Advanced Coaching Diploma Delivers Quality Learning

Everyone knows that athletes work hard to improve, to achieve their goals, to win – it’s what they do and it’s why they are great. A lesser-known but equally driven cohort doing the same thing are athletes’ coaches. Quality coaches do not stand idly by while their athletes move forward - they travel alongside them, pursuing excellence in their own craft: the art and science of sport coaching. The world’s best learn from reflecting on their experiences, their athletes, peers and learning from sport scientists.

Mike Stastook, Head Coach of the WinSport Academy Slopestyle and Big Air team, is one of these coaches who has enjoyed the successes of his athletes over the years, but made a decision to further challenge himself and find ways to make his coaching even more effective. Enrolling in the Advanced Coaching Diploma (ACD) offered at the CSI Calgary, Mike revamped his ”toolbox” and is seeing results. “The things I’ve started implementing since enrolling in the ACD are making their way to the podium,” says Stastook. “Last season was the best I’ve had professionally.”

The ACD is a two-year competency-based program combining classroom study and experiential learning. The mission of the program is to develop world-class coaches who are capable of preparing athletes for podium performances in sport and life.

According to Dr. Cari Din, the ACD is designed and delivered to align with adult learning best practices, “We have translated the most current research on how the world’s best coaches learn into a dynamic learning environment for coaches who are committed to growing.” Din is the Cohort Mentor as well as the Leadership and Coaching Effectiveness Expert in the Calgary-based ACD. She says, “Coaches in our program are tasked with applying evidence-based best practice and theory from class in their unique sport context.”

The ACD also focuses on peer enriched learning. “A lot of discussion-based learning occurs in our structured learning community - coaches share, challenge and grow from each other’s experiences and unique perspectives.” Din believes that the multi-sport nature of the program adds to the richness of coach learning, “The coaches are enlivened by the diversity of the cohort – they are exposed repeatedly to ideas and practices that are totally out of their comfort zone. We have a lively and vivid culture that promotes curiosity, connection and deep understanding, it is a privilege to be part of a learning environment that is so impactful to the learners.”

Indeed, Stastook knows that the success he’s had with his team at the WinSport Academy comes from the hard work he has put in to becoming a better coach. He credits the ACD with helping him chart a new path. “When you take an athlete, that at the beginning of the year started out ranking 172nd nationally and ended up 18th in the country, you know what you’re doing works, says Stastook. “If you feel your coaching has vastly improved since starting a program like this, how can it not benefit your athletes? And in the end that’s the reason you’re doing it.”

The Advanced Coaching Diploma is a coach driven, expert led, peer enriched and mentor supported structured learning community that has been running for more than 22 years through CSI Calgary. For more information on the program contact Jason Sjostrom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Calgary 2026?

By Ken Read

Each winter the Calgary region hosts up to seven annual World Cup events. Another four winter sports stage World Championship or quadrennial World Cups. Alberta is home to eight of the twelve winter National Sport Organizations. Canadian Sport Institute Calgary has matured into the largest of Canada’s seven Sport Institutes.

In 1981, when a fairly obscure western Canadian city called Calgary won the right to host the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, none of this existed.

So much has changed on the sport landscape in 35 years. But to really understand the legacy of 1988, you need to think back to what it was like to be in sport prior to 1981.

There was no Saddledome, no Olympic Oval. The Canmore Nordic Centre and Nakiska did not exist. Canada Olympic Park was everyone’s favourite city ski hill called Paskapoo. The administration of most winter sports operated out of Ottawa, under the watchful eye of Sport Canada. Calgary hosted the Brier and Skate Canada and had held the first-ever World Cup downhill at Lake Louise. The Flames were new in town, housed in the 6,500 seat Corral.

There certainly was a thriving winter sport community. International calibre Olympic talent had emerged from local clubs and programs in alpine ski racing, figure skating, speed skating and hockey. Local boosters wanted to run events to showcase Calgary, Alberta and the Canadian Rockies, to give home-grown athletes as well as other Canadian Olympic prospects and talent in emerging sports like freestyle and short track speed skating a chance to compete at home, to inspire local kids. But we lacked facilities and international experience.

So when Frank King galvanized a renewed Olympic bid from the Calgary Booster Club in 1979, he found a highly receptive audience and community.

