Home > Returning to Coaching: What the Next Stage Means

Returning to Coaching: What the Next Stage Means

The Ontario Government has announced that multiple regions within the province will be moving into the final stage of Ontario’s Phase 2: Restart plan on July 17th. Similar to Stage 1 and 2, the provincial government will be evaluating Ontario’s progress for 2-4 weeks to see if any adjustments need to be made to ensure safety throughout the province.

This announcement is an exciting step towards some “normalcy” of everyday life. However, while this update allows more freedom for the general public, it also can pose lots of questions. So what do you need to know as a coach heading into Stage 3?

NOTE: Durham Region, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton Region, Hamilton, Lambton, Niagara Region, Windsor-Essex County (excluding Municipality of Leamington and Town of Kingsville), Windsor-Essex County (Municipality of Leamington and Town of Kingsville only), and York Region have NOT been approved to move into Stage 3.

(UPDATED: July 29th) – As of July 31st at 12:01am, Toronto and Peel Region will transition to Stage 3.

Access your sport’s return to play guidelines and protocols

What Does This Mean?

Due to the fact that every region in Ontario has not experienced the same impact of COVID-19, not all regions are transitioning into stages at the same time.

As you are compiling your information to return-to-play, ensure that your region within the province has been cleared for a Stage 3 start.

Stage 3 begins July 17th, 2020 for approved regions.

Outdoor sports can resume as long as participants are maintaining physical distancing guidelines. Outdoor sports can still only participate in training – no scrimmages or games.

Guidelines include:

  • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports is not permitted.
  • Team sports in which body contact between players is either an integral component of the sport or commonly occurs while engaged in the sport (e.g., wrestling, judo) are not yet permitted, unless the approach can be modified to prevent prolonged or deliberate physical contact.
  • Amateur and recreational sports leagues may resume so long as they do not allow prolonged or deliberate physical contact between players or if they have modifications to avoid physical contact between players.
  • Leagues must contain no more than 50 participants in total. If participants in a league exceed 50, the league may divide into smaller groups of no more than 50. Players are not yet permitted to play against players outside of their league or group.
  • Spectators at all sporting events, including professional sports, will be subject to gathering limits and physical distancing measures, with assigned seating where possible
  • Outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people, subject to physical distancing of at least two metres with people from outside their households or social circles

Team sports may only be practised or played within the facility if they do not allow for physical contact between players or if they have been modified to avoid physical contact between the players.

Organized team sports that are practised or played by players in a league may only be practised or played within the facility if the league either:

  • contains no more than 50 players and does not permit its teams to play against teams outside of the league, or
  • divides its teams into groups of 50 or fewer players and does not permit teams in different groups to play against one another or against teams outside of the league.

Facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities, including gymnasiums, yoga and dance studios and other fitness facilities, may open if they comply with the following conditions:

  1. Every person who engages in sports or recreational fitness activity at the facility, other than a team sport, must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person at all times during the activity.
  2. The total number of members of the public permitted to be at the facility in a class, organized program or organized activity at any one time must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from other persons in the facility, and in any event, cannot exceed,

  3. i. 50 persons, if any of the classes, organized programs or organized activities taking place at the time are indoors, or

    ii. 100 persons, if all of the classes, organized programs or organized activities taking place at the time are outdoors.

  4. The total number of members of the public permitted to be at the facility in areas containing weights or exercise machines at any one time must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the facility, and in any event cannot exceed 50 persons.
  5. The total number of spectators permitted to be at the facility at any one time must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the facility, and in any event cannot exceed,

    i. 50 spectators, if the spectators will be indoors, or

    ii. 100 spectators, if the spectators will be outdoors.

  6. Team sports may only be practised or played within the facility if they do not allow for physical contact between players or if they have been modified to avoid physical contact between the players.
  7. Organized team sports that are practised or played by players in a league may only be practised or played within the facility if the league either,

    i. contains no more than 50 players and does not permit its teams to play against teams outside of the league, or

    ii. divides its teams into groups of 50 or fewer players and does not permit teams in different groups to play against one another or against teams outside of the league.

  8. Any equipment that is rented to, provided to or provided for the use of users of the facility must be cleaned and disinfected between each use or, where used in a game or practice, at the end of play, such as at the completion of a game or practice.
  9. Activities must not be practised or played within the facility if they require the use of fixed structures that cannot be cleaned and disinfected between each use or, where used in a game or practice, at the end of play.

(2) Facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities may open to provide space for a day camp for children that is in compliance with subsection 9 (1).

What does this mean for shared indoor spaces in these facilities?

The person responsible for a business or place that is open shall ensure that:

(a) any washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms, showers or similar amenities made available to the public are cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition; and

(1.b) any equipment that is rented to, provided to or provided for the use of members of the public must be cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.

(2) For greater certainty, clause (1) (b) applies to computers, electronics and other machines or devices that members of the public are permitted to operate.

  • Steam rooms and saunas are not yet permitted to open.

How Does This Impact Me As a Coach?

Ensure your club or organization has all participants sign a COVID-19 waiver confirming they understand the risks of returning to sport in a pandemic environment, have not been exposed to COVID-19 (or if so, 14 days have passed), are not experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms, and their agreement to follow the provincial sport organization’s plan.

For more information on risk management and details on waivers in the sport environment click HERE.

According to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act:

In-person teaching and instruction:

5. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the person responsible for a business or place that is open and that provides in-person teaching or instruction shall ensure that every instructional space complies with the following conditions:

1. The instructional space must be operated to enable students to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the instructional space, except where necessary for teaching and instruction that cannot be effectively provided if physical distancing is maintained (spotting, etc.).

If you need to enter within that 2-mentre distance to assist your athlete, ensure that you have a mask and (if possible) gloves to maximize safety for all involved



Resources & Links

Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act: Rules for areas in Stage 3

Each Provincial/National Sport Organization throughout Canada has different return-to-play guidelines designed solely for their individual sports(s). Visit the sector-specific return to play guidelines to see what provisions affect your sport.

Don’t see your sport listed? Contact your PSO for more information.

Not sure how to reach your PSO? Visit our Contact Your Sport page.

Any equipment that is rented to, provided to or provided for the use of users of the facility must be cleaned and disinfected between each use or, where used in a game or practice, at the end of play, such as at the completion of a game or practice.

Activities must not be practised or played within the facility if they require the use of fixed structures that cannot be cleaned and disinfected between each use or, where used in a game or practice, at the end of play.

Now that Stage 3 allows the public to resume more “normal” daily activities, this does increase the risk of spreading or caching COVID-19. Even by taking all the precautions you can, it’s important to know what steps to take if someone on your team was to test positive for COVID-19. Be sure to include this in your updated Emergency Action Plan and share this information with all participants, staff and spectators involved at practices/training.

