Why not in Northern Ontario?
As someone who had attended coaching and professional development symposiums throughout North America and beyond, long-time North Bay resident Glenn Cundari pondered that very question.
"I wanted to bring some of my work home, and find ways to support coaches and clubs and associations in the local community, the group I had been involved with for decades," noted the owner/lead coach developer of Coach+.
And so began the brainchild that would become the Northern Ontario Coaching Summit, a two-day series of workshops being hosted at Canadore College on November 23rd and 24th (2019).
Though more will definitely be added to the agenda, the current keynote speakers lineup at the event includes:
Dr Stephen Norris: Long-Term Athlete Development and Performance expert from Calgary - chair of the Board of Directors of Alberta SportConnection - works professionally with Swim Alberta, the PGA of America, Hockey Canada and others
Danielle Sauvageau: head coach of Canadian women's hockey gold medal winning team in Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics - 28 years of service to RCMP and Montreal police department - spokesperson for Coaching Association of Canada for 2010 Winter Olympics bid in Vancouver - was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2013
Matt Allen: co-chair of You Can Play Canada-East and national leader in diversity and inclusion in sport in Canada - assistant coach with USA men's national softball team and head coach of Laurier Hawks women's university softball team - Chief Innovation Officer with the Professional Golfers' Association of Canada
Yet for as much as can be gleaned from this impressive group of speakers, Cundari is adament that the benefits of the Summit reach far beyond the content the 13 sessions sill provide. "As a person who attends a lot of conferences, either for my own development or as a speaker, I can say with certainty that a lot of the development I've had in my role has come through relationships that I've developed at these types of events," he said.
"One of the things I would like to support is the building of a coaching community. The idea that coaches from different contexts, different sports, different genders can learn from others in a hybrid opportunity simply makes sense."
While the list of potential topics that can prove helpful to a whole variety of coaches is nearly endless, Cundari acknowledged that the weekend roster is dotted with areas of personal interest, key issues that have been around for years and years, as well as relative newcomers to the challenge that is coaching in the new millenium.
"It certainly is partly a matter of speaker availability, but there are some things that I know coaches are super interested in, things like long-term athlete development," he said. "Coaching is much different now than it was 20 to 30 years ago."
"Things like diversity and inclusion, things like ethical coaching, those kinds of things were really not even on the radar as recently as twenty years ago. We have to be very responsive to topics that are timely, and also speak to the more traditional side of coaching in sports."
And though it might be easy for most community coaches to discount the Summit as an initiative targetted only for those at an elite level, provincial caliber and above, for instance, Cundari suggested that nothing could be further from the truth.
"The fact is that national coaches, OHL coaches and such actually already have access to the resources they need," he stated. "They can pick up the phone and call the top sports psychologists and get the best information."
"If you are a coach of the peewee "A" hockey team and you have an athlete who gets really nervous before every game, you might just go to Google and type in, "how to deal with nervous athletes"," Cundari added.
"This conference is as relevant to recreational coaches as it is to those coaching in the performance context. A lot of the way that we are planning to deliver this Summit is focused around furthering your coaching network, while being exposed to the best information out there."
For further information, visit the Northern Ontario Coaching Summit website at "https://improveyourcoaching.ca/summit/", or email Glenn Cundari directly at "firstname.lastname@example.org".