I’m reflecting back to these early days of the 1988 Olympic bid, because it is so important to contrast what we take for granted today with what existed 35 years ago. No annual World Cups. No National Teams based in the province. Rare international events. No facilities.

It was an enormous amount of sweat equity, ingenuity and investment that revolutionized sport in Canada. We all know how successful the 1988 Games were. But the real success story started through the preparation and development as Calgary ramped up for ’88.

To prepare for the Games host cities are required to stage “pre-Olympic” events in all sports. A common-sense plan to test venues, give athletes a chance to train on Olympic sites, test logistics that range from transportation to security to pageantry, to train volunteers and work with partners that would include media, sponsors and funding agencies. The investment in people – volunteers and officials – delivered the capacity and know-how to organize annual World Cup events.Result: alpine skiing, bobsleigh, luge, skeleton and speed skating now are regular stops on the international calendar, with hockey, cross country skiing, biathlon, figure skating and curling hosting major events.

Successful annual events were bolstered by a will to build training environments. National Training Centres emerged as funding became available, with National Teams centralizing their year-round programs close to these venues.Result: National Training Centres are now established at Nakiska (alpine), Canmore (biathlon & cross country), the University of Calgary (speed skating), Canada Olympic Park (nordic combined and ski jumping; sliding track for bobsleigh, skeleton & luge).

With National Teams centralized in Alberta, it followed that once Sport Canada allowed the National Sport Organizations to move their head offices to logical locations (rather than Ottawa), the administration of each sport followed the athletes.Result: Calgary and Canmore are now home to Hockey Canada, Alpine Canada, Luge Canada, Bobsleigh/Skeleton Canada, Ski Jump Canada, Nordic Combined Canada, Cross Country Canada and Biathlon Canada.

As Canada established a network of Canadian Sport Centres across the country to support our athletes, with most winter sports housed in the Calgary region, it was a natural evolution that CSI-Calgary became the primary provider to winter sports. Sport Centres are the employer of the support teams that surround athletes including exercise physiologists, strength and conditioning coaches, biomechanics, dieticians, mental performance consultants, anthropometrists, biochemistry lab technicians, physicians, physiotherapists, athletic therapists, chiropractors and massage therapists.

Working with funding partners at the federal, provincial and municipal level, WinSport Canada established the Athlete Centre within Canada Olympic Park that is now one of the leading facilities for athlete training in the world.Result: CSI-Calgary has evolved to become Canada’s largest Sport Institute, now employing more than 75 professionals and working with 345 current and future Olympians/Paralympians and Pan-Am/Parapan athletes and hundreds of coaches, technicians, officials and volunteers working with sport organizations.

The steadily expanding sport expertise and availability of venues has easily accommodated the addition of new and emerging sports that were added to the Olympic program post-1988. First to be included were skeleton and freestyle (moguls and aerials), followed by snowboard (cross, alpine and half-pipe) and ski cross, then expanding to slopestyle and now big air.Result: skeleton, freestyle, snowboard, ski cross programs and events were merged into the Calgary and region sporting mix on venues that are arguably best in the world.

The circle of sport influence driven by the legacy of ’88 and the critical mass of sport expertise has continued to bring even more projects with a core sport focus to bolster the sector.Result: Canada’s Sport’s Hall of Fame, the winter offices of Own the Podium and National Sport School; complementing sport are the Human Performance Lab at the University of Calgary and Sport & Wellness Engineering Technologies (SAIT). Expertise along with bricks and mortar have gravitated to Calgary as a centre of sport excellence.

The human factor has enormous impact. From those who are passing through, to many who came and put down roots, Calgary and area have been transformed. Many recognizable names within the sport community have come from other countries and parts of Canada. They have brought professional credentials and sporting pedigrees. Their children have joined our clubs. Their leadership and expertise populate sport boards, event committees and administration of local, provincial and national organizations.Result: Hundreds of international athletes come to Canada each year for training and competition. Canadians from across the country centralize to Calgary each year for their National Team programs. Many have elected to stay. Hundreds of sport professionals who lead and support our sport programs have been recruited from around the world and now call Canada home.

Just imagine if you can, almost none of this existed in 1981.

