2. Mentorship and Development


Mentorship and Development


Summer 2015

Topic:   What goals    do you set with your team that don’t involve number of wins?
Responses:                                                                                                                                     Share:  Facebooktwittermail


Coach   Rebecca Tolen  –  Soccer – Rainy River – 10 Years

“After some pre-season discussion on what the team needed to do to take our game to the next level, our soccer team made it a goal to become known for our short passing game.

We really wanted to get away from the kick and chase game. The girls worked really hard on consistently setting up the triangles, work on over lapping, using support, their first touch and communication.

By taking the time to set a goal, breaking down what is needed to reach the goal, we were successful. Success was not based on wins but how many times we were able to maintain control of the ball while we moved down field.

The team chose their goals, picked skills needed to achieve the goal and I set up drills to support that learning. While I may have chosen differently, by letting them take the lead, they took ownership of their learning.”


Coach Amanda Miles  – Basketball – Markham – 10+ years

“We always have a performance goal, what do they want to improve as a player. We also have a team goal, what do you want our team to have achieved by the end of the year (sometimes it is learning a specific play or other times it is developing a specific skill such as executing fast break passes 90% of the time).”

May 2015

Topic:  When your athletes reach a transition point, what type of guidance or advice do you give them?


Coach Terry Radchenko – Track and Field – Toronto

“There are numerous keys to success including proper nutrition, sleep, consistency in training, recovery and believing in yourself …just to name a few.

When transitioning, I believe communication moves to the top of that list. An athlete and a new coach will have to get to know each other quickly and the best way to do this is to talk. Both the coach and athlete should ask a lot of questions and ensure that they are truthful with their answers.

What expectations do each of you have from the other? What are your short and long term goals? What type of mileage have you done in the past? How have you built this mileage? Have you had any injuries? When and how did they occur and how did you recover from them? Recent blood test results? What have been some of your favorite and least favorite workouts? What was your typical pre-race session? Hopefully this type of communication will be ongoing in your new relationship.

How have you been sleeping? What are your stress levels like? Did you eat enough today? Do you feel like you’re coming down with something? Any little nagging injuries? In cases like these less is often more but if your coach doesn’t have all the necessary information they won’t be able to provide the best development plan for you.

A coach is there to help and guide you. The more information they have the better chance they have of helping you continue to progress, reach your goals and find out what you are truly capable of.”


Coach Amanda Miles – Basketball – Markham – 10+ years

“Transitioning is tricky but it is important not to tell them what to do but give them options and let them and their families make the decisions for what is best for them.

Every family has different situations so you can’t say do x or y or z but if you show them the options and tell them what to focus on when evaluating those options.”


Coach Trinette Goarley – Figure Skating – Barrie

“I always suggest other avenues in sport which satisfies their interests the most. Getting involved as a volunteer, professional, community helps keep perspective on what made them fall in love with sport in the first place.”


Coach Sean Ferguson – Swimming – Region of Waterloo – 18 years

“Transitions can have a forward or backward type of movement and, as a coach, I am consciously aware of that regarding this topic when coaching & discussing with my athletes..

*I’m assuming that the question is directly looking at athlete advancement, but I felt it was important to acknowledge that ‘transitions’ can be up or down..

So with that, my mentorship & advice to athletes who are in an upward transition stage is to be aware of your surroundings and remember the reason for why you are participating in sport (write down both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations the athlete expresses); for me, having fun is a must, and should always be at the top of one’s list and if it’s not then the discussion needs to be more in-depth..

I would also caution the athlete on things such as athletic ‘burn out’ and/or jumping in too quickly when she/he transitions and doing ‘status quo’ rather than listening to mind & body and how it’s reacting to the transition..

So take the time to create attainable short term goals with the athlete, parent(s) of the athlete, and their other transitioning coach or coaches (take the team approach to all of this) to ensure that the athlete is not pressured to meet someone else’s demand/goals which may be highly unachievable and/or unattainable; a slow gradual transition would also be ideal, but not always accessible..

So hopefully if everyone involved takes a gentler, communicable, and more community approach to transition, the athlete will accomplish and may even exceed, her/his set goals..

Oh and a long term goal that every coach should be encouraging whether the athlete is in transition or not, is the development of lifelong enjoyment of sport & active lifestyles; our governing sports & recreational bodies are trying to encourage this healthy attitude, and coaches need to not only be consciously aware of our present environment, but we also need to look into our future. And, by encouraging the benefits of healthy lifestyles through sport, it should help improve society which in turn will lessen certain maladies that seem to constantly be discussed regarding the youth of today.”


