GDCI prepares new local coaches

Lack of volunteers is a common problem in many fields these days, and GDCI is hoping that their new course content will help address the issue in terms of community coaching. The Physical Education Department has developed a course to guide senior students through the basic ideology of coaching by offering units in planning, ethics, equality, inclusiveness, and injury prevention.

The aim was to offer a course that would provide students with background information and habits that they would actually find useful. In this day and age it is not uncommon for parents to find themselves suddenly thrust into coaching roles when their children find interest in an activity.“Our hope was to provide them with background knowledge so that in the future they would be better suited to provide authentic and safe activities for their children,” said department headNiki Kovats.

Research by the Coaching Association of Canada shows definitively that if children are given confidence in basic athletic skills that they will continue to participate in activities that provide good physical and mental health longer into their lifespans. Having certified coaches that understand this in their own teaching, obviously helps to reaffirm this. The program provided sessions with local professionals who addressed a variety of athletic injury situations. Students learned about injury prevention and spent 10 sessions on athletic taping, indicative of the injuries in their sport. Each student became certified in concussion protocol and also had the opportunity to become certified in First Aid.

In addition, each student became certified under the National Coaching Certification program. GDCI head field hockey and soccer coach Ray Lewis, whom is also certified under the NCCP and one of only two nationally certified coaches in Competition Development, was able to deliver the course on Fundamental Movements at no cost. The course focused on practice planning, biomechanics, and ethics in sport. This year the course focussed primarily on field hockey and soccer, tailored to the interests of the students involved, and in the future will be adapted according to the input from those students enrolled.

The hope was to give young coaches the confidence to design legitimate practices for their future teams, as well as criticize some of their own situations. “There is always such need for volunteers, that our aim was to provide students with the basic tools, including dynamic stretching and practice planning that local organizations would find useful,” said Lewis. Now we have 20+ new community coaches who need only to take their sport specific course to become fully certified, whether it be soccer, badminton, ringette, hockey, etc.”