The business of international sport is no different than any other business sector. To remain competitive, relevant and to thrive, infrastructure needs to be maintained. Excellence is fluid, with the bar constantly raised. The medium that presents sport to the world is in flux with the expectations of digital delivery and efficient broadcast servicing a requirement for all sporting events from the World Cup level and up. We have an enormous sport business now resident in the region, so a review of existing and potential facilities and the infrastructure necessary to keep our competitive edge is a prudent business decision.

It hasn’t all been sweetness and light through this journey. Mistakes have been made, but an Olympic bid is a once in a generation chance to learn, adapt and improve in the same way Calgary learned from the Montreal experience and Vancouver learned from Calgary. But on balance, without doubt, the 1988 Games have been good for the city and region, province and country and an enormous lift for Canadian sport. Even a review to evaluate a potential bid is a chance to refresh, reinvigorate, renew, redress and rebuild.

This bid is for an event 10 years from today. At the core, the focus of the feasibility study should be on where we, as a community and country, would like to see this thriving sector evolve to by 2050 and beyond. To inspire youngsters, lift the next generation of champions, transfer knowledge to new leaders and officials. At a time where diversification is high on the list of urgent needs for our economy, sport and the related sectors of tourism and communications can figure prominently.

When the IOC announced “Calgary!” in October, 1981, none of us truly imagined the possibilities. What a journey. As we now look forward, what opportunity awaits us.....

More from Ken Read’s blog: White Circus – Weiß Zirkus – Cirque Blanc

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Les Jeux olympiques de 2026 à Calgary?

Par Ken Read

Chaque hiver, la région de Calgary accueille jusqu’à sept événements annuels de la coupe du monde. Quatre autres sports d’hiver organisent des championnats du monde ou des coupes du monde quadriennales. L’Alberta accueille huit des douze organismes nationaux de sports d’hiver. L’Institut canadien du sport de Calgary est devenu le plus grand des sept instituts du sport du Canada.

En 1981, quand une ville de l’Ouest canadien assez méconnue appelée Calgary a remporté le droit d’accueillir les Jeux olympiques d’hiver de 1988, il n’y avait rien de tout cela.

Tant de choses ont changé dans le monde du sport en 35 ans. Mais pour vraiment comprendre l’héritage des Jeux de 1988, il faut imaginer à quoi ressemblait le sport avant 1981.

Il n’y avait pas de stade Saddledome, ni de patinoire Olympic Oval. Le Canmore Nordic Centre et Nakiska n’existaient pas. Le Parc olympique du Canada était la piste de ski préférée de tous, appelée Paskapoo. La plupart des sports d’hiver étaient administrés à Ottawa, sous l’œil attentif de Sport Canada. Calgary accueillait le Brier et Patinage Canada; la toute première descente de la coupe du monde avait eu lieu à la station de ski de Lac Louise. Les Flames venaient d’arriver en ville, jouant dans le stade Corral de 6 500 places.

Il y avait assurément une communauté du sport d’hiver grandissante. Des talents olympiques de calibre mondial ont émergé des clubs et programmes locaux en ski alpin, patinage artistique, patinage de vitesse et hockey. Des partisans locaux voulaient organiser des événements pour mettre en valeur Calgary, l’Alberta et les Rocheuses canadiennes afin de donner aux athlètes locaux ainsi qu’aux autres Canadiens des perspectives olympiques et aux talents dans des sports émergents comme le ski acrobatique et le patinage de vitesse sur courte piste une chance de participer à des compétitions à domicile en vue d’inspirer les enfants locaux. Mais nous manquions d’installations et d’expérience internationale.

Alors quand Frank King a soumis une candidature renouvelée pour les Jeux olympiques du Calgary Booster Club en 1979, il a trouvé un public et une communauté très réceptifs.

Je repense au début de l’époque de la candidature pour les Jeux olympiques de 1988 parce qu’il est très important de comparer ce que nous tenons pour acquis aujourd’hui avec ce qui existait il y a 35 ans. Aucune coupe du monde annuelle. Aucune équipe nationale basée dans la province. De rares événements internationaux. Aucune installation.

Le sport au Canada a été révolutionné grâce à une quantité énorme d’efforts, d’ingéniosité et d’investissement. Nous savons tous à quel point les Jeux de 1988 ont été un succès. Mais la véritable réussite a débuté avec la préparation et le développement alors que Calgary redoublait d’efforts pour les Jeux de 1988.

