The showpiece annual event, which is seen as one of the most prestigious by the coaching community, took place at The Honourable Artillery Company, London on Thursday November 29.
Martial arts coach Gray, who coaches in Ripon and Boston Spa, said: “It’s brilliant. There is a lot of work you do as a coach, but to see the results paying off is amazing.
“I’ve been a finalist two years in a row, last year was a bit disappointing so I am delighted to have won it this year. Great coaching is about teaching individuals and helping to help them improve.”
Gray, 46, personally coaches over 200 children, aged four-16, on a weekly basis at his Byakko Shotokan Karate Association in Boston Spa and Boroughbridge, Thirsk and London.
A key focus of his coaching is supporting the emotional and mental well-being of his students.
He uses the core traditions of karate to help grow children’s confidence and self-belief, encourages them to embrace their own capabilities and supports them in the choices they make.
With no recognised governing body for karate in England, he has worked closely with North Yorkshire Sport over the last 12 months to create his own set of safeguarding policies for his club – the Karate Dojo in Ripon – and featured in a video promoting UK Coaching’s Principles of Great Coaching, launched during Coaching Week, where he discussed the importance of creating a safe training environment for children.
Gray, who started practising karate at the age of seven, is President of World Shotokan Federation (WSF) England and is also national team coach, and was instrumental in helping several members of the squad medal at this year’s WSF World Championships in Turkey.
His coaching highlight of 2018 was being asked to be involved with the Dunnington Inclusive Multi-Sports Festival in York, in recognition of his accomplishments coaching children with physical and/or social/emotional challenges, which brought together more than 200 pupils from schools, pupil referral services and specialist settings.
Emma Atkins, Director of Coaching at UK Coaching said: “The UK Coaching Awards is a way for the nation to praise the great coaching that takes place, and a chance for us in the coaching sector to reflect and celebrate the effect great coaching has on society.
“We are privileged to be able to recognise more great coaching again, especially, in a year where we’ve worked hard to help the public understand what great coaching looks like following the launch of the first ever Coaching Week.
“I would like to congratulate all of this year’s winners – as well as the finalists – for their incredible achievements and for benefiting the lives of so many. Well done.”
UK Coaching is the brand name of the National Coaching Foundation.