June 9, 2022, by brzbs1

Coach in Focus: Sonny Roberts

Sonny Roberts has been with the University of Nottingham Karate club for over 5 years now and is head coach of the programme. The former England Karate Team member has taken the karate club to double BUCS champions in a matter of years. In addition to working with and recruiting many new scholars and national team karate athletes, Sonny also has produced many novice medallists at BUCS. He’s even coached students who have never tried karate before university to win Senior BUCS medals and represent the university at European University (EUSA) level.

We spoke to the club about Sonny’s work and the impact he has had;

“Since Sonny joined the club he has impacted training in a very positive way, helping to implement a performance culture for not just the elite but for all student of the club, with the ethos of ‘anyone can get anything you want out of this club, as long as you are prepared to but the work in’. This usually translates as him going above and beyond for club members, putting on extra training sessions, camps with guest instructors/athletes and generally being there for students, listening to any concerns they may have. Sonny really embodies what the club is all about, from top to bottom, with this inclusive culture invested into by every member.

His impact on the club, his hard work and the performance habits that followed, was a major factor in the club’s recent BUCS successes. This was recognised by UoN Sport recently when the club was awarded Performance Club of the Year for 2022 – an award that meant very much to Sonny and to everyone that is part of the club. After all aside from the successes and competition results, the karate club remains a close knit group of students, volunteers and coaches, who enjoy their sport and can always rely on each other for support throughout their time at university.”

Alongside this, we also asked Sonny a few questions about his experiences here coaching at the University of Nottingham.

What do you enjoy the most about being a coach?

I was an international competitor for both Great Britain and England spread over a 12-year period.  Karate has given me so much, so to be able to support others enjoy the sport I love is amazing. It’s not just about the medals or international achievements, it’s more about seeing the character developments. Not everyone can be a world champion but helping people to be the best they can be is the greatest reward.

How enjoyable is coaching at the University of Nottingham and are there any standout moments from your experience here?

I am very proud to be the Head Coach at the University of Nottingham. The staff and the students make it a great place to work. The facilities Nottingham provides and also the support departments make my job so much easier.

There are a number of standout moments during my time at the University. From the Women winning us our first ever Team Kumite Gold medal in 2020 to Karate becoming a Performance sport to us winning Gold, Silver and Bronze at this year’s senior men Kata event. However, the standout moments are always when I have students that tell me they were going to quit competitive karate before they came to the University, and how being a part of the University of Nottingham squad has helped them fall back in love with the sport.


We thank Sonny for his continued dedication at the University of Nottingham. You can find out more about Performance Karate at the University of Nottingham here, and follow the club on social media.

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