April 2015

Topic:  What advice do you give your athletes about  Nutrition .when coaching at a community, club or rec level?


Coach Joe Leightin – Gymnastics – Toronto – 35 years

“Try not to go into detail. I encourage to drink water and to stay away from sugar.”


Coach .Sean .Ferguson – Swimming – Region of Waterloo – 17 years 

“Sports Nutrition can be a very hard thing for anyone to navigate and understand.

So as a coach, I feel it’s important to inform my athletes of healthy alternatives to what is out there on store shelves; I don’t have all the answers or knowledge but if I stay up to date on current research, pay attention to the ingredients/nutritional labels of products, proactively seek out nutritional seminars & professionals, incorporate guest speakers for the athletes, and to take the marketing trends as just that…trends (trends are not sustainable, but healthy choices are), I feel I am better equipped to help my athletes.

Too often, you can attend any community/club/recreation level practice or competition, and you will see children & youth chugging down products such as: Gatorade, Powerade, Red Bull, Vitamin Water, Chocolate Milk etc. often because these products are packaged in bulk and/or on sale at the grocery store (which is more about convenience than anything), or these products are directly marketed to children/youth by showing their idols consuming the product in commercials and at events. These sponsored products are often filled heavily with sugar/sugar substitutes that are not needed and can be counterproductive; most don’t provide much, if any, athletic performance.”

Coach Guy Tapah .– Soccer – Ontario

“I advise my athletes to eat healthy before a game. If it is on their day off they can do what they wish but as long as they are game ready coming the next day.

My coaching staff teaches our players about the nutritional side of sports, but it is their job to listen and follow what we are saying. We can’t make sure that every single player is eating healthy before a match and in general. Therefore, we give them and their parents a 1 hour session at the beginning of the season on what we expect from our team and this is something we cover.”


March 2015

Topic:  As a coach, how do you help your athletes through a  setback (injury or performance)?

Coach Leilani Torres – Synchronized Swimming – Puerto Rico – 19 Years 

“Usually when they are injured there is nothing you can’t really do, just rehabilitation and patience. So  I would engage them in the training process, get their opinion on exercises, the view of the athlete is pretty helpful sometimes for coaches on deck.

This distracts them, keep them engaged in the training, motivates them to help their team and it has been my best tool since the first time I put it to test.”


Coach  Joe  Benedetti – Softball – Hamilton

“Sometimes after a very disappointing performance, an athlete will need time  “to protect ego” We spend a great deal of time building up our athletes confidence, we want them to feel prepared, expecting to do well, but in reality, that does not always happen.

Some athletes may need the time to get over the shock of a poor performance, they may need time alone and to even sleep on it. Usually within 12 hours maximum, a strong athlete will “face it” and begin to accept the result.

This is where the hard training on mental toughness, resiliency, the knowledge of all the D’s – Drive, Determination, Dedication, Devotion, and Desire will come to the surface to support the athlete…”


Coach Bruce Parker – Australian Football – Toronto – 10 Years 

“Injury management is key to getting a play back to performing. Limiting the amount of work done in practice to prevent aggravation of the injury.

Recognize and acknowledge that the player may want to do more to come back quicker but adhere to the plan laid out and agreed upon by you, the player and the medical team. Keep then motivated by including them in the drills in an assistant coach type role.”


Coach  Amanda Miles – Basketball – Markham

“Setbacks I find are 70% mental and 30% putting the work in to get back to peak performance level. I like to help my players by setting goals and using visualization through injuries, goal for the day/week/month. Small attainable feats that show progress but don’t overseers the injury. Depending on what the injury is I often use it to help develop their weaker side (if it is a right hand injury work on the left, if it is a right ankle, work on balancing on the left side). Another thing for injuries is keeping the player involved, giving them stats or responsibilities within the team so they don’t feel like they are being shut out.

For performance setbacks, I like to use visualization as well as keeping them up beat and smiling. If they had a bad game trying to help them shake it off and move on or make the corrections they need without being too harsh in the criticisms. Waiting a week and then focusing on it I find helps sometimes too when they aren’t as frustrated with the performance they had at the time they can often see how to fix it themselves.”


February 2015

Topic:  Staying  up  to  date  on  developments in coaching is key to staying on-top.
As a coach, how do you improve your own coaching skills and abilities?

