By Sarah Tone, Communications Coordinator

For the past six years as a coach, Sandra Page has served as a role model for her athletes, continually demonstrating respect for athletes, coaches and officials, respect for the rules, and professionalism among athletes and their families. 

Responsible for the Youth Group (ages 8 -14 and 14-18 non-competitive), Sandra focuses on transitioning athletes from Active Start and FUNdamentals into Learn to Train. She also attends the Manitoba Paddling Association board meetings, facilitates seasonal training camps and clinics, and organizes winter pool practices for swimming and pool paddling.

She schedules several special events every year as well, such as the Youth Group summer canoe camping trip, and she evaluates performance during tests and races, which is part of the selection of athletes to the Provincial Team. Sandra also invites Manitoba Canoe Kayak Club (MCKC) summer campers to try out the MCKC Youth Group for free for a week, participating in daily practices. Doing so allows her to introduce elements of routine and schedule, cross-training, technique, performance, and evaluation to a new crop of athletes.

A Mentor for Young Athletes

Sandra’s coaching style focuses on two key concepts that are essential to athletic development and performance: fun and confidence. She takes great care to build a team dynamic where athletes feel supported by the coaching staff as well as their peers. She doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk. She regularly participates in warm ups and drills with athletes and won’t hesitate to jump in a canoe or kayak or high-kneel alongside athletes to demonstrate technique or evaluate performance. Given the outdoor nature of the sport, Sandra always works to adapt practices to suit the weather instead of cancelling them. 

Sandra coached her Youth Group athletes at Spring Training Camp in March in Portugal, encouraged new athletes to compete in the local Manitoba Cup race series, and supervised her athletes at the Regatta in Regina, summer training in Banff and Calgary, and the Canada Summer Games in Niagara. Under Sandra’s coaching and mentorship, two of the Youth Group athletes were accelerated to the Provincial Team and competed in the 2022 Canada Summer Games. Another Youth Group athlete competed in the 2023 North American Indigenous Games.

All-around Athlete Development

Sandra is passionate about the all-around development of her athletes. She always takes the time to get to know them as individuals and as part of the Youth Group team. She maintains a warm, open and inclusive, team environment, giving attention to the social and emotional development of her athletes as much as their physical development. Sandra is an ally, supportive of LGBTTQ+ athletes at MCKC, adapting to changing pronouns and names, in training programs, competitions, evaluations and routine practices and facility use. 

Across her paddling career, Sandra has raced and won in many disciplines in the paddling world; sprint canoe, dragon boat, marathon canoe, and canvas canoe. She began paddling sprint canoes in 2014 and had a very accomplished first canoe racing season in 2015, winning 8 gold medals at the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games and racing at Nationals. She has great relationships with other athletes and coaches from other canoe-kayak clubs. She can always be found encouraging athletes at regattas, sharing knowledge on how to expertly tie boats for trans-continental travel, or organizing team get-togethers and cross-training activities.


Sport Manitoba Coaching Awards presented by Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries

The Konica Minolta Dr. Jack Hunt Award for Learn to Train is awarded to coaches who are responsible for athletes developing competitive skills and preparing for competition (i.e., regional or provincial).

National Coaches Week – September 16 – 24, 2023

National Coaches Week encourages Canadians to say thanks and celebrate the tremendous positive impact coaches have on athletes and communities. This week is an opportunity to recognize coaches for the integral role they play by simply saying #ThanksCoach.