by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips
Teach. Train. Prepare. Tutor. Drill. Educate. Instruct. Sport.
Put them all together and they spell COACH.
In this the second installment of five features celebrating National Coaching Week, we asked Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference head coaches one question, Why did you decide to become a coach and what is the most difficult part of being a coach?
Here are just a few of their responses?
"I started coaching right out of high school, there was something about the idea of teaching and leading that led me to my decision to coach. And it was, in part, to my high school Phys Ed teacher and volleyball coach Rodger Jackson, from Assumption High School in Cold Lake. But I didn't really become passionate until I coached a summer of Team Alberta Volleyball in 1999 with Darrel MacDonald (another mentor from Cold Lake)." Chris Wandler – Red Deer College women's volleyball.
"Being 5'10 and not athletic, my dreams of the NBA were very short lived. My passion for the game was not. Coaching allows me to be fully in a game that I love. The most difficult job is relating to players that don't have that same love/passion for the sport." Matt Barreiro- The Kings University men's basketball.
"I am not sure I ever really 'decided' to become a coach. Coaching was just a natural transition for me over time; I evolved into a coach by staying connected to the game long after my own playing days were behind me."
"All coaching comes with its struggles and those struggles vary from environment-to-environment. One of the struggles at the collegiate level is working with people who have to manage school/life/sport in a harmonious way. These players are not professional athletes who can solely direct their time and energy at their sport of choice. They are people who are growing in a world which requires them to achieve results and stay balanced on many fronts…struggles in one area will always dribble negatively into the others. Working with them to find a balance is key; I have to remind myself I don't coach athletes, I work with people who happen to be athletes at this time," Trevor Moore – Medicine Hat College golf.
"I love being part of teams, competition and the opportunity to influence student-athletes as people through sport. The most difficult part of being a coach for me is learning how to turn my coaching brain off. It can become all consuming." Shane Sowden - Briercrest College men's basketball.
"I found a love of coaching after my playing days. The most difficult part of being a coach is the challenges of the professional pathway. Despite the CCAA, U-Sport and the NCCP as well as Sport Canada working hard to professionalize coaching in Canada, it continues to be a struggle to educate all stakeholders in the true value of coaching and the priority of investment it has to be to sport and education development in Canada." Todd Warnick - NAIT women's basketball.
"I became a coach for a variety of reasons: 1) I love the process of competition, I often use the phrase "never tested, never trusted". How good can you become in the heat of competition. 2) Competence breeds confidence- it is gratifying to see people become confident as they get better at a skill - and this confidence "leaks" into other areas of life. If you have learned how to handle pressure in the sporting context, you can use that lesson in other areas. 3) The "pass it on principle". I had coaches that spent time with me as a University student that made me better as a player and person; I hope to do the same.
"Difficult parts of being a coach…..hmmm, the primary difficulty is working in a country (Canada) that is more interested in pro sport than amateur sport." Greg Ryan - University of Alberta Augustana women's volleyball.
"I decided to coach because I loved the game so much, that when I was done my eligibility, I was looking for a way to stay close to the game and I found that through coaching. The most difficult thing is bridging the gap between skill levels (1st years and 5th years)." Keegan Kuhr, Keyano College men's volleyball.
"I became a coach to give back to a sport that I have had so much out of and for the love of the sport. The toughest part of being a coach is not being able to play." Ian Tully- Medicine Hat College men's soccer.
"I coach because sport has always been an incredible and powerful influence in my life and opens incredible doors. I feel compelled to give back in any way I can." Jackie Bender – Lakeland College cross country.
"I got into my coaching because of my dad. My dad was a community coach for many years. He was and still is a big advocate for giving back to your community. The most difficult part of coaching is having your player buy into the process and see the big picture." Dwayne Vigilance - Keyano College women's basketball.
"For me I didn't really decide to become a coach...it's very much part of my personality and who I am. I'm a coach at heart and have always gravitated to coaching opportunities throughout my own athletic career. Since I was 17, I have had the privilege to be a coach for a number of sports and be a part of athlete's lives along the way. I take great pride in knowing that being a coach is more than just the athletic experience for an athlete, but rather a major contributor to their development as a person as well. I might add that it's an absolute blast as well. Being with the team at practices and competitions and seeing players develop is very rewarding.
"The most difficult part about coaching, for me, has to be during the rare times when an athlete's motivation doesn't align with the teams. My role as a coach is to provide an environment where athletes can maximize their potential, so it can be difficult when a talented player comes along and somehow falls short with their own desire and motivation to succeed." Jodi Campbell – MacEwan University golf.
"I really like the opportunity to help develop young men into future leaders. I noticed a lack of direction through Junior (hockey) in regards to education, career planning, finance planning etc. I wanted to bridge that gap as well as entertain my competitive nature with coaching a sports team. The most difficult part of coaching is keeping 27 young men motivated every day to make good decisions. One bad decision from one individual can impact the rest of the team in a negative way." Nate Bedford – Portage College men's hockey.