Coach Sarah M. – Soccer – Ottawa

“Talking with other coaches is where I have learned the most about coaching. You get to tap into years, sometimes decades of experience. Especially when struggling with the soft-skills stuff, connect with athletes, team building, etc. Coaching seminars and conferences have probably had the most impact in terms of improving as a coach. “


Coach Sean Ferguson ChPC, RGP – Swimming – Region of Waterloo – 17 Years 

“The field of “coaching” is an interesting field to have a professional career in.

In my opinion, coaches constantly try to go above and beyond to obtain any edge they can get, to stay on top of their profession (which is not necessarily a career that is secure, steady, or well paying and can be extremely stressful at times, but can also provide a lot of fulfillment that other roles just can’t fulfill).

For myself, I use my background in: sports, recreation and community services, to my advantage as these professions have many governing bodies that I am required to, and/or choose to belong to; this allows me to stay current on certain topics through: newsletters, e-blasts, webinars, conferences, magazines, courses & e-learning, etc.

I also, actively seek out news, magazine, & journal articles (within and outside of my specific sport as well as from alternative areas around the world); I believe there’s always something you can learn from others and sport often advances by it’s leaders (coaches) looking outside their direct sport of choice and seeking information.

You can also find me contributing my own perspective to groups on social media (such as LinkedIn, Facebook and others), and volunteering my time to develop sport policy within one of my chosen professional fields with Canadian Parks & Recreation Association (focusing on things such as: Para-sport, Capacity & Leadership, and Physical Literacy).

Inside and outside of my yearly professional development requirements as a coach in Ontario and Canada, I often make it a point to do a few PD courses in a calendar year; this not only builds my qualifications & keeps me current, it also gives me a broader perspective and makes me a much better critical thinker.

Oh, and last, but not least, confer with other professionals by engaging yourself in discussions. *For myself, one person that I often have great discussions with is my sister, as we are both in very similar fields (she has a fitness and physical education background), and conferring with each other, often proves to be very helpful.”

Coach Jeff Klein – Hockey – Mississauga – 4 Years

“Well because hockey is so big in Canada, there are so many outlets that hockey coaches can use to learn more about the skills and abilities side. I am involved in hockey in my day-to-day life so I am lucky that I have the opportunity to learn all about the game and the behind the scenes of a hockey team. There are more traditional ways that I improve my skills and abilities through research and the web. I also like to ask other coaches in our league how they make themselves a better coach.”


January 2015

Topic: Although the coach often sets the agenda for a team or athlete, they aren’t the only ones with a say.
As a coach, what has worked for you when .resolving conflicts .with parents and family?

Coach Chris C. – Basketball/ Volleyball – Burlington – 15 Years

“The best way I solve parent conflicts is to avoid them. By this I mean by setting the expectations very clearly at the beginning of the season. No matter the sport, the usual conflicts involve playing time. At the beginning of the season be very clear about how you will be dividing up playing time and stick to those guidelines. Just because a game is important in the standings does not mean you change your substitution patterns or how you play your players. If you have a plan, communicate that plan, and stick to it you can eliminate a lot (unfortunately not all) of your parent conflicts.

Communication is the key to resolving conflicts properly so that things do not get blown out of proportion. You can use a web site to communicate your goals and expectations so that parents can access them when needed. If you have clear goals communicated then you can refer back to them when a conflict occurs.

Also, remember to take your time responding to a complaint. As coaches, our first reaction is often’ ” how dare they say that, look at the time I put in”. If you take a moment to remove the emotion of the situation and look at the root of the complaint or problem then maybe you can come to some resolution. Finally, build support within the coaching community as it can help, not to solve the conflict, but to lessen the impact it can have on you.

My experience has taught me that if you can demonstrate you have the player’s best interest at heart and not some hidden agenda or your own ego as motivating factors parent’s will generally recognize this and let you coach.”


Coach Mike D. – Soccer – Ottawa – 3 Years 

“Being open and transparent with regards to my coaching decisions and style is important when it comes to resolving conflicts with parents and family. Then when/if a conflict occurs I have clear facts and reasoning to use when addressing the issue. Sometimes it can be difficult to separate personal problems from conflict, but keeping it about the facts often helps.”

Coach Sean Ferguson ChPC, RGP – Swimming – Region of Waterloo – 17 Years 

“Communication, communication, communication; it can’t be stressed enough. Often, whether the conflict is our mistake or not as the coach, we are put into a mediator role and need to have the right tools at our fingertips to deal with situations (good and bad).

