By Sam Cortes, Communications Coordinator
Over the last year and a half, you may have had some time off (and on, and off again) from coaching because of the pandemic.
Now that sport is safely returning, we’d like to warmly welcome you back. And if you are new to coaching, we are excited for the start of your adventure in this incredibly important role.
As a coach, you are fundamental to the sport system, and you have an incredible opportunity to make a positive impact in our communities, with teams and athletes across the province.
There are over 14,000 coaches in Manitoba and most of them are volunteers. In these uncertain times, signing up to devote your time to empower, train, and lead our young athletes while giving back to the amateur sport system is valuable now more than ever. We are so grateful you chose to come back.
We hope the time on pause offered an opportunity for professional or personal development, or to work with your athletes remotely. Now, after months of hard work by PSOs on planning and facilitating safe return to play plans, we hope you’re excited to come back to coach in-person. After all, the athletes need you! And there are so many benefits to coaching.
Benefits of Coaching
Over the last year, you’ve been through a lot. Maybe you missed out on months of training and development, maybe your athletes aged up, or you missed a major tournament or multi-sport games. And while grieving these losses, you may have found yourself wondering why — why do I coach?
There are countless reasons why being a coach is rewarding. You become a leader for future generations, you teach kids fundamental life and sport skills, and you can give back to the sport and community that you love.
Here are just some of the benefits that come with the work you do.
1. Express your passion. When you coach, you immerse yourself in what you love, and are a part of an atmosphere you thrive in.
2. Make a positive impact in children’s lives. You develop kids as athletes and as people by teaching them new skills and lessons in sport and life. Plus, if you coach your own kids, it’s a chance to spend quality time with them in a new way!
3. Grow your own friend group. Meet other coaches and people in the sport community, and develop a network of support and friendship with those who share your passion.
4. Grow your own leadership skills. Build skills as a leader and role model when you create a positive, welcoming space to develop an athlete or team.
Tips On Getting Back On Track
In order to foster athlete well-being, we need to work together as coaches to find effective ways of getting back on track. Since the pandemic has had us adapt to new ways of training and sharing information, we can take advantage of these opportunities to connect.
Part of that means building a team of Manitoba coaches who can support each other and share the coaching responsibility. For example, by having a community of coaches running a program instead of just one person, it allows everyone to contribute while allowing for greater flexibility in coaching schedules. It is also a great way to include a variety of coaches’ experiences and expertise into providing the best possible program to the athletes.
For practical tips on returning to sport after a pandemic, such as how to approach practices and introducing new skills and drills to your athletes, check out this resource from the Canadian Sport Centre on psychological and emotional considerations for coaches.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself and be aware of your own needs, too, so you can come back strong alongside your athletes!
Below are some resources you might find helpful to be the best coach you can be as we return to sport in Manitoba.