  1. If someone on your team begins to feel any symptoms of COVID-19, the first thing they should do is get tested. Ontario has various COVID-19 assessment test centres around the province.
  2. If someone feels symptoms of COVID-19 OR tests positive, they need to let anyone they were in contact with throughout the last 48hrs know. If they were at a team practice, you or your COVID-19 manager will need to contact everyone who attended that practice and let them know they may have been exposed.
  3. Anyone suspected of having COVID-19 or that was in contact with that person must stay at home and self-isolate for at least 14 days. You could be carrying the virus without knowing it. It is also suggested that you get a COVID-19 test to confirm your results.
  4. After anyone on your team has had a COVID-19 test, they can access the results online OR they can contact the clinician who ordered their test.
  5. If someone on the team tests positive, they must quarantine themselves inside their home. This means they DO NOT go outside to any public spaces until their clinician alerts them that they have completed their entire quarantine. A person who is quarantined will need to have someone pick up groceries or anything else they may need. They cannot do this on their own. As the coach, check and see if your athletes or staff have someone who can assist them in the way, if not, help coordinate someone to help with grocery drop off.
  6. Once said person is cleared to come out of quarantine and has no symptoms of COVID-19, they can return to practice.

Resources & Links

COVID-19 Symptoms and Treatment (Ontario Government)

Find a COVID-19 Test Centre (Ontario Government)

How to self-isolate (Public Health Ontario)

Access your online COVID-19 Test Results (Ontario Government) – not ALL tests will be able to be accessed online. If you cannot access your test result online, please contact the clinician who ordered your test or your primary care provider.



It’s important that your athletes are prepared for what this new version of “training” will look like. A part of keeping everyone safe will be to provide athletes and coaching staff with reliable and easy-to-understand information regarding COVID-19 safety and returning to play.

These resources include proper hand-washing, physical distancing, how to wear a mask, and other tools that they can do on their own, prior to gathering with a group. It is vital that your team alerts you or the COVID-19 team lead if they start to feel unwell. As the coach, you may be responsible for turning athletes away if their health questionnaire displays that they could be a risk to others.

Inform athletes and staff of updated emergency procedures related to COVID-19. This includes the closest assessment centre to their training field/facility. Inform them that their attendance record contact information will be used if someone were to become ill.

Knowledge is power, giving some to your athletes alleviates work on yourself and staff if everyone stays updated and informed.

As Provincial organizations are releasing their return-to-play guidelines, you as the coach will be the main contact between your club and your athletes on safety protocols and measures.

Now that we can gather in larger groups does not mean we ease up on safety and stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Some key documents you should have on you at practices going forward:

  • A COVID-19 Participant Agreement to inform the potential risk factors to all those involved.
  • An updated Emergency Action Plan with COVID-19 Assessment Centres nearby your training facilities
  • Daily Health Screening Questionnaire for athletes and staff to complete each practice
  • Hand washing station and/or hand sanitizer ready at all times
  • An attendance sheet to track who is attending practices. This should include first and last name, phone number, and email. If someone was to contract COVID-19, you would need to let everyone who was in potential contact with them that they should go get tested. This is an easy way to keep track.
  • It wouldn’t hurt to have some extra masks and gloves on hand in case there is an injury at practice that requires you to physically assist the athlete. Keep these items in the team first aid kit and make sure that those assisting the player are well protected before coming into contact.
  • With the rise of mask and glove use, we are seeing lots of litter across the province. If you or any of your athletes/staff are wearing PPE, have a garbage bag (or disposable bag) ready to properly dispose of those items after training.

Resources & Links

Participant Agreement SAMPLE (ViaSport BC)

Emergency Action Plan eModule (Available in your NCCP Locker account, under the eLearning tab)

COVID-19 Assessment Centre Map for printable version click HERE

Updating Your Waivers & Forms (Sport Law & Strategy Group)

There’s no easy way to turn away an athlete or staff member away from a practice – for any reason. However, the risk and potential consequences of not properly doing so if an athlete or staff member is suspected of having COVID-19 could be exponential. It is better to be over-cautious and find there is nothing wrong, then to have some accidently spread the virus.

One way to make these conversations easier:

  1. Have a conversation about health screening and identifying how you are feeling in a team meeting before training starts.  Let everyone know how it will work and that it is their responsibility to be truthful when declaring their health when they sign-in to practices.
  2. When having athletes sign the attendance sheet and fill out the health screening questionnaire, do it away from the rest of the group. Participants are currently still required to physically distance, so this makes it a bit easier. This way, if you need to turn someone away, you can have a private conversation away from the group.

It is important to note that these guidelines are to be used as a guide only. Nothing in this document is intended to provide legal advice. Do not rely on this document or treat it as legal advice.

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Home > Athletic Performance and Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport: Are Your Athletes At Risk?

Athletic Performance and Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport: Are Your Athletes At Risk?

Originally called “Female Athlete Triad”, Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) was termed to include all of the side effects of energy deficiency that can affect any athlete. RED-S can affect athletes of any age, sex and has detrimental effects on bone health, immune function, cardiovascular health and psychological health and ultimately impacts athletic performance.

RED-S is the result of an imbalance that occurs when athletes don’t eat enough to meet the energy demands of training and daily life. Coaches can play a significant role in preventing RED-S by creating a supportive environment for their athletes. You’ll leave this webinar able to identify the warning signs and implement team strategies to maximize athletic performance.

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Coach Responses

As a coach, how do you talk to your athletes about nutrition and healthy eating habits?

Share your tips and best practices!

Denise Bussiere – Gymnastics – Nepean

“We discuss snack options and we have info on our website from a Nutritionist.”

Justin Tung – Gymnastics – Toronto

“I find it helpful to emphasize nutrition close to competitions as part of their competition preparation (e.g. encourage carbs before competition and healthy snacks at competition). This is done in person and via electronic reminders.”

Lorraine Gouin – Figure Skating – Ottawa

“Workshops with nutritionists, encouraging healthy eating habits before, during and after practice (team snacks, etc) and eating together at competitions and events even if they are bringing their own food.”

Natasha Vidalin – Multi-Sport – Toronto

“Nutrition is important, it sustains your body, your health and your well-being. Even if you don’t want to have a big meal, at least have a granola bar to sustain you. The worst thing that could happen is that you fainted because you starved yourself, if that happened you would let the team down and your body down, so just don’t do it! Here is some granola bars and some berries (not anything acidic), some coconut water if need be and a few cashews (it is a healthy fat). Nuts an hour before a game everything else when they need it.”

Hossam Refaei – Mississauga

“As a teacher/coach, a lot of my athletes are also my students in the classroom. An entire unit on healthy eating is shared with them which includes the benefits of timing of eating, what you’re eating and calorie intake importance. This is added with talk before practices about what to pack on game days and practice days. We share each others’ ways and what they like to eat before practice time or game day and that could motivate others to eat the same healthy way or find news ways to still have a great meal to increase energy and perform to the best of their ability.”

