Coaching Association of Canada

Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games Coaches

GORDON APOLLONI, ChPC

Sport: Boxing
Years Coaching: 32
Years Coaching National Team: 8
NCCP Status:  Level 5 Certified
Previous Games: 3 Pan Am Games, Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
I am looking forward to podium performances and to hearing our National Anthem.

What was the most important part of your preparation as a coach?
Ensuring the boxers attended the proper preparatory competitions leading up to these Games.

Did everything go according to plan? What would you do differently?
Yes, as we have almost qualified a full team

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
It would mean that the program for that particular athlete was a success, including all the individual factors.

What did NCCP training teach you that will serve you well in the heat of competition at these Games?
The experience is all about a process. One step at a time, one fight at a time.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
Get involved with the process and get your nose dirty.

PAUL APSIMON, ChPC

Sport: Fencing and Modern Pentathlon
Discipline: Women's Foil (Fencing), Épée (Modern Pentathlon)
Years Coaching: 28
Years Coaching National Team: 5
NCCP Status:  Advanced Coaching Diploma
Twiter Handle : @PaulApSimon
Previous Games: 2000 Sydney, 2011 Guadalajara, 2012 London

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
The energy and enthusiasm of the crowd.

What was the most important part of your education as a coach?
My formal education as a physical education teacher and coach, including the Advanced Coaching Diploma, and my work with a great mentor. Trial and error has also taught me a lot. I never planned to be a coach but I have loved the journey

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
We won 3 medals in Mexico, all silver. I would like to win Gold. It would be an indication that we are heading in the right direction.

What did NCCP training teach you that will serve you well in the heat of competition at these Games?
My NCCP training helped me organize my coaching and this translated into attention to detail. My NCCP training has helped me to 'be prepared'.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
Surround yourself with great people, listen, absorb, learn, adapt to your situation and apply the knowledge.

LARRY CAIN, ChPC

Sport: Canoe-Kayak
Discipline: Sprint
Years Coaching: 15
Years Coaching National Team: 1
NCCP Status:  Level 2
Twitter Handle: @larrycaincanoe

How do you feel about this experience?
I'm excited about the opportunity to work with athletes at the Pan Am Games in preparation for Rio in 2016.

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
Competing at home has its advantages and we'll try to take advantage of them, but most of all I'm looking forward to the excitement created by the fact that we will be racing at home.

Can you describe your coaching path?
My preparation as a coach was 17 years as a National Team member privileged to work with excellent coaches. They inspired me to help others when I retired. I was a Physical Education teacher and high school coach for 18 years while also coaching at the canoe club. I've been rich on practical experience and had many successes as a coach. I'm now trying to catch up on all the paper qualifications as well in order to be fully and officially accredited.

Did everything go according to plan? What would you do differently?
Nothing ever goes totally according to plan, but I am satisfied with my career as an athlete and my career to date as a coach. I've worked with other wonderful coaches and fantastic athletes of all levels who have done very well. It is a privilege to continue to be involved in sport at this level.

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
It would be exciting but truthfully just a small step towards the ultimate goal which is a podium performance in Rio. The athletes I am working with have had Olympic success before, so a podium result in Toronto 2015 really would just be taking care of business.

What did NCCP training teach you that will serve you well in the heat of competition at these Games?
As I have mentioned I am catching up on this training so I can't really answer that. I believe the programs are excellent to ensure competency and professionalism in Canadian coaches. I also believe that hands on, real life experience can teach a lot as well to those who are open to learning the lessons it provides. My extensive experience as both an international athlete and a very successful national coach has taught me what I rely on most in the heat of high level competition like World Cups, World Championships, and major games.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
Be passionate about your sport and helping others. A true coach is a student of their sport who is willing to devote a lifetime to learning and passing the lessons learned to others. It's a fun and excited career but it is also a privilege and is something that must be taken seriously.

