Sports leaders converge at Vancouver conference 

By Andrew Mitchell

This weekend, Nov. 3-5, the heads of most Canadian sports organizations will meet in Vancouver to discuss the role of coaches in an athlete’s career, while exploring ways to develop and enhance coaching programs and coaching to benefit athletes.

The Petro Canada Sport Leadership Conference is hosted by the Coaching Association of Canada, and features dozens of workshops and speakers.

Rather than reinforcing the need for good coaching, the conference gets into the specifics of identifying, training and supporting high performance athletes, as well as the dynamics of effective coaching.

Some of the workshops include Functional Assessment of Athletes, Sport and the Media — More Than Just Results; How to Develop, Work With, and Maximize a Performance Enhancement Team. Speakers include federal sports minister Michael Chong, Olympic cross-country gold medalist Beckie Scott, Canadian Olympic Committee CEO Chris Rudge, and Jean-Marie De Koninck, chair of the Coaching Association of Canada.

“Behind every gold medal there’s a coach who has invested years into an athlete’s performance,” said John Bales, CEO of the Coaching Association of Canada. “That sometimes gets overlooked. We’re meeting to learn how to help cultivate world-class performances through the most competitive coaching techniques in the world.”

Some of the discussion topics include “How does Canada stack up? Comparing Canada’s sport policies to five other nations” and “Are coaches stressed and burned-out?”

The conference is just the latest of several efforts to improve coaching in Canada, complementing programs like Own the Podium 2010. The B.C. Lottery Corporation has also announced $250,000 for the Coaches Association of B.C. to host subsidized coaching clinics throughout the province, including rural areas.

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