One way that I have approached conflict in the past, is to:

  1. Listen
  2. Digest the situation
  3. Ask questions to further understand the conflict
  4. Digest again
  5. Propose solutions to the problem & ask the other party/parties involved on their ideas for a solution that benefits all (coach, athlete, parent, club/sport, etc).
  6. Agree on a common ground to move forward
  7. Implement that common ground
  8. Check in with the other party to make sure everyone is still on the same page going forward
  9. Reflect (make notes, ponder how to avoid/curb this type of conflict, learn/grow from the conflict, etc).”


December 2014

Topic: A practice rhythm and routine, week in and week out, can build consistency. Often however, it gets interrupted. 
As a coach, how do you handle holiday breaks?

Coach Lindsay Matthews – Ice Hockey – Toronto – 5 Years 

“Opportunity. The Christmas break is conveniently located mid-season for ice hockey which creates a nice natural division of the season into two. If you are having a good start to the season, it can be framed as a well deserved break. If you are having a bad start to the season, it can be a good break to forget what is in the past and start fresh with the second part of the season. It is important to have a few good practices before the first game after the break to make sure the players can get used to the tempo again.”


Coach Sean Ferguson ChPC, RGP – Swimming – Region of Waterloo – 17 Years

“When I was an elite athlete, the sport of swimming didn’t allow for many ‘breaks’ – the season is very long and extremely demanding.The longest break in the season, was usually the two weeks in summer prior to the start of the next season.

Even over Christmas break, we were required to train, and train harder and more often…I guess for so called… opportunity? (this even occurred one year over the xmas break when the pool heater broke the first day of training and no one was able to come in and fix it; coach made us swim). As a coach myself, I can see many coaches wanting their athletes to continue to train, be in a specific routine over holidays, and to maintain their physical fitness.

However, with my professional background in sports and recreation, and working with children and youth my whole career, I would say that we all need breaks.

Breaks allow young bodies and minds to relax, grow, and recharge. It also allows the coach to reflect and move forward in a positive direction without a certain amount of pressure or stress; often we as coaches forget that we are overworked (go…go….go type of mind set) and don’t often, ourselves, get the breaks that we need to spend with family and friends, or just time to take a professional development course without the pressure of a cramming in a crash course.”


Coach Amanda Miles – Basketball – Markham – 10 Years

“I find holiday breaks are an opportunity for athletes to get together off the court and build their team bonding. Have a dinner or get together away from practice. In terms of rhythm and routine, sometimes it is good to get away for a week and refocus your mind and come back fresh and ready to work hard after. Especially if the athletes are feeling overwhelmed or frustrated this gives them time to regroup and refocus.”


November 2014

Topic: Quite a few times in my coaching career I’ve encountered siblings playing on the same team. 
As a coach, how do you approach dealing with sibling rivalry?

Coach Sean Ferguson ChPC, RGP – Swimming – Region of Waterloo – 17 Years 

“The best way is to proactively encourage skills and abilities of each “individual”; give each sibling the opportunity to shine individually. As well, in my opinion, just cause they are siblings, doesn’t mean there needs to be a rivalry; coach and mentor these athletes on how they can work together with their specific skills & abilities for the team to come to be one unit. When you give each individual an opportunity to use their own skills and abilities it allows each person to find their way (which in turn should prevent any rivalry).

*By the way, I would like to mention that there is a distinct difference between rivalry and being competitive or having friendly competition (as this can easily be confused). So this is also something you as the coach can lead your team in learning about the differences.”


Coach Briana Rodrigues – Athletics/Running – Toronto – 4 Years

“I think a good way to diffuse sibling rivalry, or rivalry of any kind, is to focus on what is not common between the siblings. Invariably there will be some differentiating skill between the two, such as one being slightly faster while potentially the other one is a better team player. It’s a coach’s challenge to find something for each. Then focus on that instead of what they have in common. That can channel the energy into something more positive for each kid and maybe even get them encouraging one another instead of competing with one another.”


October 2014

Topic: Success in team sports requires teamwork. A group’s ability to move as one and work for each other. This isn’t always a given. 
As a coach, what is your approach to building team chemistry?

Coach Joe Benedetti – Softball-Fastpitch – Hamilton

I think I got 55% in Chemistry in Grade 12 many years ago, but I do know you have to know the substances you are dealing with. Team chemistry starts with getting to know your teammates on, but mostly OFF the field. I learned from a mentor, the late Gil Read, that if you want to have a good party at the end of the season, have about 6 parties during the year. Gil, would invite the team and parents and families over for pool parties at his home. Simple activities like seeing a less skilled player doing amazing dives and swimming like a dolphin, helps players gain a wider perspective of their teammates.