Rejeanne MacLeod – Curling – Sault Ste Marie

“During competition, I emphasize that we have an early morning so make sure you have a good breakfast to help you fuel yourself for the game and day. Also grab an orange or apple for your break or after the game until we can have lunch. If I notice that an athlete is not eating properly, I will take my player to the side and explain how important it is for your body and mine to be fueled. Ask questions to see if money is an issue or if he/she is able to get to the proper food.”

Diana Clarke – Volleyball – Port Sydney

“As a rule I talk to my athletes about food as fuel to allow them to compete. At tournaments each family is responsible to bring food to share; potluck style. This food is assigned so that it is healthy. I think it is also important to role-model healthy eating, so I’m not eating a burger during a tournament when they are eating veggies and hummus.”

Susan Emond – Ringette – Ottawa

“We talk about staying hydrated in general. During a tournament, we bring healthy snacks and encourage eating for performance. Other than that, there isn’t a set pre/post focus during training. This is something I will be interested in implementing!”

Jason White – Ringette – Minesing

“In volleyball, make a list of foods that each family can sign up for. This way we can somewhat control the foods brought.”

Layth Jato – Soccer – Etobicoke

“My sport is Soccer which is a team sport. Through team meetings or Post-Training group meals we speak and encourage proper nutrition.”

Amanda Kesselring – Boxing – Cambridge

“Explain the importance of healthy eating, eating before and after a game, refuelling, and proper hydration before, during and after a game.”

Marguerite Gagnon – Gymnastics – Thunder Bay

“My athletes are young (ages 8 to 13), so I use a car analogue a lot! A car needs enough gas, oil, water, transmission fluid, etc. to work at it’s best, just like athletes need enough Carbs, protein, fat, water, vitamins and minerals to train and perform at their best.”

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Home > Fitness of the Mind: Mental Health On & Off The Field of Play

Fitness of the Mind: Mental Health On & Off The Field of Play

Enhance your understanding of common adolescent struggles, and the signs and symptoms of issues as they arise, both on and off the field. This workshop will help you recognize early warning signs of difficulties such as anxiety, depression, attention and learning issues, social difficulties and the therapeutic interventions that can help in managing these difficulties your athletes may be facing.

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Coach Responses

What support methods have you used to help athletes struggling with mental health?

Share your tips and best practices!

Allan Singh – Soccer – Mississauga – 5 Years

“As part of our team’s official Player Development Strategy, we have worked with mental skills coaches to develop a customized Mental Strength Training Program for our team. This Program is tailored to the specific needs of our age group (Girls U13) and will be enhanced as the girls age. Examples and activities (to practice the skills being taught) are always related to real-life scenarios – both on and off the field. This did take quite a bit of work to do. But, we have have already developed the Program and all activities available on-line for the girls to review and reference at any time…..on demand, when they need it, wherever they need it.”

Connie Groom – Gymnastics – Ottawa – 40+ Years

“Be attentive, acknowledge, don’t try to solve the problem , just listen, then I ask “how can I help?”

Stephanie Sutton – Softball – Hamilton – 25 Years

“We host a Mental Health Awareness Game – this lets the athletes dedicate their game to someone who has suffered from mental health issues.”

Siu On Wong – Volleyball – Richmond Hill – 10 Years

“Have an open honest discussion with athletes and parents. The only way I can help as a coach is when the families are open and honest with the coaching staff.”

Babila Mohanarajan – Hockey – Toronto – 1 Year

“Talking to other health professionals who can deal with athletes struggling with mental health after they disclosed what they are dealing with to myself as they trusted me.”

Angele Caporicci – Biathlon – Timmons – 15+ Years

“I often do the mental check-in with athletes, stick to a routine, structure in training and practices, debriefs.”

Mike Stinson – Hockey – Chatham – 5 Years

“I think that presence and connection with your athletes is most important. Being there for them constantly, and keeping an open door and open dialogue helps to keep athletes on task.”

Martin Cavanagh – Curling – Hawkesbury – 20+ Years

“Positive bidirectional coaching presence & programing, I try to maintain a safe and nurturing environment and I refer to professionals.”

Tim Louks – Football – Waterdown – 40 Years

“Mental Health supports on campus (University), Psychiatrist by referral from Doctor, performance psychologist, etc.”

Jason Rice – Curling – Guelph – 15 Years

“Sport programs that I’ve been involved with have brought in sport psychology / mental training professionals to work with coaches, athletes and even parents of athletes.”

Lindsay Jackson – Ringette – Oshawa – 5 Years

“Using one on one interaction with players who display symptoms of anxiety, or of ADHD – giving personalized coaching for players who are displaying symptoms to help their confidence on and off the ice.”

Rick Collins – Curling – Nepean – 25 Years

“I personally have been treated for severe depression. I have been open with many people, helping them understand what is happening. I talk to the team, then have had athletes (or their parents) come talk to me quietly.”

Paul Youldon – Ringette – Nepean – 25 Years

“Refer to professionals; team meetings and open dialogue about social media bullying and sharing. Listening and being supportive.”

Gabriela Palomeque – Figure Skating – Greely – 2 Years

“Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, helping athletes to label their emotions and describing what is happening to them so they can find a solution to a problem.”

Andras Switzer – Swimming – Kingston – 5 Years

“I’m open about my own mental health struggles and share my experiences and what I’ve learned from them when they are appropriate for situations. I also tell all my athletes that I am available to talk if they need someone to talk to, and use active listening techniques to help them feel heard and supported.”

Joni McPhail – Figure Skting – Oakville – 33 Years

“As a resource person my team of coaches come to me for support or direction. I have built a team of resource people and sport psychologists that we use as preferred practitioners that we can reach out to for support. We have worked on a model of Best Practices and resources in several different areas.”

Mary Jo Fletcher – Athletics – Windsor – 5 Years

“Recognizing the emotional state and then discussing it directly with the athlete – validates their emotional state and gives them an outlet. Also, encouraging journaling about their experiences for two reasons: to keep track of workouts and then to keep track of emotional states. This allows them to take an objective assessment if a pattern develops.”

Kristina Anagnosti – Artistic Swimming – Burlington – 9 Years

“Offering them a safe space to be able to talk about issues with you. Relaying some of your experiences with mental health when you were an athlete.”

Holly Jones – Cross-Country Skiing – NWT – 11 Years

“Having regular “non-sport” practices, such as goal-setting or mindfulness workshops with the group have helped some athletes connect with and learn about their own mental health. Plus, they’re awesome team-building opportunities!”

Pam Lumb Collett – Gymnastics – Toronto – 40+ Years

“Initial Parent Meeting, being proactive and discussing if your child has issues (physical – local physio), (mental – come to us and we can refer sport experts from our federation) etc. make a list of resources and encourage parents to address issues and open dialogue with coaches to resolve and collaborate.”

