National Coaches Week is September 17-25. An initiative of the Coaches Association of Canada and the Provincial and Territorial coaching organizations, this week celebrates the tremendous positive impact coaches have on athletes and communities across Canada. This week is an opportunity to recognize coaches for the integral role they play by simply saying #ThanksCoach.
Team BC and the BC Games are part of BC’s athlete development pathway, but also provide an important opportunity for coaching development. Organizations like Swim BC have seen the progression and success of their coaches through these programs.
In honour of National Coaches Week, we are profiling some of our outstanding coaches who took part in the BC Games mentorship program in 2016 or who have been selected to the Canada Games mentorship program. These programs pair apprentice and mentor coaches for unique hands-on experience and training at the respective Games.
Jennika Efford of Victoria is a swimming coach who attended the 2014 BC Summer Games and then became a mentor coach at the 2016 BC Summer Games. She is continuing her coaching development and has recently been selected to be an apprentice coach with Team BC at the 2017 Canada Summer Games.
Mentor Coach: Jennika Efford, Victoria
1. Why did you choose to get into coaching?
I got into coaching while swimming in university. I’ve always liked working with kids and combining it with my love of the sport seemed natural.
2. What is your favorite thing about coaching?
Some of the best moments I’ve had coaching have been with young swimmers when they are loving the sport and realizing what they are able to accomplish. Nothing compares to seeing their faces when they achieve that goal they didn’t believe was possible.
3. Do you have a particular coaching style?
I’d say I’m pretty no nonsense, but I also try and make my practices and interactions with the athletes as fun and honest as possible.
4. What multisport Games have you attended?
I’ve attended the 2014 and 2016 BC Summer Games.
5. What was your favorite memory from coaching at the BC Games?
The bus rides with the athletes are always quite memorable, as well as the team meetings. We really worked on getting these athletes from different teams all over Vancouver Island to get to know each other and support each other over the weekend.
6. What did you learn from being involved in the coach mentor/apprentice program?
It’s been a valuable program that helps young coaches get an idea of what is involved in a
multisport games experience at the provincial and national level. It’s really important for young
coaches to go with the flow and be adaptable during the multisport games experience. The coaches need to help set the tone for the athletes.
7. What has been your best success in coaching?
I was told once that the mark of a good coach is not getting the talented athlete to the next level but getting the athlete who hasn’t reached their potential yet to their next level. With that in mind I would say my best success was having my 11 and Under Boys relay team win at the regional
championships last season. Not the most glorious accomplishment but one that meant a lot to me and to those boys.
8. What are your next goals as a coach?
I’ve just taken on a new role as assistant head coach so I’m trying to learn as much as I can in the hopes that I can keep moving up the ladder and one day run my own club. I’m also going to 2017 Canada Summer Games next year as an apprentice coach. I’m very excited about that opportunity and getting to work with athletes on a national level.
PHOTO: Jennika in action coaching some of her athletes