Coaches can do many things to develop team chemistry, like encouraging carpooling, and so many other “getting to know your teammates” activities. Keep the following objective in mind – Ask yourself the question: “Can I honestly say my athletes are as happy for their teammate’s success as they are their own?” A tough question, but we all know the power of team spirit. Creating lasting friendships is a key goal of any coach, and it starts with team chemistry.”


Coach Henry D – Ice Hockey – Hamilton – 12 Years

Developing team chemistry on and off the field is very important. Group events such as chain gang runs, scavenger hunts, and Altitude climbing at McMaster University are great ways to develop a positive team culture. Events that physically bind players together force them to work together and trust each other; your team leaders usually surface at these events as well. We have also done a team cooking class to teach nutrition and promote a healthy lifestyle.

Establishing formal team goals and objectives are very important as well as they establish the team’s values and set a standard to measure their success and failures against. Having the players contribute goes a long way as they’ll have a personal stake in defining what’s important to the team.”


Coach Dallas Price – Rugby – Toronto – 3 Years

I think a bonding event is good. I ran a ‘fun’ practice last year. I surprised them at a regularly scheduled practice with a scavenger hunt. I made up teams with girls that didn’t really know each other as well. By the end they all had gotten to interact in much different ways than on the field. It helps them communicate more effectively when they do get back on the field.”


Coach Amanda Miles – Basketball – Markham – 10 Years

“I am a firm believer in team events outside of the court. I often have my players go out to dinners together or if we are away at a tournament having a fun night at a local activity hall (in Toronto Dave and Busters is good, or in London we go to The Palasad). I want them to do activities that are fun and do not focus around basketball, that allow them to interact and get to know each other in a different way.”


Coach Scott Weldon – Recreation Hockey & Competitive Soccer – Hamilton – 24 Years

My objectives as a coach are simple:

(A) Everyone sees the field every game. This approach does not fall under the statement that ‘everyone pays the same so everyone plays the same’. Not the case.

Players comes to the sport with different skillsets and different abilities. You can assign a number to each player reflecting their soccer acumen. Too often coaches start their “10’s” in most situations they deem as necessary or critical. If we, as coach, are looking to develop a roster of players do we not have to acknowledge the ‘6/7’ who is playing at an ‘8/9/10’ level by playing them more. And when the player that is capable of playing at a ‘10’ is playing down to a ‘7’ shouldn’t they play less?

Both players need to understand clearly what is expected of them and what should result in more consistent, better performances from everyone – Exactly the outcome needed to succeed and so desperately sought by coaches.

(B) The corollary to everyone sees the field is that you have addressed the primary wish (most often implied not expressed) of every player: “Make me feel important”. Nothing discredits or devalues a player like taking the long walk back to the car after sitting on the bench for a game, especially after a road game. (As troubling is seeing the player’s struggle to explain a coach’s decision to sit out the game when queried by parents.)

“That’s what happens in competitive soccer” is something that a coach says to anyone within earshot to justify their actions. As if saying it out loud makes the statement true.”


Coach Mike Miller – Soccer  – Milton/Halton – 25+ Years

In chemistry, there are interactions between atoms and molecules. The molecule that you get is based on the atoms that you have and how they have reacted to form the final product. Team chemistry is similar in that some people have the potential to react well to others while some people can react badly. What you hope to achieve is something where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Team Chemistry begins with team selection. If a superstar player, or a player who gets limited playing time, causes adverse reactions for, or destabilizes, the team, then the coach has expend energy to deal with it. Guus Hiddink, when assembling the South Korean National soccer team for the 2002 World Cup, chose not to select some of the best players in that nation at that time because of the negative affect they would have on team chemistry. He chose, instead, to go with a group of players who may have had lesser skill, but could perform together as a team. The result was that they made it to the semi finals of the tournament.

Once the team is assembled, a great way to promote team chemistry is to actually listen to the team and involve them in as many decisions as you can so that they have ownership and autonomy. In this way, they will feel respected and will respond accordingly.


September 2014

Topic:  Clutch. The ability to perform your best when it counts. However, most athletes only participate in a few competitions every year. 
As a coach, how do you approach  simulating competition during practice?

Coach Jackie Smith– Basketball – Toronto – 10 Years

“Simulating competition is a process and art and all about rivalry.

