January 30, 2018
With the Winter Olympics only weeks away, Canada looks to lead the world. The Olympic Games gives Canadians an opportunity to feel inspired and proud of our athletes’ accomplishments. But behind each athlete medal is a sport system that is supported by coaches and technical leaders who strive to innovate and create world class daily training environments in which athletes can excel. Entering its 4th year of programming, the School of Kinesiology, at the University of British Columbia, has supported over 50 of Canada’s coaches and technical leaders in its Masters of High Performance Coaching and Technical Leadership program.
“This program is unique in Canada, targeting coaches or technical leaders who have demonstrated tremendous experience in sport”, said David Hill, Director of System Excellence for the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific. Many of the coaches enrolled in the program have had experience as an athlete, coach, or leader at the Olympic and/or Paralympic Games. “Our students are lifelong learners who are motivated to improve their development and earn an academic credential at one of Canada’s premier universities”, added Hill. The program is on the cutting edge of Canadian sport, examining mechanisms to track athletes toward podium performances and gold medal profiling. There is also a heavy emphasis on leadership development and the ability to enhance coaches’ effectiveness in helping athletes to achieve their maximum potential. “Often the biggest impact for the athlete is a coach who works with the athlete in a trusting environment. This foundational coach-athlete relationship helps to enable the athlete to push the envelope within their sport”, said Dr. Shaunna Taylor, Chair of the Canadian Sport Psychology Association (CSPA) and instructor in the program. “We uphold the highest ethical standards, requiring our coaches to register as professional coaches with the Coaching Association of Canada”, added Hill.
Recent analysis of Canada’s targeted sport excellence strategy by Sport Canada has demonstrated the impact that Own the Podium (OTP) has had in helping to guide resources toward medal performance. Part of OTP’s initiatives is for sport leaders to examine data-driven and evidence-based research that informs athlete development and progression toward Olympic medals. “Many of our students have been sought by their National or Provincial sport organizations to assist in creating evidence-based programming to help athletes progress to higher levels in sport”, stated Dr. Andy Van Neutegem, a UBC instructor and OTP High Performance Athlete Advisor.
The School of Kinesiology’s Graduate Advisor and HPCTL Program Director, Dr. Maria Gallo, was instrumental in establishing the program at the University of British Columbia. Gallo complimented the student cohort stating: “These mature graduate students from diverse backgrounds and sports have enriched the learning environment of the program and have contributed to the translational knowledge we are trying to foster with this Masters. This world class program is impacting how we coach our current Olympians and our Next Gen athletes”.
Registration for the 4th cohort of coaches opens February 1, 2018.