KEN COOLS, ChPC

Sport: Cycling
Discipline: BMX
Years Coaching: 22
Years Coaching National Team: 3
NCCP Status:  Level 4
Twiter Handle : @CoachKenCools
Previous Games: 2 Olympic Games

How do you feel about this experience?
Games experiences are invaluable for learning and growth and on top of that are quite exciting.

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
It will be a rewarding experience coaching on home soil surrounded by so many supportive Canadians. The home town feel from the fans gives the athletes that extra something that is felt by the coaching staff as well. This could be the most intense race these athletes will ever race on home soil and I am very excited for them all.

What was the most important part of your preparation as a coach?
The most important role for me was to develop the training plan and to execute training sessions with the athletes leading up to the games in order to have them fully prepared to compete. Making sure our daily training environment (DTE) had the right structure and was executed with a high enough degree of intensity to best replicate the competition environment of the Pan Am games.

Did everything go according to plan? What would you do differently?
For the most part everything in our preparations did go to plan. Athletes are peaking at the right time and everyone is healthy. There have been some injuries leading up to these Games that made the build-up to the event more challenging than desired, but these are unavoidable things that we do our best to prevent. A larger block of international races in Europe would have been the only thing that could have been done differently but I feel confident we have a solid team and have done what we can to be the best.

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
It would confirm to the program and the coaching staff that we are doing the right things and that our program is on the right path for all athletes currently involved and also those coming up. Having a medal performance would inspire a generation of young BMX athletes who are potentially watching this event with aspirations of one day becoming a top BMXer which would mean a possible increase in the amount of young riders in our sport. This would ultimately lead to a larger talent pool in Canada increasing our potential for success in the future.

What did NCCP training teach you that will serve you well in the heat of competition at these Games?
Keep calm and focus on the process. We cannot control performance but we can control all of the small things that lead to an environment of success.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
Simple - enjoy the ride. We all started sport because it was fun and that’s what kept us doing what we do. If we lose the passion and fun factor, then we lose the essential element of why we became successful in the first place.

AARON DZIVER, ChPC

Sport: Diving
Discipline: 3M Springboard, 3M Synchro, 10M, 10M Synchro
Years Coaching: 22
Years Coaching National Team: 8
NCCP Status:  Level 5 Certified
Twiter Handle : @Aaron_Dziver
Previous Games: 2014 Glasgow, 2011 Guadalajara, 2010 Delhi, 2008 Beijing

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
The home crowd support, the atmosphere and environment.

What was the most important part of your preparation as a coach?
Good communication with athletes and IST about the objectives throughout the different training phases.

Did everything go according to plan? What would you do differently?
A good plan is one that is easily modified to adapt to the ever-changing reality of our day to day preparation. The implemented plan is never identical to the one that is created at the onset of a year/training phase.

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
The privilege of witnessing a great performance at home would be a memory that I will cherished for a life-time.

What did NCCP training teach you that will serve you well in the heat of competition at these Games?
How to recognize and focus on the elements that will make the difference and ignore the distractions that are not directly under your control. Adapt and overcome.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
Deliver your knowledge and experience respectfully and patiently. In turn, athletes will respect you and be more open to your teachings. Enjoy and appreciate the moments of learning.

LORIE HENDERSON, ChPC

Sport: Gymnastics
Discipline: Women's Artistic
Years Coaching: 45+
Years Coaching National Team: 2
Previous Games: 2014 Glasgow

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
The excitement and support of the audience as well as less travel time!

What was the most important part of your preparation as a coach?
To make sure we are ready at the right time, to prepare for the “village experience”, and the home crowd excitement!

Did everything go according to plan? What would you do differently?
So far so good! Hard to say every time is a learning experience, we will go home and evaluate afterwards, then adjust and plan for the next one!

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
It would be awesome of course, but more for my athlete than for me, so much hard work on their part... It’s her who has to perform out there, not me!