To replicate the intensity, speed, tenacity of a game environment is very challenging. My approach begins on day 1 and takes time to create. Beginning to create a culture of healthy competitiveness, rivalry and challenge is key to simulating game day. Similar to the intrinsic drive and motivation of Magic Johnson vs Larry Bird, neither player would be out worked by the other, the same mindset and drive needs to be created in your practice. To create an environment where players can compete, challenge, develop rivals in an appropriate, sportsmanship like and respectful environment is about education, opportunity and matching skill to challenge.

Players begin with being introduced to opportunity to compete with in parameters of team and sportsmanship like principles with appropriate matchups. Over time ensure that dynamics of the competitors foster challenge and skill development. As time goes on this dynamic if managed properly will foster a relationship where players push each other and challenge each other and thus a rivalry ensues. These rivalries will create a game like intensity, speed and tenacity that coaches love to see. To replicate the environment. Loud music. Spectators at practice. Adapt equipment. Modify the setting to suit the situation you are trying to mimic.”


Coach Mike Miller – Soccer  – Milton/Halton – 25+ Years

“The use of Global-Analytical-Global methodology is gaining traction in soccer. So is the use of functional practices, phase of play practices and the use of small-sided games. Let the game be the teacher. Recreate situations that happen in a game in your practices, in the parts of the field where they typically happen. Make sure that the practice is orientated the same way as the game (from end to end rather than going from sideline to sideline). The unconscious reading of visual cues is important for player development. Have the players use the ball as much as possible, including in their warm-up and their cool down.”


Coach Mike Hogg – Basketball –Norfolk County – 47 Years

End of close game foul shooting can be an intimidating experience for the young athlete. So during practice, we make sure we try to re-create an anxiety producing environment for the athlete.

“Near the end of the practice, when the athletes are somewhat fatigued, we have a refereed controlled scrimmage. When a foul occurs, we follow this procedure:

We set the scoreboard to a one, two, or zero point difference, line up the athletes properly at the foul line, and have the parents and any other on-lookers make encouraging (or discouraging) noises. Then all is very silent during the shot. We can add other distractions as we see fit.

Our athletes have been trained to focus only on their routine for shooting foul shots, and block out any distractions, whether external or internal, and, for us, this is a great way to practice this skill.”


Coach Brenda Lanois – Trampoline/Gymnastics – Pembroke – 28 Years

“In the weeks leading up to a competition, the athlete will perform their routines and be marked on them as if they were actually at a competition. From there, they will perform their routines before all the other gymnasts and trampolineists in the gym. They will officially be introduced and walk onto the trampoline, they will acknowledge the “judges”, perform their routines, stop and address the audience, and leave as if they were at a competition.”


Coach Colin Walker – Volleyball  Ottawa – 30+ Years

“Every drill ends with a goal to be met. Sometimes the athlete is against themselves (beat your previous best), sometimes groups are against each other (first to a set number wins, which group can go the longest, etc..) or a full team drill where a specific goal needs to be met to end the drill. Also small sided games are used regularly with a variety of consequences for losing or winning. End of every practice we have some form of competition to see you will be taking down the net. In the past I have created a ladder where we post results from serve reception practice stats, serving stats, etc… We constantly talk about challenging yourself to improve to embrace the competition versus fearing it. You’re not always going to win but you can always try to put your best effort forward to see what will happen. That is your biggest competition, consistency in putting your best effort forward. It is the only thing the athlete can fully control.”


Coach Jodi Gram – Basketball  Markham – 10 Years

“Every “drill” is planned to fit into the bigger picture. We do drills in which players understand the context of where, why and when it is taking place. This allows me as the coach to hold them to very specific standards that have been set and are mutually understood on what those actions should look like and sound like. Error detection and correction is not in the abstract, but is immediately transferable instead, and is more likely to show up in real game situations because it has been meaningfully practiced.”


Coach Neale Gillespie – CAC – Ottawa – 20 Years

“Competition simulations are a great tool to work on developing the competitive edge and decision making under pressure. During any activity in a training session, the competitive environment can be simulated. Simple things like increasing speed or intensity, closing down space, or adding additional options for increased decision making are all part of simulating the competitive environment. Ensuring the training environment replicates the competitive one is essential as well. For example, training in a loud environment and competing in a quiet one can be challenging for athletes. Pay attention to the little things. The key is relating everything you do to a game like setting. Competition is inherent in sport. Take advantage of it in your training!”


Coach Brock Ross – Running  – Toronto – 2 Years

“Occasionally throwing in some friendly races and competitions among a team can be a good simulation when you’re dealing with highly competitive personality of some athletes. Also working on visualization techniques is always important.”

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