High performance coaches have a few things in common. In addition to their drive to succeed and passion for sport, they usually have a well-used passport and lots of travel stories. The opportunity to see the world is just one appeal to a rewarding career in coaching. As an up and coming coach, Rideau’s Cheyanne Farquharson has spent two months of the cold Canadian winter in New Zealand for professional development. Cheyanne was recently awarded Female Coach of the Year at the Ottawa Sports Awards.
by Cheyanne Farquharson
When Mike Robinson first approached me with the idea of going to New Zealand to gain another summer’s worth of coaching experience over the winter, I was fairly skeptical that it would actually happen. Now I have been here helping out at the Poverty Bay Kayak Club for 2 months. So far, I’ve had the opportunity to learn how to surf, feed stingrays by hand, and meet some incredible people.
I’ve been coaching in Gisborne, mostly handling the summer kids program and the development group. I’ve had the opportunity to work with 1984 Olympians, Liz and Alan Thompson. It’s been cool to get a new perspective on how to teach people how to paddle, how to recruit and retain members, and how to manage and run a club. It was very exciting to see PBKC win National Championships earlier this month.
They face different challenges here, such as a highly tidal river, a smaller population to draw on and having the summer program span both Christmas and New Year’s. That’s prime family vacation time for most and kids move up an age group between the early regattas and Nationals. With the seasons flipped, World Competitions take place during New Zealand’s winter. On the other hand, living where the water never freezes means they can paddle year round. It was interesting to learn about how the seasonal and weekly training plans are structured differently.
I’ve also had the opportunity to work with Andras Szabo, the high performance coach here at PBKC and one of the national team coaches for NZ. He has a unique perspective, having coached both in Hungary and New Zealand, and I was lucky enough to do some practices with him. I’ve learned a lot in my time here about technique and management and different coaching styles. The thing that I have realized the most, however, is how much more there is to learn. I am excited to keep coaching so that I can keep expanding my knowledge of paddling and sport.