What did NCCP training teach you that will serve you well in the heat of competition at these Games?
All sources of knowledge are valuable! The NCCP program definitely provides you with this.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
Work harder than you think you have to and always, always be open to learn from everyone and every experience! Most of all, remember that it is just a sport or activity to most, so successful learning and fun are the best ways to keep kids involved in your sport! You can’t become an elite athlete if you do not like what you are doing.

KEVIN HOWARD, ChPC

Sport: Boxing
Years Coaching: 28
Years Coaching National Team: 25
NCCP Status:  Level 5 Certified
Previous Games: Commonwealth Games

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
Showcasing Canadian talent at home!

What was the most important part of your preparation as a coach?
Commitment.

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
A medal is an indicator of "team" success.

What did NCCP training teach you that will serve you well in the heat of competition at these Games?
That self-control and discipline are both words and actions.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
Safety of the athlete is always rule # 1.

DAVID HOWES, ChPC

Sport: Fencing and Modern Pentathlon
Discipline: Épée
Years Coaching: 25
Years Coaching National Team: 3
NCCP Status:  Level 4 Certified
Twiter Handle : @davidhowes27
Previous Games: 2011 Rio (World Military Games)

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
I’m really excited for my team to compete in front of Canadian supporters. I was a volunteer at the 1999 Games in Winnipeg and the excitement from the crowd was amazing and unlike anything I’ve ever seen in fencing in Canada.

What was the most important part of your preparation as a coach?
Analyzing and planning for matches against our potential opponents for the Pan-Am Championships, which were held in April in Chile.

Did everything go according to plan? What would you do differently?
We won an individual bronze medal, but lost the team bronze to Cuba. This was the first time we’ve seen the Cubans in a number of years so we have a better idea of how to approach another match against them if we get the opportunity.

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
If one of my athletes or my team were to win a medal in Toronto, it would definitely be one of the highlights of my coaching career. Helping them to achieve such a result in front of Canadian supporters would be especially sweet!

What did NCCP training teach you that will serve you well in the heat of competition at these Games?
Keep it simple! When the pressure is on and the athletes might be feeling stressed, keep your feedback short and succinct. More is not necessarily better.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
Never stop learning! There’s always something to be learned from every failure and success, from every athlete you work with, and other coaches. Don’t miss these opportunities.

SVETLANA JOUKOVA, ChPC

Sport: Gymnastics
Discipline: Rhythmic
Years Coaching: 35
Years Coaching National Team: 18
Previous Games: 2011 Guadalajara

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
To be proud of my athlete.

What was the most important part of your preparation as a coach?
To create a good preparation plan for my gymnast. To have the patience to achieve the best shape at the right time. To develop a winning spirit

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
It would prove that we have a good coach-athlete relationships, that we are good partners, and that we understand each other well. Ultimately our goal is the same.

What did NCCP training teach you that will serve you well in the heat of competition at these Games?
Good strategies for preparation and performance planning.

DAVID KIKUCHI, ChPC

Sport: Gymnastics
Years Coaching: 15
Years Coaching National Team: 7
Previous Games: Olympic and Commonwealth Games

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
The support of the home town crowd and country.

What did NCCP training teach you that will serve you well in the heat of competition at these Games?
I just finished my level 4, so I have a lot of things fresh ideas in my mind.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
Believe, then do it.

BENJAMIN MANANO, ChPC

Sport: Fencing
Discipline: Sabre
Years Coaching: 11
Years Coaching National Team: 4

How do you feel about this experience?
I feel ambitious and ready for this big event.

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
I can’t wait to participate in such an important competition, and at home on top of it!

What was the most important part of your preparation as a coach?
The most important thing was to manage the planning because there were some injuries and they compromised the preparation.

Did everything go according to plan? What would you do differently?
No, but we were able to manage whenever something unexpected happened. We were well prepared and our support teams did tremendous work.

