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  • Writer's pictureRegina Ringette

Coaches Rock Ringette - RRA Focused on Supporting Coaches

Taking on the duties of head coach is a big commitment in any sport and can be more intimidating for a parent who may not know all the intricacies of a game like ringette. But Regina Ringette Association (RRA) is helping to soften the learning curve for new coaches by providing support through its Coach the Coach Program.

“There are a lot of potential coaches out there that have the ability to make a real difference for a young athlete,” explained Melanie Muckelt, RRA’s Director of Coaching. “The purpose of Coach the Coach program is to give a new coach the little nudge or a little direction and support to get them off on the right footing towards success. It’s a program that a lot of other minor sports programs use in some capacity and it’s been making a difference for our ringette coaches.”

RRA's Coach the Coach Program is focused on supporting new volunteers entering the coaching ranks.

The Coach the Coach program was first launched by John Dumaine, Mike Wiens and Melanie Muckelt and RRA in the spring of 2018.

“The first goal of the program was to develop a consistent skills package that could be delivered to our U8/U10/U12 coaches to help them develop our young players,” said Muckelt. “But we also wanted to provide consistent support for new coaches who are learning and trying to figure things out.”

Coaches in the program are assigned a Support Coach who is a more senior ringette coach in the league to act as a mentor. At the core of the program is training by way of classroom or support coach and a number of resources available to coaches including the RRA’s interactive coaches manual and a common online space where coaches can share practice plans and other resources amongst themselves.

To assist in that area, an online communication forum exists to allow coaches to better communicate with one another and address questions and common concerns throughout the season.

“The vision from the beginning with Coach the Coach program was to slowly change the culture of the league by focusing on younger player skill development,” said Mike Wiens, President of RRA. “By working with the coaches we’re able to do that. The challenges are to continue to find and develop the right coachable coaches for the Children’s Ringette/U12 divisions, attract more support coaches willing to take on this unique role and find more volunteers to help evolve the program.”

Wiens says that aside from efforts to develop practices that teach core skills to players, new coaches can find themselves overwhelmed with other off -ice functions including evaluations, drafting, kick-off meetings, tournaments and team social functions.

The program makes use of the support coaches to help take some of those stresses away.

“The key to every program is the people that support and volunteer to help out,” said Wiens. “We have been fortunate enough to have a great group of coaches willing to help out our newer coaches. It really is making a difference.”

For the second year now, a group of senior coaches held on ice instruction sessions to help coaches teach the skills of skating and ringette. A big thank you to Tara Clemett, Bruce MacLean, Tracy Phaneuf and John Dumaine for making this season’s session a success.

In the end, Muckelt says the success of the program will bring success to individual players.

“Ultimately, player skills will be enhanced when the athletes have access to consistent coaching,” she said. “The new ideas we collect and get feedback on throughout the season will continue to evolve the program but I think we can say the program is already creating some very capable coaches.”

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