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Home > So Your Season is Cancelled – Now What?

So Your Season is Cancelled – Now What?

Tips for talking to your athletes about disappointment

The cancellation of playoffs, meets, tournaments and even whole seasons during these times have been a huge source of disappointment to coaches, athletes and parents.

Even as some businesses across Ontario start to reopen, it appears that it will still be some time before we’ll be back together in groups, which is almost always necessary for sports.

Below we’ve put together some talking points to help you and your athletes get through this season’s setbacks and start preparing for the next one.

  1. Tell them it’s okay to be disappointed
    For some athletes, cancellations may mean they will miss their final competition or season at a specific level or with a certain team. For others, it’s been something circled on the calendar for months, a motivating force to look forward to during difficult times. The loss of these things are huge disappointments that are not easy to get over quickly, and that’s okay to acknowledge. Encouraging your athletes to verbalize their sadness or frustrations is a helpful first step towards working through their feelings and moving past these setbacks.
  2. Discuss how sports helps us to become more resilient
    Sport helps to teach us that we can handle whatever is thrown at us. The lessons that we teach on the playing field can be extrapolated to our current situation and help our athletes to develop resiliency and grow as people.
  3. Remind them that the training and hard work they have put in isn’t for nothing
    It’s crucial to remind athletes that all of the effort and dedication they have put in to preparing for this season has not gone to waste. Any time an athlete has spent training has inevitably helped to improve their skill set and fitness, and this will still be beneficial when they can resume competition. Setbacks – such as an injury or an illness – can cause the loss of a season at any time. There will be more opportunities in the future and all of their hard work will eventually pay off.
  4. Focus on small, achievable goals
    Helping your athletes to create a routine and control what is possible right now is a huge step towards achieving a level of normalcy during this time. There are many ways that coaches and teammates can still stay connected, even when they’re not face-to-face. Try virtual training sessions or team hangouts to keep cohesion high among teammates.
  5. Help them focus on what they want to achieve in the future
    Now is a great time to talk about goal-setting and encourage your athletes to spend some time reflecting on their pathway in their sport and what they would like to achieve in the short and long term. This extends to coaches too. Are there any workshops or professional development courses you’ve wanted to do, but never had the time? Now is the perfect opportunity.

Sports gives us the foundation to adapt and stay resilient during difficult times. By reminding your athletes that they already possess the tools necessary to cope with these setbacks, you will help them to adjust to the current situation more quickly, and continue to develop into even better athletes and people.

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Home > Staying Safe Online

Staying Safe Online

For Coaches, Sport Organizations, Parents & Athletes – Staying Safe Online

The new “normal” of virtual coaching and online training sessions is something that may be new to a lot of coaches, athletes and parents during these times. These virtual meetings allows teams and athletes to continue to train and stay connected, which is great for maintaining positive mental and physical health. While it is something that may be new to many, there are some risks that could accompany the rise in these virtual environments.

We’ve put together these resources and guidelines so that sport organizations, coaches, parents/guardians and athletes can enjoy all the benefits and reduce the risk.

Guidelines for all adults to keep in mind:

  • Get parent/guardian permission
  • Remember The Rule of Two
  • Eliminate one-to-one electronic messaging
  • Remain transparent and professional

Access training, screening, policies and reporting resources

For Coaches

  1. Keep your communication professional and transparent.
    Ask open-ended questions, then listen to what they say and validate their feelings (“It is OK to feel disappointed or angry.”).
    Should you need to communicate with an individual athlete, always copy their parent/guardian or another adult. Don’t communicate one-on-one with individual athletes over personal text or social media.
  2. Ensure virtual sessions are appropriately secured and are password protected.
    Remind athletes not to forward the links to anyone outside of the team without your permission.
  3. Restate team expectations about respectful communication and online behaviours.
    This is a great time to remind athletes that their Athlete Code of Conduct is still in effect during physical distancing. Review inappropriate behaviours like cyber bullying, hazing, and harassment.
  4. Highlight physical safety when suggesting home workouts.
    Ensure home workouts are appropriate for the athlete’s level and don’t require resources the athlete doesn’t have at home. Remind athletes to hydrate properly and take breaks when needed.
  5. Be mindful of your athlete’s home life – look for warning signs of distress and/or abuse in the home.
    Provide emotional support and report any suspected or known child abuse to the police and/or your Local Children’s Aid Society.
  6. Never be alone with a participant without another screened coach or screened adult present. (The Rule of Two)
    Any virtual lessons must be observable and interruptible by another screened adult, such as another coach or parent/guardian. Keep doors open and wear appropriate clothing.
    Get permission for all virtual lessons.
    Recording sessions are recommended, where that capacity exists.

For Parents/Guardians

  1. Restate expectations about appropriate behaviour online.
    Talk about how you expect your child to behave and how they should expect to be treated by others during these virtual settings.
  2. Learn about the apps and websites your child is using, including how to control the privacy settings.
  3. Have your child use webcams in a common area or a room with the door open.
    Make sure they are aware of what and who is visible in the webcam or video shot. Cameras should also be covered when not in use.
  4. Maintain open lines of communication with your child and pay attention to their emotional state.
    Even though you may be at home with your child all day, it is important to check-in with them about their day and see how they are feeling. Staying connected with friends and teammates is incredibly important for their mental health but can also open the door to hurtful behaviour.

For Athletes

  1. Use your webcam in a common area or a room with the door open.
    Be aware of what and who is visible in the shot. Cameras should also be covered when not in use.
  2. Make sure any informal team gatherings include all teammates.
    Hanging out with your teammates virtually is a great way to stay connected, beat boredom, and feel better. Make sure all of your teammates are invited in team huddles or game nights.
  3. Say something to your coach, parents, or another trusted adult if you notice someone being cyber bullied, harassed, or exploited.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or reach out to a trained professional for any issue – big or small.
    Connect to Kids Help Phone which operates 24/7 providing counselling, referral and information for young people.
    Text CONNECT to 686868 or call 1-800-668-6868 or use the Live Chat online at kidshelpphone.ca/live-chat.

We all know how important sport is to our athletes, our communities and society. It is equally important that we all play a role in ensuring that sport continues to stay safe both on and off the field of play.

Video calling, group messaging, online training etc., allow us to stay more connected than ever before. These tips for online safety will helps us all reduce risks associated with online communication, and instead enjoy the benefits of these virtual environments, so that we can all get through this difficult time together.


Open 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week, this national toll-free confidential helpline for harassment, abuse and discrimination provides a safe place for victims and witnesses to report their concerns.

Call or text 1-888-83-SPORT (77678)
Contact by email at info@abuse-free-sport.ca

The Canadian Sport Helpline exists to provide advice, guidance, and resources on how to proceed/intervene appropriately in the circumstances.

