Ringette coach Laura Watson

Coaches step up for B.C. Games

B.C. Winter Games in Vernon a chance to recognize province’s dedicated coaches

Coaches are often the unsung heroes of athletic success.

When gold-medal athletes stand on podiums, their coaches often hide offscreen.

However, without fail, athletes credit their coaches ahead of anyone else.

Coaches lead and inspire athletes from community programs to the Olympic and Paralympic podiums. This month’s B.C. Winter Games in Vernon, Feb. 23 to 26, is as a major springboard for coaches and athletes alike to move up to the Canada Games.

“A coach’s preparation for the B.C. Games, or any other competitive environment, is just as important as an athlete’s preparation,” said Coaches B.C. executive director Gord May.

Coaches B.C. is the provincial organization responsible for coaching education programs and the ongoing support and development of coaches. Every coach at the Games is certified through the National Coaching Certification Program.

“Every successful athlete has been trained by someone who has taken the time to learn about the technical aspects of their sport and how to prepare their athletes both mentally and physically,” May said.

“Excellence will come about when you have the right tools and use them the right way.”

Many of the 65 provincial sport organizations involved in the B.C. Winter and Summer Games utilize the Games as an opportunity for coach mentorship and training.

Karate B developed a junior coach mentorship program as part of the B.C. Winter Games where youth coaches have the opportunity to work with a certified adult coach. Six junior coaches, aged 15 to 18 years old, will be part of the 2012 B.C. Winter Games.

“The B.C. Games is an ideal way of furthering (development of) our young athletes into future coaches,” said Fernando Correia, the Duncan-based Provincial Advisor for Karate B.C.

“I know our junior coaches are looking forward to attending the Winter Games and having the opportunity to develop under the tutelage of some of Karate B.C.’s best coaches.”

Another successful mentorship program developed by the B.C.Games Society, Coaches B.C. and Promotion Plus, supports the education of female coaches.

For Laura Watson, Technical Director with Coaches B.C. and ringette coach, this has been a terrific opportunity for both her and her apprentice coach.

“As I started out in coaching I wish that I had had an opportunity to study from a seasoned coach. It would have provided me with the opportunity to see how an effective coach really operates,” Watson said. “The B.C. Games experience that we have for our apprentice coach is absolutely the best experience that we could ever offer someone.”

The dedication and commitment of coaches around the province strengthens the overall sport system and contributes to communities and social development. For many, including

Gary Ricks, a Level 3 gymnastics in Cranbrook, coaching is a way of life.

“Coaching helps you take stock of where you are now in all aspects of your life and how that compares to where you would like to be,” Ricks said.

Ricks has attended 12 B.C. Winter Games in 31 years of coaching. It will be a family affair this year in Vernon as Ricks coaches the Kootenays’ Zone 1 team; his wife Michelle is the provincial advisor for gymnastics and his niece Madysen is a competing athlete.

A total of 232 head coaches and assistant coaches will lead 1,148 athletes at the 2012 B.C. Winter Games.

More online at B.C. Games.