"I decided to become a coach because of my enjoyment and passion for sport, the way it creates relational connection among people and the platform it provides to build into the lives of young people. The most difficult part for me is then... ironically...to not get so caught up in the tactics and pursuit of excellence that I forget to see the life of a young person in front of me and think about how I can help them get to where they want to go." Colin Kubinec - Ambrose University women's volleyball.
"I became a coach because it contained a few aspects of life that I enjoy. I enjoy relationship and fellowship and working with young people and sports provides a very real environment where they see me at my best and at my worst and vise-versa. It is very real and genuine and facilitates relationships of depth and where you can really get to know people. I also enjoy competition and the challenge of competing. I also very much enjoying seeing individuals grow and improve and coaching blesses me with that opportunity." Paul Armbruster - Ambrose University men's volleyball.
"I became a coach to help others achieve their full potential and give them the tools to be successful in life. The most difficult part of coaching is understanding each athlete as an individual and developing an individualized plan to make them realize and achieve their full potential." Mark Porter - Medicine Hat College men's volleyball.
"I chose to become a coach for a number of reasons. Firstly, I wanted to develop my teaching skills and to do so I needed to work with a skilled player's base. Working with skilled athletes has challenged me to increase my knowledge of all aspects of high-performance. Secondly, I love working with the younger generation. As a coach, we teach much more than the sport that our athletes play. Coaches become mentors and can assist in the young adults "life" development. Finally, working for Red Deer College and the highly-skilled professionals that are employed there has been extremely rewarding. Red Deer College has made me a better teacher, coach, mentor and overall person." Scott Bergdah – Red Deer College golf.
"I decided to become a coach because I truly enjoy being a part of a team with a common goal of pursuing excellence on a daily basis. The most challenging aspect is staying course when adversity occurs." Tim Fragle – NAIT men's hockey
"Why did I become a coach? I' don't know, I've always coached, my first year coaching High School athletes was 1980 and here it is 2018, so you can tell I'm old. I love to be around the athletes and the game, the atmosphere, the energy, usually everything is so very positive. The opportunity to work with our youth in a sports setting is something I wish everyone had the chance to experience at least once.
"What's most difficult? Finding the will in a team to prepare to win, to truly dig in and fully commit to a common goal, but when it happens, it's amazing and there's no better experience." Brian Anstice – Kings University women's basketball.
"Coaching has been a passion for over 30 years, I enjoy watching the journey of development and discovery unfolding as the season unfolds." Gerard Brand – Ambrose University women's basketball.
"I started coaching when I moved to Grande Prairie from Calgary because I wanted to find people to train with; people at my ability level. At the time, I was a 29 year-old provincially-competitive road racer. I figured a few of the college guys could give me a good workout. Now, almost 30 years later, I run with slower girls.
"The most difficult part of being a coach is dealing with athletes who don't have the love of the sport and work ethic that you do. I learned very early in my coaching career, you can't want it more than the athlete you are coaching." Bill Corcoran - Co-Coach Grande Prairie Regional College cross country.
"Don't really know why. I wanted to be a teacher but coaching pulled me in its direction as a profession. Now it's the best thing I could have ever done with my life. Most difficult part of being a coach is cutting a player or telling someone who really wants to play bad in our program that we have no room for them." Mike Connolly - NAIT men's basketball.
"My first coaching experience was when I was 12 years-old and I helped teach young kids how to skate. I soon realized how much I love teaching, mentoring and sports, so coaching essentially 'found me'. As for the most difficult part of coaching, there's just never enough time to get everything done that I'd like to do!" Grace Scott – Kings University women's volleyball.
"My decision to become a coach was to help the next generation of players, to get involved into the sport that has given me so much enjoyment over the many years I have played it." Stephen Newton – Medicine Hat College women's soccer.
"I decided to become a coach because I wanted to pass on my love of curling to young players and watch them succeed. The most difficult part is the helpless feeling when a game is underway - curling is unique in that most of our work coaching comes before and after games, not during." Chris McQuid - Lakeland College curling.
"I decided to become a coach because I knew my playing days were behind me, but I knew I wasn't done with volleyball. Coaching was the next natural progression for me to stay in the sport." Luc Jacobson - Concordia University of Edmonton men's volleyball
"I started similar to many other coaches! Someone needed a coach so I volunteered! Later, coaching my daughters' sports teams and being involved in their development was a motivating factor! (The most difficult part of coaching) is time management between, family, career, admin duties and coaching." Ryan Heggie - Lethbridge College men's basketball.
"The reason I became a coach was because after my playing days had come to a conclusion, I still had a passion for the game of hockey and I wanted to give something back to the game that had given me so much throughout my life. In my opinion, I believe that the most challenging part of being a coach is also the most enjoyable part as well, which is creating a successful culture and developing buy-in from all of your student-athletes. Once this is established, the fun begins and you really get to see the fruits of your labour as your team begins reaching it's potential." Chris Leeming - Olds College women's hockey.