Athletes do not all train the same way, but it is rare to see any athlete—at any level—exercise or compete without warming up. Although the warm-up can take many forms, smart coaches and athletes know that the warm-up should be a part of any training session. The Warm-Up is the first book to describe the science of the warm-up and provide guidelines to maximize its effectiveness through the process of constructing effective RAMP-based warm-ups. The RAMP system—Raise, Activate, Mobilize, and Potentiate—looks at the warm-up not only as preparation for the upcoming session, but also as tool for athletic development that can cultivate the skills and movement capacities needed to excel in sport. To see more click here
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With the recent arrest of several athletes who were caught doping at the Nordic World Championships in Seefeld, Austria, I have been thinking a lot about how sport has become very corrupt, and how it can be fixed. I hope others found this latest doping scandal as upsetting as I did, and also want to make a difference.
As a Canmore local, I am quite familiar with and inspired by the efforts of Beckie Scott and her push for clean sport. Beckie does great work, and her commitment to her values are very inspiring. This was demonstrated when she resigned from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Compliance Review Committee after they made a decision she did not agree with. Beckie remains the chair of WADA’s athlete committee. Making change at the top level is very important, because that is where most of the doping is occurring, and where things such as state sponsored doping programs occur. However, the top level is also the hardest place to make a change because the doping programs are already well established. Keep fighting the good fight and inspiring us all, Beckie!
Doping at Nordic World Championships, and Moving Forward
In the wake of last week’s doping scandal, I think it is important to use this upsetting moment to light the fire for change. At first, I was too upset to say or do anything, and was left feeling that sport is broken and I had lost faith. However, after reading American skier Jessie Diggins’ words on the matter (found here), I was reminded that this is a low point, but sport is not broken forever. If people who believe in clean sport work together, change can be made. Since reading Jessie’s words, I have had several engaging conversations about doping in sport, and all the philosophical questions that go along with it.
I have also since listened to a podcast episode in which one of the arrested skiers was interviewed, and while it was absolutely nauseating to listen to him outline his doping practices, I think it is an important part of the conversation to hear ‘the other side’ of the story. I highly recommend anyone who has any passion for clean sport to take a listen, and to share with others. Podcast is linked here. It can also be found on iTunes under the “Nordic Nation Podcast”, episode titled ‘Estonia’s Karel Tammjärv’. The podcast certainly left me with several questions, and thoughts…
Finally, the main reason I wrote this podcast – what role do we play in this? Well, as alluded to earlier, large national and international bodies such as WADA, CCESS, USADA, etc. are working to stop doping from the top down. Equally important, however, is a bottom up approach to promote prevention. Jessie asks this in her blog post, and I urge you to ask yourself (as a coach, parent, mentor, etc): what can we be doing to educate athletes at a younger age that doping is not ok? to promote a culture of clean sport? As terrible as these stories and photos like the one above are, can they be used as teachable moments to the kids we spend time with that ‘this is what doping looks like, and it’s not acceptable under any circumstance.’ I think it is crucial to teach these ideals to kids, and it doesn’t just apply to sport – the notion of fair play can be applied to school, work, and life. Let’s work together to educate kids on why doping is wrong.
My final thought is on the retrospective awarding of medals years later after a doper has been caught. The example on the forefront of my mind right now is Alex Harvey, pictured above after a heart breaking 4th place finish at the 2018 Olympics. 4th place behind 2 athletes that any reasonable person would suspect are doping. It was also brought to my attention last week that another noteworthy 4th place finish of Alex’s at the 2013 World Championships was behind an athlete from Kazakstan who was part of the arrest last week. When Alex was asked about this, he said getting the medal now no longer mattered to him – it would end up in a sock drawer. It not longer mattered because the real moment had already been stolen from him, and he had already made piece with the fact that he has lost those moments. This breaks my heart. But a story like this is important to share, because this heartbreak should be used as an inspiration to push for clean sport. If we can prevent doping, we can prevent stolen moments.
Thanks for reading.
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Show your athletes how yoga can propel their performance to the next level. Teaching Power Yoga for Sports prepares you to develop and teach yoga programs that are directly relatable to specific sports and player positions, resulting in more resilient athletes who consistently compete at the top of their game.
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I am currently reading Brené Brown’s ‘Daring Greatly’, and I think it has a really powerful message that is relevant to coaching, and can spark self reflection. In essence, the main message of the book (as I interpreted it), is that ‘daring greatly’ is to step outside our comfort zone and be willing to share vulnerability with those around us in order to create a better work/family/sports team culture that encourages growth.
I believe this notion is highly relevant to coaching. Too often, coaches are not willing to ‘dare greatly’ or be vulnerable for fear that others will question their authority as a coach. We as coaches feel the need to “know everything” to garner respect from others. However, I look up to coaches who recognize that they don’t know everything, and are willing ask questions, or seek out other experts to be a part of their team, so that they can focus on what exactly they are good at.
For example, pro hockey coaches do not take responsibility for all aspects related to training for hockey, they have hired experts in several areas such as nutrition, sport psychology, or strength and conditioning so that they can focus on coaching the game.
