Meet Tanya Thompson, an apprenticeship coach who is part of our Canada Games Women in Coaching program for the Manitoba women's volleyball team.
After an amazing week of coaching at the Canada Games, we followed up with Tanya and here is what she had to say about the program.
1. What does it mean to you to be a part of the apprenticeship coaching program? Why is it important that this program is offered?
Being part of the apprenticeship coaching program was an amazing experience for me because it gave me an opportunity to learn from other high-level coaches. Working with other coaches, both on and off the court, is so valuable as it gives you a chance to see how they plan for practices, how they provide feedback to the athletes, and how they strategize. Alix (Team Manitoba - Women's Volleyball Head Coach) is a great role model and I am grateful for her mentorship and for her compassion, strength and knowledge of the sport.
2. Any highlights from the 2022 Canada Games?
It was an amazing experience! Of course winning gold was the biggest highlight but we made so many awesome memories - I kept a little diary of the events from the week and I still giggle when I read them. Our coaching staff created a very strong bond with each other and with the athletes. It was emotional to leave everyone but we still keep in touch.
3. What encouraged you to get into coaching? Can you share a little bit about your coaching journey?
I was fortunate to have a great high school coach who allowed me to help out with his team after I was done playing. I absolutely love the sport and just wanted to share my passion with other athletes.
I coached on and off during my 20s but really became serious once my boys were old enough to play - that is when I started coaching club and took over the Grade 7/8 program at our local school. It was at this time that I started the certification process and invested a lot of time researching how to be an effective coach. In 2021, I was asked to coach our Senior Varsity Girls' team and we won AA Provincials. We have just begun this season and I am super excited to watch my team develop!
4. Anything else you would like to share about your experience?
It wasn't until I was chosen to be part of the coaching staff with the Canada Games (back in 2019) that I started to reflect on my role as a coach. I realized that my role was more than passing on my love of the sport - it was an opportunity to be a positive influence in young women's lives. I strive to coach the whole athlete, including teaching about mental health, nutrition, sleep, and physical strength.
We are so grateful for Tanya and her handwork in sparking greatness amongst the next generation of competitors. Follow along this week on our Instagram as we celebrate all coaches making a difference in the lives of athletes.