Coaches can sometimes be the unsung heroes of athletic success. The images in the media are of gold-medal-winning athletes standing on podiums with their coach nowhere to be seen. But almost without fail, athletes will credit their coach for their success ahead of anyone else.
Coaches lead and inspire athletes from community programs to the Olympic and Paralympic podiums. At the BC Games, coach education and training is a priority with all coaches at the Games requiring certification from the National Coaching Certification Program.
Coaches BC is the provincial organization responsible for coaching education programs and the ongoing support and development of coaches.
“A coach’s preparation for the BC Games, or any other competitive environment, is just as important as an athlete’s preparation,” says Coaches BC Executive Director Gord May.
“Every successful athlete has been trained by someone who has taken the time to learn about the technical aspects of their sport and how to prepare their athletes both mentally and physically. Excellence will come about when you have the right tools and use them the right way.”
The Provincial Sport Organizations involved in the BC Winter and BC Summer Games have demonstrated that they are committed to coach development throughout the province. Many sports utilize the BC Games as a unique opportunity for coach mentorship and training.
Karate BC developed a junior coach mentorship program as part of the BC Winter Games where youth coaches have the opportunity to work with a certified adult coach.
Six coaches ranging in age from 15 to 18 years old will be part of the program at the 2012 BC Winter Games.
“The BC Games is an ideal way of furthering (development of) our young athletes into future coaches,” says Fernando Correia, the Duncan-based provincial advisor for Karate BC.
“I am excited about our new program and I know that our junior coaches are looking forward to attending the BC Winter Games and having the opportunity to develop new skills under the tutelage of some of Karate BC’s best coaches.”
Another successful mentorship program developed by the BC Games Society, Coaches BC and Promotion Plus, supports the education of female coaches.
For Laura Watson, technical director with Coaches BC and ringette coach, this has been a terrific opportunity for both her and her apprentice coach.
“As I started out in coaching I wish that I had had an opportunity to study from a seasoned coach. It would have provided me with the opportunity to see how an effective coach really operates,” she says.
“The BC Games experience that we have for our apprentice coach is absolutely the best experience that we could ever offer someone.”
The dedication and commitment of coaches around the province strengthens the overall sport system and contributes to communities and social development. For many, coaching is a way of life.
Gary Ricks, a Level 3 certified coach at Key City Gymnastics in Cranbrook, reflects on the impact of coaching on his life.
“Coaching helps you take stock of where you are now in all aspects of your life and how that compares to where you would like to be,” he says.
Over his 31-year coaching career, Ricks has been no stranger to the BC Winter Games having attended over 12 times. It will be a family affair this year at the BC Winter Games in Vernon as Ricks coaches the Kootenays Zone 1 team, his wife Michelle is the provincial advisor for gymnastics and his niece Madysen will be a competing athlete.
These Games are a major springboard for coaches looking to move on up to the Canada Games and what they learn in this multi-sport environment will prepare them for future opportunities.
In all, 122 head coaches and 110 assistant coaches will lead 1,148 athletes at the 2012 BC Winter Games, which run Feb. 23-26 in Vernon.