Pour préparer les Jeux, les villes hôtes doivent organiser des événements avant les Jeux olympiques pour tous les sports. Il s’agit d’un plan logique pour essayer les sites, donner aux athlètes une chance de s’entraîner dans les sites olympiques, mettre à l’essai la logistique qui va du transport à la sécurité en passant par la cérémonie, former les bénévoles et collaborer avec les partenaires qui comprendraient les médias, les commanditaires et les agences de financement. L’investissement en personnel (bénévoles et officiels) a fourni la capacité et le savoir-faire nécessaires pour organiser des événements de coupe du monde annuels. Résultat : le ski alpin, le bobsleigh, la luge, le skeleton et le patinage de vitesse sont désormais des événements réguliers dans le calendrier international; le hockey, le ski de fond, le biathlon, le patinage artistique et le curling sont des événements majeurs.

Des événements annuels réussis ont été soutenus par une volonté de développer des environnements d’entraînement. Des centres d’entraînement nationaux ont émergé à mesure que des fonds devenaient disponibles, avec des équipes nationales centralisant leurs programmes annuels à proximité de ces sites. Résultat : des centres d’entraînement nationaux sont maintenant établis à Nakiska (ski alpin), à Canmore (biathlon et ski de fond), à l’Université de Calgary (patinage de vitesse), au Parc olympique du Canada de Calgary (combiné nordique et saut à ski; piste de glisse pour le bobsleigh, le skeleton et la luge).

Comme les équipes nationales ont été centralisées en Alberta, une fois que Sport Canada a autorisé les organismes nationaux de sport à déplacer leurs sièges sociaux à des endroits logiques (plutôt qu’à Ottawa), l’administration de chaque sport a suivi les athlètes. Résultat : Calgary et Canmore accueillent maintenant Hockey Canada, Canada alpin, Luge Canada, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, Saut à ski Canada, Combiné nordique Canada, Ski de fond Canada et Biathlon Canada.

Comme le Canada a établi un réseau de centres canadiens multisports partout au pays pour soutenir nos athlètes, avec la plupart des sports d’hiver accueillis dans la région de Calgary, l’ICS Calgary est naturellement devenu le principal fournisseur des sports d’hiver. Les centres multisports emploient les équipes de soutien qui entourent les athlètes, incluant les physiologistes de l’exercice, les préparateurs physiques, les analystes en biomécanique, les diététistes, les conseillers en performance mentale, les spécialistes de l’anthropométrie, les techniciens de laboratoire en biochimie, les médecins, les physiothérapeutes, les thérapeutes sportifs, les chiropraticiens et les massothérapeutes.

En collaboration avec des partenaires de financement aux niveaux fédéral, provincial et municipal, WinSport Canada a établi le Athlete Centre au sein du Parc olympique du Canada qui constitue désormais la principale installation pour l’entraînement des athlètes dans le monde. Résultat : l’ICS Calgary a évolué pour devenir le plus grand institut du sport du Canada, employant désormais plus de 75 professionnels et travaillant avec 345 actuels et futurs athlètes olympiques / paralympiques et panaméricains / parapanaméricains ainsi que des centaines d’entraîneurs, techniciens, officiels et bénévoles collaborant avec des organismes sportifs.

L’expertise dans le domaine du sport et la disponibilité des sites en progression constante ont aisément permis l’ajout de sports nouveaux et émergents au programme olympique après 1988. Les premiers à avoir été inclus sont le skeleton et le ski acrobatique (bosses et sauts), suivis par la planche à neige (planche à neige cross, descente et demi-lune) et le ski cross, puis la descente acrobatique en ski et aujourd’hui le grand saut. Résultat : les programmes et événements de skeleton, ski acrobatique, planche à neige et ski cross ont été intégrés à l’éventail de sports de Calgary et de la région sur des sites qui sont sans doute les meilleurs au monde.

L’influence du sport dictée par l’héritage des Jeux de 1988 et la masse critique d’expertise dans le domaine du sport ont continué de favoriser encore plus de projets accordant une place centrale au sport afin de soutenir le secteur. Résultat : le Panthéon des sports canadiens, les bureaux d’hiver d’À nous le podium et de la National Sport School; le laboratoire de performances humaines à l’Université de Calgary et le groupe de recherche sur les technologies du sport et du bien-être (SAIT). L’expertise ainsi que les infrastructures briques et mortier ont migré à Calgary en tant que centre de l’excellence sportive.

