Coaching Association of Canada

Coach Q & A: James Messenger

December 6, 2011

James Messenger has been an active promoter of physical activity in Port Alberni, B.C. for over a decade as both a teacher and a coach.

A physical education teacher at E. J. Dunn Middle School, James is also the leader of the physical education team at the school. Outside of his teaching duties, James has been volunteering with the Alberni Valley Wrestling Club since 1995, and dedicates much of his time to improving and developing the wrestling programs in his community. 

As a prominent member of Canadian wrestling, James was selected to coach the National Cadet Women in 2009 and the National Junior Men in 2010.  He is the head coach at the Alberni Valley Wrestling Club, coaches the middle school team at E. J. Dunn, and assists with the community’s high school team. Through his experiences as a volunteer coach, James has coached a number of provincial teams and has led a number of athletes to attain both national and international success.  

James was a winner of the Sport BC Community Sport Hero Award in 2009.

Coach’s Full name: James Messenger
Province: British Columbia
Sport(s): Wrestling (but I also dabble in Middle School Rugby and Hockey Academy)
Coaching role: I am a Middle School PE teacher so I have the pleasure of coaching every level from Middle School through to High School and the Provincial and National Teams
NCCP Status: Level 3, Learning Facilitator and Evaluator in Wrestling, Learning Facilitator in Fundamental Movement Skills

What is your greatest coaching moment/achievement?

One of the greatest coaching moments I have experienced recently is watching my athletes develop into great coaches themselves.  This summer I have had the pleasure of working with two of my past athletes who have recently entered the coaching ranks.  Great athletes themselves (Provincial and National Medalists) it is great to watch them inspiring and motivating young athletes they coach.  They are already great coaches and they are great for the future of our sport.  I would like to think I had a part in that and that is a pretty cool legacy.

What are three things you think every coach should know?

  1. It has got to be fun. Things are always more enjoyable when you have a smile on your face.
  2. It is not very often that we get to help develop an Olympian or Professional athlete but coaches always have an opportunity to develop athletes who will be great people and contributors to their communities.
  3. Encourage kids to be active.  It doesn’t matter what sport they are doing as long as they are doing something active and positive.  Never discourage an athlete from being involved in other sports.

Why did you decide to become a coach?

My experiences in sport and the mentorship I have received from coaches has shaped who I am today.  Sport gave me something positive to work towards, gave me confidence, and helped instill in me the value of hard work and determination.  I can’t think of a better way to make a difference in this world than helping develop good people as my coaches have done.

How would your athletes describe your coaching style in three words?

  1. Fun – As I said before things are easier to do when you have a smile on your face.
  2. Personal – I think you have got to make small adjustments to your coaching style based on the needs of each individual athlete.  As such I try to coach to each individual athletes realizing that what motivates one athlete might hinder another.
  3. Demanding – I think it was Aristotle that said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”  I have high expectations for the athlete and teams I work with.  Hard work builds character and if you set the bar high sometimes it is amazing at what results come forward.

What is the most important thing you learned as part of your NCCP training?

There are great people and coaches everywhere.  The best part of any NCCP workshop I have been a part of is the people.  I always learn from the different people in the workshops even those that I am conducting.

Why is being a coach the best job in the world?

I get to do what I love and help develop healthy habits and character in other people.

Looking to coach a specific sport?