Coaching Association of Canada

Pierre Lafontaine, ChPC - Swimming

Former Swimming Canada CEO and national team head coach Pierre Lafontaine, ChPC, gives us his "Big Picture" take on alignment and roles in the sport system. Keeping this in mind at the developmental level will help better serve programs at the national level.

Spring is finally upon us and with it comes the world of summer community sport opportunities.

Canada has a great history of world-class performances at the Summer Olympic Games but these performances cannot happen without world-class community programs which are often delivered by volunteer coaches supported locally.

This past December, the Canadian government voted unanimously to make the first Saturday of June ‘National Health and Fitness Day’. On that day, over 200 communities across Canada will open their pools and rinks for free to promote national fitness. Why not make Canada “the fittest nation in the world?” WHY NOT US? Thus the importance of world-class community coaches.

Own The Podium (OTP) will only ever be as great as OTM – ‘Own The Municipalities’. The affordable access to field of play, pools, gyms, etc. is crucial to the development of our future athletes. Access to school gyms and after school programs that align with LTAD will be the key to our future success. We must all work toward a common goal to get every child active and it won’t happen if the delivery of the entry level sport program in Canada is below par. The job of a child is to play – and the job of the coach is to coach!”

Our volunteer coaches and administrators are crucial to making Canada what it can be. They are often the spark that is so often required to help kids dream the big dream. They create smiles and a world of possibilities. They make the “impossible reachable!” Coaches also need to be self-aware, to know they play a valuable part in youth development. The question that needs to be asked, often, by coaches at every level is: “Would I want and like to play for me?”, “Will I be the best that I can be under me?”, “Why would I want to train under me?”

Sport is, and will always be, a technically driven activity where progressive fitness is added. To be the best that you can be, you must have a high level of technical proficiency delivered by coaches with a great eye. Coaching courses must help deliver technical knowledge, training principles, etc. but they must also help future coaches design exciting training environments where world-class performances (the best that you can be) is a simple by-product, where longevity in sport and high-level performance is possible. Greatness comes in many forms but it must come from positive environments. The day-to-day training situation whether you are eight, or 78, must be upbeat, where teamwork is possible, and even promoted and training challenges are fostered and most days achievable.

Being at the Olympic Games is not for everybody, but it is for everybody to be in a winning environment.

Everyone CAN win and the learned lessons from respective sport experiences will last a lifetime. It can also foster the next generation of volunteer coaches, administrators, fundraisers etc. The outcome of a great and exciting sport program is a more active nation and a better Canada. “Why not us?”

Go Canada Go!