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
It’s a step toward the Olympics in Rio.

What did NCCP training teach you that will serve you well in the heat of competition at these Games?
Everything. It was a very valuable preparation. It’s important to develop expertise in very diverse areas since this helps us to deal with many different situations.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
"Know your athletes" - O.Trudel

TRISTAN MULLALLY, ChPC

Sport: Badminton
Years Coaching: 15
Years Coaching National Team: 4
NCCP Status:  Level 5 Certified
Twiter Handle : @tmullallygolf

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
Soaking in the atmosphere of a home crowd, being a part of golf’s first involvement in a multi-sport Games, and gaining experience for the Olympics.

What was the most important part of your preparation as a coach?
Taking care of athletes needs and gaining a thorough understanding of the venue, particularly, the setup and conditions.

Did everything go according to plan? What would you do differently?
So far so good, we have had several site visits and our athletes have played the course in advance of the competition. I would obviously like more time at the venue but we will be well prepared by the time the event starts.

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
It would be huge for golf in this country and I personally would have achieved one of my goals. As a coach you work long and hard to support performance and a medal would make it even more worthwhile.

What did NCCP training teach you that will serve you well in the heat of competition at these Games?
To be prepared mentally and physically, to take time to look after yourself so that you can be at your best for your athletes and to look at other sports for new ways to achieve excellence.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
The more you can see your athletes in the field of play, the more opportunities you will have to make insightful suggestions. In golf too few coaches get on to the course with their athletes.

RAM NAYYAR, ChPC

Sport: Badminton
Years Coaching: 20
Years Coaching National Team: 7
NCCP Status: Level 5 Certified
Twiter Handle : @coachramnayyar
Previous Games: 3 Commonwealth Games, 3 Pan Am Games, 1 Olympic Games

How do you feel about this experience?
Games experiences are invaluable for learning and growth and on top of that are quite exciting.

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
Having the support of local fans as well as being in a familiar environment.

What was the most important part of your preparation as a coach?
Forming the relationships with the bigger team and the One Team Philosophy.

Did everything go according to plan? What would you do differently?
Everything is on track, a few changes and challenges but over all on track.

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
This is about the athletes, not the coach. That said, obviously every medal is a proud moment as a Canadian and for the athletes and knowing that you've had some small part in it is rewarding.

What did NCCP training teach you that will serve you well in the heat of competition at these Games?
Prepare Prepare Prepare.. as well as the invaluable lessons in sport psychology and leadership training.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
As a coach, remember you are there to make the athlete experience better. The journey is theirs. Your job is to help and encourage, let them become all they can and beware of your own ego.

SCOTT OLDERSHAW, ChP

Sport: Canoe-Kayak
Discipline: Sprint Canoe
Years Coaching: 26
Years Coaching National Team:11
NCCP Status: Level 3
Previous Games: 2011 Guadalajara

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
The home crowd.

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
Fulfillment of our expectations.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
Be creative and experiment, books and science can’t teach you everything.

SHAWN RIGGS

Sport: Archery
Years Coaching: 12
Years Coaching National Team: 2
NCCP Status: Instructor Intermediate

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
I'm really looking forward to learning more about the components of a multi-sport Games. I'm also interested in working through the challenges of a Games with the athletes from Archery. More to learn, as I'm not the personal coach for any athletes, and we anticipate a number of medals, it would simply be a further learning process around managing an aspect of multi sport games.

What was the most important part of your preparation as a coach?
Understanding the ins and outs of working with the COC. Working in conjunction with our national team coach and the athletes.

Did everything go according to plan? What would you do differently?
No, there were many challenges with team selection and appeals which delayed and prevented some of the plans.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
Pick who you want to mentor with and offer to help. It’s amazing the fun you’ll have and the career growing opportunities they'll give you.