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As a resource you can provide your athletes and participants, Kids Help Phone operates Canada’s only 24/7, professional counselling, referral and information service for young people.

Text CONNECT to 686868 or call 1-800-668-6868
Live Chat online or through the app at kidshelpphone.ca/live-chat

Young athletes can chat confidentially with a trained, volunteer Crisis Responder for support with any issue – big or small.

Access training, screening, policies and reporting resources

This rule serves to protect minor athletes in potentially vulnerable situations by ensuring that more than one adult is present at all times. Download the Rule of Two guidelines to understand how you can support the Rule of Two in your organization.

If you have received advice from legal counsel or your insurance providers, the advice of your lawyers or insurance providers supersedes the information contained in this article.

References: USA Centre for Safe Sport, Coaching Association of Canada

Home > Equal Playing Time

Equal Playing Time


Some thoughts from Sport for Life

The Benefits of Equal Playing Time for the Youth Athlete:

  • Avoid contention among players. Youth are sensitive to and intuitive with favouritism regardless of the intention of the coach. Perceived favouritism demoralizes players, creates resentment, and they fail to try their best. In the worst-case scenario, they give up the sport. Team wins at the experience of individual self-esteem are in fact, losses.
  • Minimize player fatigue. If the top players get exhausted due to too much playing time, and the other players have limited game experience, it could cost the whole team in tough physical games.
  • Maximize player development. People learn by doing and without access to playing time and game-specific situations, players cannot learn. “Competitiveness” of sport should be about self-improvement and setting attainable goals. Winning is inherent in sport and is difficult to de-emphasize. However, winning at the cost to the individual impedes player, team, and club development as well as the advancement of sport.
  • Active for life. Players may choose to play soccer as a purely recreational activity regardless of their level of ability of disability. Soccer can be enjoyed as an integral part of any personal lifelong wellness plan. Adult players can also become active in the coaching and administration of the sport. The recruitment and retention of players, coaches, referees and administrators is key to the ongoing development of both grassroots and elite soccer in Canada.

The Benefits of Equal Playing.Time for the Coach (in addition to those listed above):

  • Avoid contention/confrontation between coaches and parents. Parents will not objectively judge their own child’s ability and coaches should not expect objectivity from parents. If each team member is shown respect, fairness, and given the opportunity to play and develop, parents will not need to judge.
  • Simplify coaching decisions. Exposing players to all situation means that coaches do not need to guess about who can do what or handle what. Knowing what your athletes can do in a game situation makes coaching easier.
  • Improve team chemistry. Focus comes when players perceive that everyone is being treated fairly and working as a team. Plus, athletes who are having fun have better games and practice attendance.

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Coach Responses

Do you integrate equal playing time with you team? If so, how do you do it?

Does it alter during big games or championship weekends?

Share your tips and best practices!

Joe Benedetti – Softball – Hamilton – 30+ Year

“I see this issue as supporting the value/principal of “equal opportunity” Many studies have shown inconsistencies among coaches in their ability to do accurate skill-based assessments. Coaches often even disagree about what constitutes a skilled athlete So maybe the best strategy is to “just throw them out there” and see what they can do. A softball tournament that we used to host had a continuous batting order for the first 3 or 4 games. I have heard of basketball games where “bonus points” were added at the end of the game and the final score adjusted if 5 or 8 or 10 different players scored at least one point…”

Fawn Mulholland – Soccer – Ottawa – 4 Years

“Absolutely, with grassroots players. Giving equal playing time to the players also gives reasoning to trying players in different positions, which they may otherwise be reluctant to do. I use an app called SubTime which allows you to drag and drop players, it tracks their minutes on the pitch and off it.”

Marty – Hockey – North York

“…my 7 year old son was devastated when in his house league soccer game the coach shortened the bench. My husband and I could never get him to play soccer again after that. It was a lesson for me as a coach to know the negative impact unequal playing time can have on a child’s self esteem. As a hockey coach of 11 year old rep players, I make it as equal as possible. Expectations are made clear at the beginning of the season regarding ice time. Poor attendance at mandatory practices will affect playing time.

Players need to show their commitment and dedication. We also discussed as a team when in playoffs, championship game, what they think is fair in terms of playing time. All players agreed they want everyone to play, no matter the situation. We created an environment of inclusion and support.”

Lee Reath – Volleyball – Ottawa – 20 Years

“I would contest the last bullet point Equal playing time does not equal Fair playing time. It breaks the Effort Vs Reward connection. Disparities in effort always leads to strife amongst teammates. In volleyball the fair play rules have kids that didn’t play the first set must play the second set an cannot be subbed out. That has a couple of terrible impacts:- Less kids get to play. A lot of coaches now carry less than 12 athletes in order to retain ability to make substitutions at some tactical level…”

Terry Olaskey – Baseball & Basketball – Georgian Bay Athletic Association – 48 Years

“In many of our leagues, whether baseball or basketball, winning league games was crucial to either seeding or indeed, making the playoff round. Equal playing time doesn’t mean “equal” in every game… as player development, player self-concept and player safety are key factors in deciding the line-up in each game. My best technique was to prepare a seasonal plan which included a number of exhibition games or “friendly scrimmages”.

Strategically placed between league games or qualifying tournaments, playing time was given to those players who had recently sat for a game or who needed playing time in a non-stressful situation. In many cases, our coaching colleagues are “in the same boat” as us and gladly participate in these competitions by benching their best 5 or 6 players to give either the rookies or less-skilled players the opportunity to start and finish a game! I kept careful records of the number of innings or quarters each player played and tried to make it “equal” by the end of the season.”

Dave Hill – Water Polo – Kingston – 42 Years

Equal is not a goal but fair is. When an outcome is not based on a score, but on a shared experience, then dividing time equally is justifiable. This would be based on the effort and input at training also being equal.
If you coach elite athletes andselect a team based on proven skill sets then equal time can be a goal to ensure maximal performances if each.

In all other cases the objective should be to give athletes equal opportunity to thrive and demonstrate their skill developed in training. That would rarely be equal and equality would interfere with the objective. Very few sports are set up with multiple participants having exact roles ie football punter vs quarterback or baseball relief pitcher vs shortstop. How can equal time be a factor? If a soccer team has 8 midfield players they will all have different strengths applied in different games. Equal does not factor into it.

The main issue for coaches should be communication, making parents aware of philosophy and process (in youth setting with fee payments etc). Then, making sure athletes have roles and expectations so they judge their participation based on those instead of “minutes”.

Louise – Volleyball – Ottawa – 20 Years

“I agree with equal playing time, definitely for the points mentioned above. The only draw back to equal playing time is that all athletes know they will be getting playing time so they may not put the effort in that they should.

I know when choosing your team you look for drive and focus, but it is tryouts and everyone is showing their best. It is hard in the short time you have to review players during tryouts to know if that drive will be sustained throughout the year. I do want to mention that there is a big difference between competitive players and high performance players. High performance learn from an early age that they are fighting for a position on the court where as competitive players are focusing on development and in most cases the type of development that will put them on a high performance team.”

