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.
The BC Games are part of BC’s athlete development pathway, but also provide an important opportunity for coaching development. Organizations like Judo BC have seen the progression and success of their coaches through these programs.
In honour of National Coaches Week, we are profiling some outstanding coaches who took part in the BC Games coach mentorship program in 2016. This program pairs apprentice and mentor coaches for unique hands-on experience and training at the BC Winter and BC Summer Games.
Grace Northrop of Prince George attended the 2012 and 2014 BC Winter Games as an athlete leading her to compete for Team BC at the 2015 Canada Winter Games held in her hometown. She is now using her experience and talents and applying them to coaching and was an apprentice coach at the 2016 BC Winter Games.
Grace Northrop - Judo Apprentice Coach
1.Why did you choose to get into coaching?
I see coaching as a way to give back to the Judo community of Northern BC by sharing the experience that I have gained competing and training.
2.What is your favorite thing about coaching?
My favorite thing about coaching is connecting with the athletes and learning to understand which each athlete needs in order to perform at their best.
3.Do you have a particular coaching style?
As a relatively young and inexperienced coach, I haven’t really developed a particular coaching style yet. So far I just try to watch as many different coaches as possible to see what works for them and then try to implement their methods into my own coaching.
4.What multisport Games have you attended?
2012 and 2014 BC Winter Games (athlete)
2015 Canada Winter Games (athlete)
2016 BC Winter Games (coach)
5.What was your favorite memory from coaching at the BC Games?
One of my favorite memories from coaching at the BC Games was when the team was waiting for the mats to open for practice, someone found a ball to play bump and the whole team played for at least half an hour. Though no one on the team had much basketball experience, it was still a great bonding experience for the team and a good way to relieve some nerves by just playing for fun and not to win.
6.What did you learn from being involved in the coach mentor/apprentice program?
I learned a lot from my mentor, in particular with regards to making sure athletes are happy and healthy at a multisport event, such as ensuring athletes have enough food and sleep and making sure everyone makes weight. It made me realize that coaching an athlete during a match is only a small part of what it means to be a coach.
7.What has been your best success in coaching?
One of my major roles at the BC Winter Games was helping athletes who had never been to such a large event before cope with home sickness, lack of sleep, unfamiliar sleep and food. I think the coaches and many of the senior athletes were really able to support the younger athletes and make their first multisport games a positive experience.
8.What are your next goals as a coach?
I would like to continue my certification as a coach by taking the NCCP Level 1 and eventually Level 2 coaching courses. I would also like to gain more experience coaching in tournament settings such as the BC Winter Games and other competitions of a similar size.
PHOTO above: Grace and her Team BC coach, Bruce Kamstra