DAVE ROSS, ChPC

Sport: Gymnastics
Discipline: Trampoline
Years Coaching: 44
Years Coaching National Team: 30
NCCP Status: Level 4
Previous Games: 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens, 2007 Rio, 2008 Beijing, 2011 Guadalajara, 2012 London, 2014 Glasgow

How do you feel about this experience?
Games experiences are invaluable for learning and growth and on top of that are quite exciting.

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
A home crowd and no jet lag!

What was the most important part of your preparation as a coach?
Thinking about what you are trying to accomplish.

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
This would be nice.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
Empower your athletes when they are old enough to handle it. Ask good questions.

KEN SOEHN, ChPC

Sport: Gymnastics
Discipline: Trampoline
Years Coaching: 43
Years Coaching National Team: 31
NCCP Status: Level 4
Previous Games: 2012 London

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
Knowing that if solutions are required for any circumstance, it should be readily available. The extras of the competition will be familiar.

Did everything go according to plan? What would you do differently?
The plan is a guide which allows flexibility for changing circumstances, so it always goes to plan, just not the original one. Patience is the most important quality for coaching.

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
Medal performances are expected at this level, but they are always nice when they are accomplished. My son won the last Pan American Games in Guadalajara in 2011. To have an opportunity to repeat that accomplishment in your own country is special.

What did NCCP training teach you that will serve you well in the heat of competition at these Games?
The NCCP program exposes you to what to pay attention to in all coaching situations, but experience teaches you how to deliver the experience to the current group of athletes. The goal of coaching at this level is to reflect and verify the correctness of decision making the athletes are doing based upon the athletes current preparation status.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
The main advice I have for all my coaching interactions is to have the patience to follow the correct process. Coaching is about making the athletes’ job as simple as possible. Developing humans pushing the edge of abilities means always leaving room for more patience than you planned for. This is one opportunity…do not over react to any negatives as they may affect future opportunities.

VALENTIN STAN, ChPC

Sport: Gymnastics
Discipline: Men's Artistic
Years Coaching: 13
Years Coaching National Team: 4
NCCP Status: Level 4
Previous Games: 2014 Glasgow

How do you feel about this experience?
All the games are special. I have met very good coaches there and I’m glad I can call them friends.

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
It’s always good to compete at home in front of family and friends. I look forward to opening ceremonies. 

What has contribute the most to your preparation as a coach?
For me the most important part is to be part of a club that supports high performance and I am lucky that I work at such a club (Flicka Gymnastics in North Vancouver). I was lucky to have great coaches around me from who I learned a great deal. I wish I had come to Canada earlier.

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
It would be a great feeling for an athlete to win a medal but my focus for these games is winning a team medal.

What did NCCP training teach you that will serve you well in the heat of competition at these Games?
Level 4 for me was eye-opening. It gave me the tools to be a better coach. Particularly, the modules that we have to do with major Games.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
Have patience and teach the kids fundamentals. Create a winner mentality. Educate the parents; you can't have a great athlete without good and supportive parents.

JASON WOODNICK, ChPC

Sport: Gymnastics
Discipline: Men's Artistic
Years Coaching: 8
Years Coaching National Team: 3
NCCP Status: Level 3 Certified
Previous Games: 2014 Glasgow

What are you most looking forward to about coaching on home soil?
I am excited to have a home crowd that will be loud and supportive of our athletes.

What was the most important part of your preparation as a coach?
The most important part was making sure we didn't over-train. We wanted to be fully prepared, but not to the point of getting tired and injured.

What would a medal performance by one of your athletes mean to you as a coach?
As a coach it would just mean that we followed the training plan accordingly and everything worked out the way that we wanted it to.

What did NCCP training teach you that will serve you well in the heat of competition at these Games?
The NCCP training taught me to develop strong training plans that we will follow throughout the Games.

What tip do you have for development and community coaches?
My advice is to set a game plan and follow it and trust that you are making the right decisions. Also, allow your athletes to have input into their plan so that it becomes more of a team effort.