Ellen Grundy-Howe, SAIT Trojans
Despite a third-place finish in regular season play, the SAIT Trojans women’s volleyball team were unable to qualify for the national championship. However, Ellen Grundy-Howe has learned a lot going forward as an apprentice coach with the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association.
Grundy-Howe is one of 15 women who were given the opportunity to participate in the Female Apprentice Coach Program this season. She’s working alongside Art O’Dwyer at SAIT in Calgary, AB. O’Dwyer is a former Provincial and National Champion coach of the U18 Canuck Club girls team
“While there are mental aspects to both coaching and playing volleyball, I have found that coaching involves a lot more mental preparation. There is a lot of strategy that goes into preparing to coach, that as an athlete you don’t always recognize,” said Grundy-Howe, a former Trojan unsung hero award winner. “I have come to realize that everything a coach does leading up to a game is done for a strategic reason.”
With the success of this experience, Grundy-Howe plans on returning to coaching in the near future.
“I have learned so much from it, and it’s a great way to stay involved with something that you love. There is nothing better than to see an athlete succeed,” said Grundy-Howe.
Grundy-Howe is extremely grateful for this FACP opportunity and had some advice for females in coaching, “If you have the tiniest bit of interest in coaching you should take the opportunity to do it. Coaches have been big positive influences on my life and have helped me become the person I am today, so to have the chance to be that positive influence on a young person’s life is a great opportunity,” she said.
Katie Ball, UFV Cascades
The UFV Cascades didn’t quite have the season they were hoping for but it was a great learning experience for their Female Apprentice Coach, Katie Ball (nee Wuttunee). Ball, a former UBC-Okanagan Heat Middle has adjusted quite well in her new mentor role.
She is working alongside Mike Gilray at UFV in Abbotsford, B.C. Gilray is a former four-time national champion coach of the Blitz U-18 girls team.
Ball finds the preparation for coaching to playing to be much different, “Physical preparation is so important when you are an athlete. Whether you're preparing your food intake for the day, hydration, seeing physiotherapy before/after, sleeping well, and just generally taking care of your body,” said Ball. “Preparation for coaching is definitely more selfless. I learned that as a coach who cannot physically support the team, that this was all the more important coming from my role,” she said.
With this experience, she has come to appreciate what coaches do for their players, “It's rewarding to see growth in something you invest your time in, being apart of a team and sport environment is so fun. My biggest draw towards coaching, however, is building relationships. This is the part that keeps me coming back,” she said.
The opportunity to be a part of the FACP program has been greatly appreciated by Ball and she encourages others to pursue coaching, “No matter what experience you have had in your respective sport, you can coach with the confidence of knowing that you have something to give to others, and for me there (is no better reward),” said Ball.
Ball plans on returning to coaching, hopefully with the Cascades.