Andy Maroudas – Soccer – Niagra – 27 Years

“In the sport of soccer, the debate about playing time is always an issue. From early house league days to the beginning of travel and through to the highest level of competitive youth soccer, this becomes a place of contention. The way I approach it is not simple but rather based in an understanding that all youth soccer, with the exception of MLS academies, should focus on development first. Time on the ball, time in the match is directly related to atheletic and technical development and cannot be separated.

That doesn’t mean 100 % equal playing time at all times however. From early beginnings applying equal time is paramount and as players rise through various levels of competitive play these their playing time can be revised based on ability. The real trick is providing adequate time to maintain steady development and keep players engaged, happy and relevant. I advocate a guaranteed minimum playing time and number of match starts for all levels of youth soccer regardless of the level. If a coach feels that they cannot give adequate time due to ability then that player should not be rostered on that team but rather on a team that would best suit the player’s ability.

A 30% rule is in my opinion a very feasible option that ticks all the boxes. Players are provided with 30% of the total play time, start 30% of the matches , continue to develop and more importantly stay engaged and in the game. As for championship games, at this point if the 30% rule is followed then the team chemistry and dynamic will be able to shoulder a little insufficient time here-or-there.”

Darren Lowe – Soccer – Surrey – 9 Years

This year I coached the U14 silver soccer team. Some parents believed that players should be competing for playing time, and for positions on the field. I read that 13 years old is a common age for youth to quit sport. Therefore, I kept track of who started on the bench each week. Players on the bench one week, started the next. At the beginning of the season I asked players where they preferred to play. I started with this, but moved players around. Every 1/8 of the game (9 minutes) I would put all of the subs in.

Some people believe that only 2 players should be subbed at a time. Even in playoffs I continued to give everyone playing time. When it was time to register for spring, of the 18 players in the fall program, 16 wanted to return. When Division 1 had 12 players for spring, we gave them 5 players, and then we selected 5 players from the house program who had been training with us once a week. We did not make it to the District Cup Playoff game or the League Cup Playoff game. Maybe we could have if we only played the 11 strongest players during playoffs. But what would that give us. Would we have 16 players returning for spring. Would the players become coaches as adults, and tell the boys about how they sat on the bench and never played?”

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Home > How Would You Like To Learn?

How Would You Like To Learn?

Nipissing University and the School of Physical and Health Education and Graduate Studies is conducting a research project to  investigate how coaches actually learn, versus how they would like to learn.

Take part in this opportunity to influence coaching education!

Take the Survey

The first phase of the research involves completing a brief online questionnaire. Participants from this phase of the research have an opportunity to enter a draw to win one of two $50.00 prepaid Visa gift cards.

At the end of the questionnaire, there is an option to volunteer for a follow-up interview. From this, participants who are selected for an interview will take part in a conversation aiming to gain an understanding of coaches’ experiences with formal, informal and non-formal coaching knowledge sources. Interviews are expected to last approximately 30 – 60 minutes, and all interview participants will receive a $25.00 prepaid Visa gift card.

The findings from this study have the potential to make a contribution to the sport psychology and coaching fields, and could inform future knowledge-building opportunities for coaches.

For more information of if you have questions or concerns you may contact the researchers directly; Rachel Van Woezik ravanwoezik976@community.nipissingu.ca, or Dr. Mark Bruner markb@nipissingu.ca at any time.

Home > Changing the Culture of Sport – #OCC20

Changing the Culture of Sport – #OCC20

We are excited to announce that the newest speaker added to the 2020 Ontario Coaches Conference April 24-26 in Hamilton, is Brock McGillis!

His mission is to create equality regardless of sexuality, gender or race while focusing on the language we use and how we can shift it to become more inclusive.

Brock McGillis is the first male professional hockey player to openly come out as gay. He is a former OHL and professional hockey player, having played professionally in both the United States and Europe. His story has been highlighted in newspapers and blogs across North America. McGillis has been featured in the book “Everyday Hockey Heroes”, CBC The NationalCTV’s Your Morning and on the cover of IN Magazine.

Check out Brock’s latest interviews with CBC The National below.

The Ontario Coaches Conference is Ontario’s premier sport leadership event.  As the place to be for all things sport for thirteen years running, the 2020 conference is themed around  ‘Shaping Tomorrow Today’  and guiding sport leaders to learn and understand that future success means getting ahead of today’s most important game-changing trends. Investing in your future self today will have a profound impact on your athletes and society of tomorrow. Visit www.coachesontario.ca/conference to learn and more register today!

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Home > Athlete Mental Health – Reality Check!

Athlete Mental Health – Reality Check!


Some thoughts from the Canadian Centre for Mental Health and Sport:

Mental health is necessary to sustain optimal performance in sport.

Mental health is necessary to sustain optimal performance in sport. It influences athletes’ and coaches’ daily functioning, including their ability to effectively manage their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours to successfully execute tasks, meet performance goals, maintain healthy relationships, and meaningfully contribute to their sport community.

Mental health affects everyone, including athletes and coaches.

Mental health affects everyone, and athletes and coaches are not immune to this. In Canada, 1 in 5 people experience a major mental illness each year, which costs the Canadian health care system $50 billion annually. With 7.2 million Canadians regularly engaging in sport, there could be as many as 1.4 million athletes and coaches struggling with mental health challenges each year. We can no longer turn a blind eye to mental health issues in sport.

Athletes and coaches may face more mental health challenges than the general population.

Competitive athletes and coaches may be more vulnerable to mental health challenges than the normal population due to the complex demands, high expectations, limited support, early specialization, and year-round training/coaching they often face. Other factors such as excessive pressure to succeed, debilitative coaching styles, lack of funding, overtraining, injury, and difficult transitions in, through, and out of sport can precipitate existing mental health challenges or trigger the development of new ones.

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Coach Responses

How do you support your athlete’s mental health?

Share your tips and best practices!

Jenny B – Cycling – Niagara – 20 Years

“We use the Training Peaks online for athlete training schedules which is a great communication tool however, three important elements need to agreed upon.

1) Athletes agree to share motivation level and stress level for each training week.
2) A trust and open dialogue is part of the system
3) The bare minimum face to face contact per month is 1x/month which is fundamental to see how athletes are feeling, looking and communicating their training to coach.”

Scott Morton – Curling – Calgary – 25+ Years

“Listen and talk to your athletes, don’t just coach! Get to know who your athlete’s are and what kind of interests, problems, and concerns that affect them outside your sport. Keep notes on things they say and do that are a bit out of the ordinary. This will help you to determine when you need extra help coaching. But when there are other problem get help from other resources. You can’t do it all and the end result weather good or bad needs to be addressed and talked about.”

