In recognition of the first-ever National Coaches Week Sept. 19-27, the BC Games Society included three Surrey residents in a list of outstanding coaches who have been members of Team BC at multisport events such as the Canada Games and BC Games.
“An initiative of the Coaches Association of Canada and the provincial and territorial coaching organizations, (National Coaches Week) celebrates the tremendous positive impact coaches have on athletes and communities across Canada,” said a Team BC press release.
* Paul Tardi became a coach almost a decade ago when his two sons took up the sport at the Langley Curling Club, and Paul agreed to be an on-ice volunteer.
“As a former player I knew how to play the game, I just did not know how to coach,” he said. “I started taking coaching courses in 2008 and realized how much I did not know and I am still learning how to be a better coach every season.”
Certified at Level 3 in the National Coaching Certfication Program last year, Tardi has coached at the 2012 and 2014 BC Winter Games, as well as the 2015 Canada Winter Games. Each time, he guided his team to the medal podium, including the BC Games gold medal in 2012 in Vernon with sons Tyler and Jordan on the Fraser Valley team.
But winning isn’t the only goal when coaching. Enjoying the game is just as important, Tardi insists.
“I think one of the most important things about coaching kids in sport is that they have to enjoy the sport they are playing before you start trying to improve their skills,” he said. “Regardless of how talented your players are, if they don’t enjoy playing the sport, they will not stay in the sport for very long.
“If you can build player skill while having fun then you really have something special.”
* Kyra Iannone began coaching at the age of 13, and now has Level 3 certification. She has attended several multi-sport Games, including the 2006 and 2008 BC Summer Games, the 2011 and 2015 Western Canada Summer Games and the 2009 and 2013 Canada Summer Games.
“It is more exciting because it is such a team event, you are part of something bigger,” said Iannone of attending multi-sport events. “The other aspect of a multi-sport Games are the mission staff, they are amazing. You feel so very taken care of and part of a big amazing support system for the athletes.”
Winning the gold medal in beach volleyball at the 2013 Canada Summer Games with Ben Chow of Surrey and Dan Caverly was a coaching highlight for Iannone.
“It was something that was so very special. We took two defenders and put them out of their comfort zone,” said said. “There was so much trust between the three of us. They trusted me to make all of these tactical, strategic and technical changes that they really weren’t comfortable with and I trusted them as committed athletes to achieve our goals.”
* Deborah Carter has been coaching in the Special Olympics program for almost 30 years, focusing on athletics for the past 21.
“I was introduced to Special Olympics right out of high school,” she said. “Surrey Special Olympics was still very young when, in 1986, I attended my first practice for athletics. I was hooked and registered on the spot.”
She coached several sports until 1994, when she made the decision to concentrate on athletics.
“I knew athletics was my passion and to get the results I so wanted to achieve I would need to focus on one sport,” she said. “ I wanted the technical knowledge to do the best job I could, took my certifications, attended various seminars and clinics, and attended games at the regional, provincial, national and international level. “
Over her long career in coaching, Carter has been to four BC Summer Games, two National Special Olympics Games, a Western Canada Summer Games, and the 1994 International Special Olympics Games.
But being part of Team Canada at the Worlds LA2015 in Los Angeles is her personal favorite.
“Team Canada LA2015 was simply magical and life changing. I saw athletes helping athletes. I saw the public realizing that first impressions aren’t always the final impression,” recalled Carter.
“I saw the world change for a brief moment and see what a person can’t do must not interfere with what they can do.
“It was a celebration of life, of unity and of inclusion.”