It’s Not A New Mandate, It An Expansion

I have some explaining to do. First off, I’ve been away from my website for a while. Okay, a long while, however I can explain. With the world we were in for 2 years easing, that means back to meeting with people, back to meetings, back to obligations. And a lot of those obligations lead to the reason I have been MIA for the past while. 

Recently I announced through social medial platforms, as of September I am officially back at the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary. With that return there’re has been the return to programs such as Bowness HPAD, which has grown. It is extremely exciting and I am grateful for the time I get to help support that program. It’s back to Advanced Coaching Diploma and being back to a in person/ virtual hybrid delivery.  And back to lab, to practice my skill once again as a physiology lab tech. I do miss practicing as an applied high performance physiologist, but I digress. 

But one major change has come not just for me but for the institute. I have had trouble defining it but as some of the other institutes have posted the job description, the best way to describe what I do is pseudo Podium Pathway Advisor I guess. I came back with the goal to support the current and next generation of development, club medal-winning athletes, identified coaches, and sport technical leaders. I wanted to support athletes through delivery and accessibility to programs and services; deliver and promote talent identification programs such as RBC Training Ground. I am putting in effort to facilitate and deliver mentorship and professional development opportunities for  coaches and technical leaders.

I guess the biggest question I have pondered is, “is the CSI open for business?”. In a short answer, yes, but in a long answer, it’s complex and dynamic. Yes we are engaging with clubs, teams and coaches.  Most have come to us, as it has been all word of mouth. But I like to think of it as providing a program wide gap analysis and performance planning support to organizations that leads to successful outcomes on the on whatever stage they are performing. It comes down to ensuring identified gaps and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in the areas of coaching, leadership, competition and sport science are enhanced through their investment. I look to provide feedback on the gaps and help to identify the best practices the team should employ to help the performance, leadership or culture of their team. I have said that we need to have better athletes come though the system, but we never did anything about it.  Now we are building relationships deeper into the sport system, to the grassroots level. I feel we are on the verge of doing something about building a better foundation. 

Second big questions that crosses my mind, “are we in competition with others in the sport training community?”  Short answer, kind of.  Long answer, it’s complex and dynamic.  The goal I had coming back to the CSIC to do this, to get this off the ground was very complex.  I wanted to provide some of the services to the clubs that we did with national teams.  I think to the years of the Olympic Oval program.  Those were some of my happiest times.  We were there to support, and educate, and watch athletes move to amazing things, both in and out of sport.  But I looked at two different angles. The first was that I view the people at the CSIC as family. And when I had to leave, it hurt.  I also worried what happened to me could happen to anyone.  I wanted to help to create something that was  little place where we would be able to create a space, where these great coaches could go, when we age out of travel, when family commitment meant we cannot spend months at a time out on the road, and when a team leaves to another location, and their time with us is over.  This is a space where we can take our years of experience and share with the next generation.  It is what the Norwegians do, and it works, so why not start a place where that culture could live. Put some amazing coaches with immense experience where it can benefit the up and coming athletes.

But the second angle touched on my back ground as an educator.  I have heard that “you need the job to get the experience, but you need the experience to get the job.” I was blessed to learn under great people. I want to give back. I wanted to create a place where others in the profession could come, learn, gain experience and collaborate.  Create a space, where young coaches can be mentored, can practice their craft, in a safe environment, where mistakes are okay, where they do not cost careers, medals or funding.  Its a place where athletes are going to still get better, but we can continue to learn, adjust the process, and in the end, its a win/ win. It is not just aimed at students and interns, but other strength coaches, other sport physiologists.  There are no secrets in this profession, so why are we scared to share, to collaborate out of our four walls. We are looking to help other groups where they feel they may have a gap.  So are we open for business, sure, I guess to some degree.  Are we competition, I would say no. We are just here to help, to support, to collaborate, to learn and to grow. 

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