Letters: Coaches week

Celebrating the work and dedication of coaches in B.C.

As someone who competed in sport for decades, I know that coaches are an integral part of the experience. In B.C., our government is recognizing the immense contributions of coaches in every athlete’s personal and professional development by proclaiming the week from Sept. 15 to 22 as B.C. Coaches Week.

Coaches are mentors for kids and adults alike. They are powerful  influences with the potential to change lives. The Coaches Association of B.C. represents some 40,000 coaches, of which 98 per cent are volunteers.

It is coaches who teach the youngest athletes the essential skills of their sports; coaches who inspire and motivate athletes of all ages; and coaches who spot excellence in an athlete and work hard to develop it. Coaches also teach ethics and fair play-critical lessons for young athletes that last a lifetime.

At the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, British Columbia’s athletes experienced great success, bringing home medals and achieving personal bests. In the process, they positively influenced younger athletes and elevated the stature of their sports. These are wonderful achievements that have made us all proud, and we need to recognize the crucial role coaches played in those successes.

Our collective goal is to ensure that every coach receives the training he or she needs to provide effective leadership. With that in mind, we will invest more than $2 million in coach development over the next year.

Since last year, more than $100,000 has been directly targeted to develop coaches in northern British Columbia in the lead-up to the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George. In addition, the Coaches Association of B.C. is offering free National Coaching Certification Programs in many locations around the province.

I call on all British Columbians to recognize the critical role played by coaches as valued contributors to the health and social development of children and youth in this province.

Bill Bennett

Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development