I would encourage all coaches to use this as an opportunity to reflect and ask yourself if you are willing to recognize you don’t know everything, or if you have put up an ‘armour’ of sorts to protect yourself from experiencing any vulnerability. Finally, to spur on further reflection I would recommend reading the book itself!
As someone who has recently experienced some adverse experiences in my coaching that were largely out of my control, I decided the best thing to do would be to step back and reflect. As people get busy and caught up in the moment, we may forget what brought us here in the first place. So, when thrust into an unfortunate situation, I reminded myself why it was I was actually involved in coaching in the first place. I believe ‘finding your why’ is important, and should be at the forefront every time you show up to a practice.
For me, my motivations are purely driven by passion: for coaching, for sport, and for helping others. I want to help the kids I coach find a love of sport (while learning the skills), and in addition to being good athletes, I want them to be good people.
The following quote (from my personal coaching hero Mike Babcock) summarizes the essence of coaching in my eyes. Whether you are coaching intro level sport once a week or are the head coach of a high level team, it is important to be committed and prepared to do your best every day.
The following are responses I have crowd sourced answering the same question “why do you coach?”. I challenge you to ask yourself this question, and remember your why every time you show up to practice.
Giving kids the tools they need confront and overcome difficulties in life through sport
To be a positive influence and help kids meet their fullest potential
I like helping people put the pieces of the puzzle together to get the most out of their bodies and their sport, and to share my passion for the best sport in the world that is truly a life long sport 🙂
Seeing athletes improve and achieve their goals brings me satisfaction
Getting to ski, run, hike, and bike all the time for work and sharing those activities that I enjoy with the youth of today
My biggest satisfaction in coaching is helping athletes improve in all aspects of sport and life, and witnessing their smiles during team training
Thanks for reading, and keep smiling through all your coaching endeavours. 🙂
CBC has shared the results of an investigation conducted in the Canadian sport system, and found a shocking 200+ coaches convicted of sexual offences in the last 20 years. For more information, see their article here.
Where do we stand in Alberta?
What can we do? Take a look at the Coaching Association of Canada’s Responsible Coaching Movement
Tips for children from Sheldon Kennedy (former NHL player and safe sport advocate):
Call the Kid’s Help Phone
Visit the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre
Raise you concerns and ask questions when something feels wrong
Expand your energy and raise your sense of personal power with power yoga, the athletic and dynamic style of yoga that delivers high intensity and quick results. In Power Yoga: Strength, Sweat, and Spirit, you will learn the poses, practices, and philosophy of this fitness- and focus-boosting training method to strengthen your body and awaken your spirit. This potent practice is a complete workout on its own, but it also offers tremendous benefits when combined with other workouts and sports. In addition to physical strength, stamina, and flexibility, the dynamic movements of power yoga challenge you to develop focus, balance, and purpose that extend to life beyond the yoga mat. To see more click here
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Women in Coaching. A difficult problem. It is one that people recognize as an issue, and there are several initiatives in place to encourage getting women into sport, however, the question that must be asked; how many female coaches are these initiatives reaching?
As recently as the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, only 10% of Canadian coaches were female. This number is disappointing, and shows there is still work to be done in creating parity in the coaching realm.
A point of reflection: if there are so many wonderful resources available to aid the advancement of women in coaching, why are numbers still so low? Perhaps people are not aware of the opportunities that exist. An important way to push the female coaching movement would be to garner lots of interest in these resources and programs, to show there is a need for them and potentially others.
As mentioned above, several resources do exist. With the upcoming Canada Winter Games, a good example to point to is the “Women in Coaching Canada Games Apprenticeship Program” found here. The purpose of this program is to provide developing female coaches with the opportunity to work under a mentor coach and participate in a major multi-sport games.
CAAWS and the Coaching Association of Canada have also co-created a mentorship program for female coaches, found here. This program is well designed, and is evidence informed. It is certainly worth it to take a look at this program.
The Coaching Association of Ontario has created an initiative called “Changing the Game, Changing the Conversation” which is aimed not only at increasing the number of female coaches in sport, but increasing the number of female sport participants as a result of having positive female role models. Using the slogan #SheCanCoach to promote the movement. This is a wonderful initiative, and would be amazing to bring this to Coach AB.
Finally, on our own website you will find links to several other resources found under the “Programs” drop down menu. If you are a coach in Alberta (or anywhere) please take advantage of the resources available. The first and most important step is putting yourself out there and taking advantage of the opportunities available to you! You never know what may come of it, as one exciting opportunity can open the door to several others.
Coach Becky Hammon is the first female full-time assistant coach in the NBA. And she’s not stopping there – Hammon is determined to be known for being a “great coach” period, rather than “a great female coach”. Read more about it on the Player’s Tribune.
Hayley Wickenheiser hired as Toronto Maple Leafs player development assistant director in August 2018. “The biggest reason why I was intrigued about this role is that Kyle was interested in me — not to hire a woman, but to hire someone who could do the job” – Wickenheiser
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