Canadian Sport Institute Calgary – Everyone knows that athletes work hard to improve, to achieve their goals, to win – it’s what they do and it’s why they are great. A lesser-known but equally driven cohort doing the same thing are athletes’ coaches. Quality coaches do not stand idly by while their athletes move forward – they travel alongside them, pursuing excellence in their own craft: the art and science of sport coaching. The world’s best learn from reflecting on their experiences, their athletes, peers and learning from sport scientists.
Mike Stastook, Head Coach of the WinSport Academy Slopestyle and Big Air team, is one of these coaches who has enjoyed the successes of his athletes over the years, but made a decision to further challenge himself and find ways to make his coaching even more effective. Enrolling in the Advanced Coaching Diploma (ACD) offered at the CSI Calgary, Mike revamped his “toolbox” and is seeing results. “The things I’ve started implementing since enrolling in the ACD are making their way to the podium,” says Stastook. “Last season was the best I’ve had professionally.”
The ACD is a two-year competency-based program combining classroom study and experiential learning. The mission of the program is to develop world-class coaches who are capable of preparing athletes for podium performances in sport and life.
According to Dr. Cari Din, the ACD is designed and delivered to align with adult learning best practices, “We have translated the most current research on how the world’s best coaches learn into a dynamic learning environment, for coaches who are committed to growing.” Din is the Cohort Mentor as well as the Leadership and Coaching Effectiveness Expert in the Calgary-based ACD. She says, “Coaches in our program are tasked with applying evidence-based best practice and theory from class in their unique sport context.”
The ACD also focuses on peer enriched learning. “A lot of discussion-based learning occurs in our structured learning community – coaches share, challenge and grow from each other’s experiences and unique perspectives.” Din believes that the multi-sport nature of the program adds to the richness of coach learning, “The coaches are enlivened by the diversity of the cohort – they are exposed repeatedly to ideas and practices that are totally out of their comfort zone. We have a lively and vivid culture that promotes curiosity, connection and deep understanding, it is a privilege to be part of a learning environment that is so impactful to the learners.”
Indeed, Stastook knows that the success he’s had with his team at the WinSport Academy comes from the hard work he has put in to becoming a better coach. He credits the ACD with helping him chart a new path. “When you take an athlete, that at the beginning of the year started out ranking 172nd nationally and ended up 18th in the country, you know what you’re doing works, says Stastook. “If you feel your coaching has vastly improved since starting a program like this, how can it not benefit your athletes? And in the end that’s the reason you’re doing it.”
The Advanced Coaching Diploma is a coach driven, expert led, peer enriched and mentor supported structured learning community that has been running for more than 22 years through CSI Calgary. For more information on the program contact Jason Sjostrom at firstname.lastname@example.org
Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto