Six of Canada's most promising women coaches have been selected for the Coaching Association of Canada's Women in Coaching (WiC) National Team Coaching Apprenticeship Program (NTAP). The successful candidates are biathlon coach Jacqueline Akerman of Camrose, Alta., soccer coach Sian Bagshawe of North Vancouver, B.C., diving coach Dallas Ludwick of Winnipeg, fencing coach Lynn Séguin of Saskatoon, Sask., curling coach Melissa Soligo of Victoria, and athletics coach Brenda Van Tighem of Calgary, Alta.
Since 2001, NTAP has provided opportunities for women coaches to work with their national team programs leading up to and during major international events such as the Olympic Games, the Pan American Games, or a major international event such as a world championship that falls within the timeframe of the apprenticeship.
“These apprentice coaches are an amazing group of talented women,” says Sheilagh Croxon, the former medal-winning Olympic coach who has responsibility for NTAP. “The ultimate objective of this program is to increase the number of women coaching at the highest levels of sport, and with these young coaches who possess great talent, obvious passion, and commitment to their sport, I am confident of success.”
Carla Nicholls of Regina, Athletics Canada's National Talent Development Coach (Olympic Program), Event Group Leader (Combined Events, Jumps, Hurdles), and leader of Women in Coaching, who was selected for the 2007-2010 program, says: “I can't believe my three years in NTAP have come and gone. The experience and the doors that have been opened for me would never have become a reality without NTAP. The most unexpected outcome was the personal development and, more importantly, the invaluable support system with which I have been able to surround myself. I have been given the tools and the confidence I need to succeed in whatever I choose. The new NTAP coaches will quickly understand how amazing NTAP is. Good-bye glass ceilings.”
A former biathlete, Jacqueline Akerman was head biathlon coach at the University of Alberta, Augustana Campus in Camrose for several years and now does contract coaching with club, provincial, and national teams. “NTAP provides a valuable opportunity for female coaches to network and receive support for their growth as a coach that may not otherwise be available to them,” says Akerman. “It is allowing me more opportunities to assist in helping other young, aspiring female coaches to feel supported and valued.”
Sian Bagshawe, who had an illustrious career as a goalkeeper for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, is the team's all-time leader in goalkeeper wins and was a member of the squad that won the 2006 W-League championship. She is now a coach with the Senior and U20 Women's National Soccer Teams and develops and implements curriculum for goalkeeper development programs. “Because of NTAP, I am fully integrated into the national team's philosophy and methodology during training camps, games, and major international competitions,” says Bagshawe. “Without the program, I wouldn't have the same involvement or opportunity to learn from the very best.
Another former athlete who competed at the age group nationals, senior nationals, and Canada Games levels, Dallas Ludwick is one of eight national team coaches and has an extensive background in coach education. Now coaching at the senior level, she was Diving Plongeon Canada's Age Group Coach of the Year in 2004. “NTAP gives me access to the highest level of international competition and provides me with personal education in senior high performance development and performance,” says Ludwick. “Currently, there is only one female coach on the senior national diving team. I intend to double that number.”
Lynn Séguin, the world modern pentathlon champ and Canada's Female Athlete of the Year in 1983, won seven national championships during her 10-year competitive career. She coaches at the Saskatoon Fencing Club and the Prince Albert Northern Knights Fencing Club and coached Team Saskatchewan at the 2003 and 2007 Canada Winter Games. “NTAP is an opportunity I have wanted for a long time,” says Séguin. “It allows me to work with our national team athletes and coaches, to observe the inner workings of our high performance program, and to refine my skills as a high performance coach.”
1992 Olympic bronze medallist playing second on Julie Sutton rink, Melissa Soligo was also on the team when it won the silver medal at the 1991 world championships. She is the Curl BC provincial coach and a Canadian Curling Association national coach consultant. As head coach, she guided British Columbia's wheelchair curling team to national titles in 2007, 2008, and 2009. “I have embraced coaching to the fullest,” says Soligo. “Thanks to NTAP, I have a chance to experience places and championships I would not normally be able to access and to continue a strong alliance with one of curling's best coaches, my mentor Elaine Dagg-Jackson.”
Brenda Van Tighem competed as a sprinter at the provincial and university levels before turning her attention to coaching. She is a volunteer coach with the University of Calgary Track and Field Team and a club coach with the university's high school program. Two of her athletes — Sam Effah and Amonn Nelson — are in the sprint pool for the 2012 Olympic Games. “NTAP is assisting me in guiding Sam and Amonn and my other athletes to achieve their athletic dreams and goals,” says Van Tighem. “It is very exciting to be able to put into practice some of my coaching ideas.”
About the Coaching Association of Canada
The Coaching Association of Canada is a not-for-profit amateur sport organization with the mission of enhancing the experiences of all Canadian athletes through quality coaching. CAC and its partners deliver a leading-edge coaching system whose goal is to have an impact on 1,000,000 athletes through the training of 100,000 coaches each year in the National Coaching Certification Program. Visit coach.ca for more information about coach education and training.
About CAC's Women in Coaching program
The Women in Coaching program is a national campaign to increase the number of coaching opportunities for women at all levels of sport. Since 1987, women coaches across Canada have benefited from professional development grants, NTAP grants, and National Coaching Institute scholarships. The program also develops resources for women coaches including the Canadian Journal for Women in Coaching.
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For more information, contact:
|Sheilagh Croxon||Isabelle Cayer|
|Consultant, Women in Coaching Program||Coaching Consultant, Women in Coaching|
|Coaching Association of Canada||Coaching Association of Canada|
|647-988-7877||613-235-5000, ext. 9-2376|