Jackie Davies – Volleyball – Toronto – 3 Years

“Something that my coach staff and I have incorporated into practices is meditation/breathing exercises. We do a quick 5-10min session at the beginning at practice and have our athletes focus on controlling their breathing, clearing their minds and getting mentally prepared/focused for the practice ahead.

We try to check in with our athletes and ask them how their day was, how school is going and how their family is doing. We are a pretty close team where lots of the girls go to the same school, so we try to keep the channels of communication fluid so players are comfortable to come to us with any issues.

What’s nice about this team is that we’ve been together for the past three seasons, so we know the players and families quite well, which makes is a bit easier to notice when someone is having an off day and to tackle the problem as soon as possible. However, not everything is so easy to identify. But, with the parents being a great support system for the girls as well as the coaching staff, both parties are pretty comfortable to discuss any issues or concerns about their children that involve their mental health or anything related to the team.”

Barry Grubman – Table Tennis – Etobicoke – 12 Years

“I think it’s important to remember that while coaches have a role play in supporting their athletes mental health, they are (usually) not professionals. When I notice something with an athlete, as a coach I try to decide if this is something minor which can be handled with the team & parents, or if it’s something I should hand off to a professional. Building a relationship with each athlete in advance helps a lot in noticing mental health issues when they arise.”

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Home > Coaching and Social Media

Coaching and Social Media


You’re checking your email when suddenly, a Facebook friend request from an athlete pops up in your inbox. On one hand, you’ve friended a few other athletes to make it easier to coordinate travel to the competition. On the other hand, however, this athlete is a minor. Do you friend the athlete or leave him or her in your friend’s queue and make up some excuse about how you don’t go on Facebook anymore?  Or maybe you throw your computer out the window and never look back?

Setting boundaries with your athletes on social media can be awkward, but it doesn’t have to be. To avoid hurt feelings, it’s important to address the issue head-on long before that first friend request reaches your inbox. The decision of whether to interact with your athletes on social media is a personal one, but is contingent upon the following factors:

  • How old are your athletes? Most experts in risk management recommend that coaches do not interact with minor athletes on social media. If you do, make sure to keep all communication public and only use group chats (rather than one-on-one messages).
  • What is your coaching pedagogy? Do you want to be seen as your athletes’ friend? How does social media impact your ability to be seen as an authority figure? Is it important to you to keep your coaching persona active in all interactions with your athletes?
  • What are your reasons for interacting with the athlete via social media? Do you want to check up on your athletes or coordinate logistics through Facebook messenger?

You have four options when it comes to interacting with athletes online:

A graphic of four options when it comes to interacting with athletes online.

Of the four options, the least-used one is creating distinct social media profiles for your professional career. Doing so, however, is often an elegant solution, since it allows you to extend your coaching persona to the virtual space and creates a strong distinction between your private and personal life. Which option you choose is entirely a personal choice.

As long as you are consistent and communicate your choice in advance to your athletes, you will avoid hurt feelings or accusations to favouritism.

Learn More

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Coach Responses

Do you integrate Social Media into your coaching?

What Social Media boundaries have you established with your teams and athletes?

Share your tips and best practices!

Rachelle – Athletics – Guelph – 6 Years

“At the start of the new training year, our athletes create our code of ethics. I ask how they feel about the impact of their social media posts about other athletes and this starts the conversation about what would be appropriate. They are quite adept at identifying what and what isn’t appropriate for posting. Their ethics drive supportive and positive postings. If there are questions about coaching or training I have asked that they speak with me directly. Meeting once per year and doing check-ins works well for team cohesiveness and individual support.

Our captain has a chat group that, if needed, I can get a message out quickly ie cancelled training. I do not participate in the chat group. I do post videos and pictures of group training on Instagram. I am not a “friend” with any of my athletes on Instagram, Facebook other platforms.

I have made it quite clear, from a coach/parent/athlete perspective, my expectations about how we (coaches & athletes) interact with each other, parents, other athletes, officials…”

 Pierre – Gymnastics – Kingston – 30+ Years

“I limit my social media contact with other coaches and club officials. If I did have some time in the future that I would need to use social media, I liken to the idea of creating a distinct profile for myself as a coach, separate from my personal profile. I do agree that no coach should communicate with a minor on social media, even if that minor is a CIT, or fully certified as a coach, but under age 18. This can be difficult if a minor is a 16-year-old coach looking for me to cover a class or coaching session for them. In our club, we use email for sub-requests sent out to an email list of staff.

If I want to cover a sub request, I do a” reply all”, this way so that my communication is viewable by all of our coaching staff and club administrator. Email may be old school, but is still effective and can better be tracked and audited than Facebook or Twitter. Another space you can create a professional coaching profile is on LinkedIn. It is similar in features to Facebook but tends to be more professional and career-oriented. Even there, close attention to ethics is important in your communications.”

Rebecca Tolen – Basketball/Soccer – Rainy River – 17 years

“I am not “Friends” with my athletes and let’s be honest Facebook is not their media of choice.  I do set up a Facebook group with my athletes, however. I post videos, schedules, any changes, etc.  They can and usually do add their parents. They can ask questions, leave a comment and post interesting items of their own.   This keeps the lines clear.   Living in a small town where lines are already a little blurry, (some athletes play on my women’s baseball team, I have been friends with their parents since grade school, etc), it keeps makes things easier.”

Paul Bullock – Badminton/Basketball/Volleyball – Collingwood – 44 Years

“I am an older coach and feel that good old email is as far as I want to engage with players/parents.  I will not allow phones onto the training grounds as I find that they are a source of distraction and stop the team members communicating and interacting with each other.  I’m not saying that these devices don’t have a place in society but people need to take a break before life passes by.  Here a novel idea: You want a team chat, have a team meeting…. yes you all meet in person…”

Sarah MacDonald – Swimming – Sault St. Marie – 16 years

“As a rule, I do not add athletes or their parents/another family on my social media accounts. I want to maintain very clear boundaries between my personal and professional lives for my sake as well as for theirs. To my athletes, I strive to be very approachable, but they can connect with me before/after practice in a face-to-face capacity.

That said, I also manage our team’s social media accounts, and I make a point of curating content that is interesting and engaging. For example, I recently solicited song suggestions for a team playlist that we could play during our training sessions, and it got a lot of responses! They like to feel like they have an active role in creating their sport environment, so I try to do things like that fairly often. I always have at least two coaches who have access to the accounts, so if athletes try to contact me through direct messaging, there are two sets of adult eyes on the conversation (which I believe covers Safe Sport regulations).

It’s a balancing act, but it’s not impossible. Social media is an incredible tool for engagement if you set clear boundaries and use it appropriately and in ways that relate to the age group you’re coaching.

