July 14th, 2024

Game Changer Conference’s aim is to attract more coaches

By Lethbridge Herald on November 22, 2023.

Herald file photo Herald FILE photo Susan Eymann, executive director of the Lethbridge Sport Council, speaks at an announcement in 2021 at the ATB Centre in this file photo. Eymann and Lethbridge Sport Council are hopeful to be a part of the solution of finding more coaches at the Game Changer Conference in the New Year.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

Lethbridge Sport Council, the University of Lethbridge Athletics and FSQ Sport are teaming up to host the Lethbridge Game Changer Conference early next year.

The conference will allow coaches, players, parents, officials, coaches and organizational administrators to have engagement with prominent thought leaders and industry experts and focuses on collaboration, innovation and growth.

“But it was in Lethbridge, of course, that we’re focused on that there was a lack of community coaches,” said Susan Eymann, Lethbridge Sport Council executive director.

“We wanted to work with them to look at being able to recruit and then retain more community coaches. So that more kids can participate in sport. The capacity, there’s a limit if there aren’t coaches available. So we worked with them to really look at what can we do. And we hear from people who aren’t coaching that it’s intimidating, that they don’t know enough to get into coaching ,and what we’re trying to get across is that you need to have great character and want to work with children and youth and the sport can teach you how to coach the sports skills. So we’re focused on the non-sports skills.”

The goal is to create quality sports experiences for youth that want to participate.

“There’s so many great people out there that we know would make great coaches,” said Eymann.

“Actually I spoke to someone yesterday (on Tuesday), who said I’d love to coach a team and my kids are getting to that age where I think I’m going to get that opportunity now. So they’re interested and we want to help everyone aware that if they’re interested then sport wants them. You don’t need to be a high performance athlete; you don’t need to be an expert in a sport to be able to contribute to sport. So many of our youth participate for the social connection, for certainly the exercise, for some it’s the fun of the game, (for) others it is they love competition. But they get into it because of it being fun and the social aspect.”

LSC will be releasing before the summit five videos of different themes from beginner coaches and what got them into the role of coaching with limited knowledge.

“And hopefully some of these stories other people will connect with and go oh if that’s how they started, oh like I can do it ,and then they would connect with Sport Council and we would then help connect them with a sport that they’d like to get involved with,” said Eymann.

“Well what it does is it really  creates that continuous support for regional coaches,” said Matt Young, FSQ Sport partner.

“They can be heard, they’ve got webinars that are quarterly webinars, they’ve  got weekly communications that get sent out to them. So it’s not a one and done. Coach education, or like we call it coach development and nobody likes the educated, it’s either non-existent or really expensive. So it’s either you have to commit $3,000 and a year to get your Canada Soccer C, B or A licence or you have a strong heartbeat. So you just have to take Safe Sport, Respect in Sport and then you can show up on the pitch and you’re on your way. Neither of those are good solutions for engaging volunteers. So that’s why we have a shortage of coaches in the community.”

It was in October 2021 that Lethbridge Sport Council reached out to FSQ Sport to help with solutions to the scarcity of quality coaches.

It was from FSQ’s original recommendation  a coaching pipeline was established and  connections were facilitated through the U of L between grad students, players, seasoned collegiate coaches and community coaches.

The goal was to provide positivity to communities at large.

Tickets for the event are on sale  now at https://lethbridgesportcouncil.ca/events/upcoming/lethbridge-game-changer-conference-2024 and the early bird price is available now until Jan. 31.

The conference on April 12-13, 2024.

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