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Focus on the coach: Study - Metro US

Focus on the coach: Study

When the Vancouver Olympics kick off in 2010, all eyes will be on Canadian athletes. But more attention needs to be paid to their coaches, a new study released in Ottawa yesterday stated.

“Coaches do more than help athletes,” Minister of State (Sport) Gary Lunn said at a Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) conference yesterday. “They inspire.”

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Alex Baumann said his coach had an impact on him professionally and personally.

“He always stressed the need to strive for excellence,” he said. “He was a tremendous influence on my life.”

Unreasonable workload, lack of job security and retention are just some of the working conditions for Canada’s coaches to high-performance athletes, a CAC study on the Status of Coaches in Canada stated.

And those conditions are less than ideal given the significant time commitment and the heavy workload required, the study said.

Based on a study of 819 coaches, the report states that more and more athletes are devoting themselves to their sport full time, said CAC CEO John Bales.

The report also states that 75 per cent of coaches have undergraduate or graduates degrees, and that 80 per cent are certified to high levels.

Yet 15 per cent of coaches are volunteer coaches, and 53 per cent of coaches are making less than $20,000 a year. There is also a shortage of coaches for high-performance athletes in the country, Lunn said.

“This new study will help us to identify areas where we can work together with Canadian coaches to help our athletes excel from the playground to the podium,” said Lunn. “Our government will continue to work with our partners to ensure our athletes have the resources and support they need to succeed.”

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