Jared Goad – Gymnastics – Halifax NS – 11 Years

“Personally, I do not contact or follow my athletes on social media accounts, with the exception of adult athletes. I have a group text message with all of the athletes that I coach, along with another coach from our club. If requested, I will allow retired athletes to follow my social media accounts once they have reached the age of 18, but still do not follow them on social media accounts. I think it is important to create a professional boundary between coaches and athletes to ensure safety and respect for all.”

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Home > Coaching Generation Z

Coaching Generation Z


Last month we ran our first FREE Webinar for Coaches in Ontario about Coaching Generation Z. Participants were asked to complete a short questionnaire after the webinar, asking what unique challenges they have encountered while coaching this new generation of kids, and how they have overcome them.

We want to thank everyone who participated and took the time to answer the October Coach 2 Coach discussion question. Stay tuned for more upcoming PD opportunities!

See what Coach-2-Coach is all about!

Coach Responses

What unique challenges have you come across coaching this new generation of athletes and participants?

Share your tips and best practices!

Jennifer Tinneberg – 15 years 

“…Athletes arriving to practice staring at their phones & not engaging with each other until practice time starts. This lead to a lack of connection between teammates. I now all my athletes leave their phones in their lockers. As soon as they are on deck, they are “on” for practice…”

Mark Severn – 25 years

“…What was said about attention and commitment is very true. One of the things I have found to really be the base of everything is “Playing time.” Issues come out of playing time in terms of trust, caring, positive relationships etc. All of my mistakes as a coach have come from playing time. I think its’s sometimes hard in the moment for what Glen calls old school coaches to see the value in playing everyone and especially in different situations. I know I constantly write down who has played and do my best to make sure things are fair and as even as I can make it. Like Glen said it’s usually parents that really want to win, the players just want to play…”

Jenna – 1 year

“…THE RULE OF TWO is so so crucial in this political climate- it serves to protect athletes AND coaches. This rule allows for the mitigation of so many problems related to power dynamics (adult-youth, coach-athlete, older-younger, male-female)…”

Renee Matte – 14 years

“…The biggest challenge is that the athletes I coach span more than just one generation, so balancing the different preferences and needs of these groups can be tough. So, I go into practices and coaching seasons reminding myself to coach each person and always spend more time creating that connection at the beginning of the season rather than just relying on general information I’ve gathered about their demographic characteristics (age, gender, experience, etc.) and what the preferences “should be”…”

Scott Morton – 20 years

“…All kids want is to be led and to learn. I Coach curling and all kids seem to be the same. Give them direction, let them learn and make sure you as a coach listen and make it FUN…”

Colleen Merlin – 5 years

“…Attention span. Still working on it. But I have many stations and they rotate through drills…”

Dawn Izzard – 30 years

“…Social Media: use it in training…”

Erin Shaw – 4 years

“…We have begun utilizing social media (Instagram) for team chats and sharing of plays, game strategy etc…”

Matthew Melo – 4 years

“…I have found some individuals that I have coach within this new generation find it hard to focus on the task at hand and not use deliberate practice time as social time. I allow the kids to have breaks during the rest intervals to talk in between sets in order to make sure during practice they have a short time frame to focus on the task the last hand…”

Miranda Tomenson – 15 years

“…Their poor attention span is something that I’ve found hard to deal with. Frequently changing up drills and making them a bit more fun helped…”

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Home > Working With Other Coaches

Working With Other Coaches


From PCA DevZone: Working with Assistant Coaches

Our society’s mythology glorifies the individual leader, but great organizations are usually led by leadership teams. Sports teams are no different. Forge your assistant coaches into a cohesive leadership team, and you will accomplish much more. And you will address a huge problem with youth sports practices – too many kids standing around.

The trade-off is control versus reach. If you do all the coaching, you can do it to your standards. However, integrating assistants into your leadership team will extend your impact on your players. But that requires delegating, something many coaches either aren’t willing or don’t know how to do.

Here are some thoughts about how to do this well

  • Familiarize assistants with your Double-Goal coaching philosophy by using the Double-Goal Coach Job Description (see page 70). Get their commitment to helping build the team culture you want before empowering them.
  • Assign them to fill E-Tanks of all players in early practices and ask them to share what they did. Make overlooked players the focus of the next practice. Make your assistants tank fillers, and it will have a huge impact on your team.
  • Involve assistants in practice planning and carve out active roles for them in games.

Here are three ways to delegate to assistant coaches:

  1. See and Do: Assistant watches you teach a skill and replicates it with another group of players.
  2. Plan and Preview: Assistant plans to teach a specific skill at an upcoming practice and previews it with you before trying it out on the players.
  3. Do and Report: Assistant teaches a skill to part of the team and reports how well it went.

Create a strong leadership team and you also prepare your assistants as Double-Goal Coaches who will go on to positively impact many youth as head coaches in the future

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Coach Responses

How has working with other coaches, parents or assistant coaches, helped you make your teams and athletes better?

What challenges have you had to overcome in building your coaching team or mentoring other coaches?

Share your tips and best practices!

Darren Lowe– Soccer – Surrey – 9 years

“…At the younger ages when you have 10 to 12 players on the team it is easy for a coach to run a session with all players, and the assistant coach helps with setting up cones, chasing after balls that are going into other practices, holding the flag during games. But now that I’m coaching U14 with 18 players, having an assistant coach to run half the team, while I have the other half, has made practices more engaging.”

Malcolm Sutherland – Ice Hockey – Thunder Bay – 30 years

“…As a teacher/instructor/coach of coaches, I have found my reach broadening. This has been personally inspiring! But, I have also recognized and heard the struggles of coaches to effectively relinquish “control” and to become less authoritarian and autocratic leaders. When coaches do “let go” paradoxically they gain positional authority, not because of established rules or imposed demands but because of gained trust.”

Sean Ferguson ChPC – Swimming – Region of Waterloo – 20+ years

  1. Never assume that an ‘assistant’ and or ‘volunteer’ coach, is not as: engaged, knowledgeable, and or as experienced as you, just because you may be a paid employee of the sports organization.
  2. Learn – every coach has different/unique backgrounds to learn from, and how do we grow? Well, we learn from others.
  3. Parents are valuable – you will most likely find yourself needing ‘help’ coaching and or running your sports club, so bring along those eager parents, as they are invested in the program ($$$$) and their child.
  4. Cooperate & collaborate. If you want to be successful and have success for your athletes, you need to be open to cooperating and collaborating with others.
  5. Please do not say “you’re wrong!” to another coach in their approach (unless it’s going to put someone in danger/cause harm); we all have different skills & abilities and approaches.
  6. Promote & be proud of those you work with – positives breed success.
  7. Keep the ‘doors’ and lines of communication open, by being accessible and present.
  8. Do ongoing training as a group. Don’t just do 1 session of training, and or have co-workers take just the basic NCCP qualifications…do more and you’ll reap the benefits with your team of coaches, parents, and volunteers…”

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