Thursday August 9th 2023

With the final tournament that I coached ending in Halifax at the North American Indigenous Games, I was able to take a break from all of the turmoil that’s going on in my life and just focus on wrestling during the games. Naturally, this led to some reflection as I’ve started to think about the upcoming season and the preparation involved. Recently, I’ve started to think about what my legacy will be and what the future of wrestling will look like when I leave. This introspection has been fuelled partially by what’s been going on outside of wrestling as we’ll as the fact of just how long I’ve been involved in the sport as a coach. I got to see a glimpse of this during the NAIG as well as one of the Dual-Meets this season.

Young coach at a brand new program, the perfect mix!

To be able to see what the next generation of coaches would look like is a privilege and one that I can only imagine what my coaches must have felt when I moved on from an athlete to full fledged coach. I’ve recounted my experience at the NAIG, and how I was humbled to be entrusted to guide the next set of coaches for Eastern Door and the North. However, I also saw this during one of my school’s dual meets from the GMAA season. Held at Beurling Academy, five schools were present, making it one of the larger dual-meets for the season. For my school, my apprentice coach was present, along with the apprentice coach for Beurling and the assistant coach for Selwyn House. The coach for Royalvale was present, making it three coaches under the age of thirty five.

Why this is significant is that for the longest time, we’ve pretty much had the same coaches in the province of Quebec. While stability is good, an infusion of young blood has long been needed. This however this is easier said than done. The ability to attract new coaches has always been a challenge for many years. Truth be told, it’s not an attractive option, particularly at the higher levels. When you’re younger, it’s not that hard to become involved in coaching as the transition isn’t that hard given that you have less commitments. However, as you get older, responsibilities start to pile on and it becomes increasingly harder to commit your time to sports. Furthermore, it’s so much harder to become a career coach in this country given the lack of support and opportunities.

Coaching with the next generation of coaches at the NAIG

Therefore, it’s not surprising to see that recruiting new coaches has become difficult over the years. Even as an experienced coach, I sometimes question why I’m even doing this. It actually costs me more money than anything and it’s only the love of the sport is what keeps me here. But for some, I can see why this would be a hard sell.

I’ve seen many new coaches come and go throughout the many years. Some were in it for the right reasons, and some weren’t. Some were very good coaches, and some left a bit to be desired. Some were older coaches and some were younger. The only thing that they had in common was that they didn’t stick around for that long.

So, when looking back at these next generation of coaches that I saw during the games and the dual-meet, many things went through my mind. How many of them will stick around before life hands them responsibilities that causes coaching to become secondary? How many of them will lose interest due to the obstacles they may face? And finally, will any of them move onto higher levels of coaching?

The future looks promising

My initial gut feeling would have to be yes. Some of these athletes are almost already full time coaches already as I watch them mentor younger athletes during practice. Some of them have that enthusiasm that can be seen at the beginning of coaching career that can be seen from coaches in the years to come, albeit more tempered. However, I can’t predict the future so who knows what’s going to happen going forward.

In the end, I think that the message is clear. We need new coaches but we need qualified people as well. We need people who are going to be in it for the right reasons and we need support. For my part, I can only continue to do what I’m doing because ultimately, I can only control what I do, and do it to the best of my abilities. I guess for the next generation of coaches, that’s all that we can expect.