouraging attitude. Being a member of the club for three years now I have witnessed many athletes benefit hugely from the coaching Sonya has given. From inspiring total beginners to compete in their first ever race through to tailoring high performance coaching programmes for a variety of disciplines. She is a remarkable woman whose coaching deserves recognition at the highest level.
Will Cullen – Club Captain of University of Exeter Athletics Club
I think they built up camaraderie and also broke barriers for individuals to take part in activities they previously thought they could not do. I just loved seeing everyone have fun with smiles on their faces. Personally my role is to enable a 19 year old male who has autism and limited communication skills. At first he participated little in athletic activities appearing to lack focus and also had a trait of seeking exits to facilities. However seemingly week by week he began to engage more and more with whole group and able to perform nearly all activities by the end. This included throwing shot putt when asked and he was really quick over low hurdles!
Jenna – Adult Enabler
My son and I met Sonya when we were visiting Exeter University. We were both impressed by her enthusiasm and knowledge. When my son decided he wanted to change coach, one month after running for Scotland, we asked Sonya if she would coach him by distance, as we live in Jersey.
I knew it would not be easy, but Sonya has set him comprehensive training schedules for running and strength & conditioning, based on his feedback and objectives, and her experience of coaching the 400 metres.
With Facebook, Skype, and my amateur video footage to help Sonya ‘see’ some training sessions, the distance coaching has proved very successful and supportive, especially during niggles and illness. We are looking forward to his races when all of that hard work and focused training will pay dividends.
Grant Stenhouse (Parent of athlete)