Editor’s note: this article originally published on September 19, 2016. Dates have been updated.
September 23 to September 30 is National Coaches Week, seven days dedicated to celebrating the positive impact coaches have on athletes and communities across Canada. This is an opportunity to take a moment and thank the frequently unsung heroes in the lives of both us and our children. We went to our AfL Role Models and social media communities to find out about the impact of coaches. Here’s what we found out:
The swim coach of my three-year-old son has made him love the water and is helping to build his confidence by breaking down the skills and celebrating each mini-achievement. Coaches, particularly at a young age, are so important. I’m grateful that we have a coach that is sparking his interest and confidence to swim. — AfL Role Model, Jennifer Heil
My son plays baseball and he’s very competitive, but unfortunately can be a poor sport. So while his coach has taught him the technical side of the sport and he’s improved as an athlete, it’s the way that the coach has worked to make him a better team player that has had the biggest impact. — AfL Role Model, Jennifer Pinarski
All of my coaches over my swimming career had an incredible impact on the person I became today. They, of course, made me a better swimmer, but they also helped me become a better individual. Coaching is an art and we often forget that amazing performance comes from this unique art. I would like to thank all of your amazing volunteer coaches for their passion, commitment, and time. — AfL Role Model, Benoit Huot
My coach, Mathias Ahrens, was amazing through my years in the Canmore Nordic Ski Club. In my early teens we were still totally focused on having fun at ski practice, and learning technique under the joyful tutelage of this happy-go-lucky coach with extra-springy strides. Some of my friends had training plans and I was definitely very interested in that, but, thanks to Mathias, fun was prioritized through my development years and that foundation gave me a long successful career as a racer with a life-long love of cross-country skiing totally independent of my results! — AfL Role Model, Chandra Crawford
Me and my coach Pierre-Henri have been together since I raced Junior; on the track he has believed in me during the times I haven’t, and he’s been there for me off the track when I’ve gone through hard times. — AfL Role Model, Tory Nyhaug
I don’t think people can get where they are without the help from others giving their time back and getting involved. Personally, I’ve had the opportunity to have worked with and alongside so many different coaches with a wide range of ideas and styles, that I’ve been able to learn and take away a little bit of something from them all. Something they don’t ever say out loud, but I notice, is how selfless they are with their time and energy put towards coaching and giving back. That is extremely important and valued. They are giving the opportunity to grow and learn to another human being, and that is priceless. — AfL Role Model, Mandy Marchak
Our son has an amazing coach for his Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Isaac Hashman understands him as an athlete and as a person. He is so awesome with all his students. He is a talented purple belt with a true gift for teaching and coaching. Every class everyone feels like it was their class. — AfL Facebook community, Shanyn Silinski
My son’s football coach, Steve Charles, is phenomenal. Not only does he encourage the kids in their sport, but encourages them to maintain good grades and do well in school and the community. If kids haven’t eaten before a game … he feeds them. If they need rides … he drives them. Some game days his vehicle looks like a circus car with five kids piling out of it. Without this man, a lot of kids wouldn’t even have the means or opportunity to play the game. Huge kudos to him. — AfL Facebook community, Crystal Wade
If you’d like to join in expressing your gratitude for the coaches in your life, use #CoachesWeek and #ThanksCoach on your social media channels to send your messages all this week.
Thank you to all you coaches out there for everything you give to kids and athletes every day.