Le facteur humain a un énorme impact. Certains sont de passage et de nombreux autres s’installent, transformant ainsi la ville de Calgary et la région. Beaucoup de noms reconnaissables au sein de la communauté sportive viennent d’autres pays et régions du Canada. Ils ont apporté des qualifications professionnelles et des antécédents sportifs. Leurs enfants ont rejoint nos clubs. Leur leadership et leur expertise peuplent les conseils sportifs, les comités d’événements et l’administration d’organismes locaux, provinciaux et nationaux. Résultat : des centaines d’athlètes internationaux viennent au Canada chaque année pour s’entraîner et compétitionner. Les Canadiens de partout au pays se concentrent à Calgary chaque année pour les programmes de leurs équipes nationales. Un grand nombre d’entre eux ont décidé de rester. Des centaines de professionnels du sport qui dirigent et soutiennent nos programmes sportifs ont été recrutés partout dans le monde et ont élu domicile au Canada.

Essayez d’imaginer : presque rien de tout cela n’existait en 1981.

Le secteur du sport international ne diffère d’aucun autre secteur d’affaires. Pour rester compétitif et pertinent, et pour prospérer, les infrastructures doivent être entretenues. L’excellence fluctue et la barre est placée toujours plus haut. Le média qui présente le sport au monde évolue avec les attentes d’une communication numérique et l’exigence d’une diffusion efficace pour tous les événements sportifs à partir du niveau d’une coupe du monde. L’important secteur du sport est maintenant installé dans la région, alors passer en revue les installations existantes et potentielles ainsi que l’infrastructure nécessaire pour conserver notre avantage concurrentiel constitue une décision d’affaires prudente.

Cette évolution ne s’est pas faite sans difficulté. Des erreurs ont été faites, mais une candidature pour les Jeux olympiques est une occasion d’apprendre, de s’adapter et de s’améliorer qui n’arrive qu’une fois par génération, de la même façon que Calgary a appris de l’expérience de Montréal et que Vancouver a appris de l’expérience de Calgary. Dans l’ensemble, les Jeux de 1988 ont été sans aucun doute bénéfiques à la ville, à la région, à la province et au pays; ils ont donné un essor important au sport canadien. Rien qu’un examen pour évaluer une candidature potentielle pour les Jeux olympiques constitue une occasion d’actualiser, de revigorer, de renouveler, de redresser et de réorganiser.

Cette candidature concerne un événement qui aura lieu dans 10 ans. À la base, la priorité de l’étude de faisabilité doit porter sur la façon dont nous, en tant que communauté et pays, aimerions voir ce secteur florissant évoluer d’ici 2050 et au-delà. Pour inspirer les jeunes, soulever la prochaine génération de champions, transmettre les connaissances aux nouveaux dirigeants et officiels. À une époque où la diversification est en tête de liste des besoins urgents pour notre économie, le sport et les secteurs liés du tourisme et de la communication peuvent occuper une place de choix.

Quand le CIO a annoncé « Calgary! » en octobre 1981, aucun de nous n’imaginait vraiment les possibilités. Que de chemin parcouru. Alors que nous allons de l’avant, quelles possibilités nous attendent?

Découvrez d’autres articles sur le blogue de Ken Read : White Circus – Weiß Zirkus – Cirque Blanc

Institut canadien du sport de Calgary : @csicalgary
Photo de Dave Holland: @CSICalgaryPhoto

Onwards and Upwards with the Smith School of Business

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Combine education with the qualities gained in high-performance sport and the result is no doubt a profound capacity to achieve great success in life, and even change the world.

Facilitating the acquisition of a world-class education is an eight-year partnership established in 2015 between the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.

The program is offered through Game Plan, powered by Deloitte, Canada’s total athlete wellness program, where eligible athletes (Olympians, Paralympians and National Team Athletes) can apply for scholarships to pursue a number of programs at Smith, including an MBA. Several CSI Calgary athletes have earned full ride scholarships at Smith through the program, like Nathaniel Miller (water polo) and Jessica Zelinka (athletics).

Elspeth Murray, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of MBA and Masters Programs at the Smith School of Business, says the partnership provides a great opportunity for the COC and Smith to add value to each other’s organizations.

“Both the COC and Smith share a high-performance coaching culture,” she explains. “Each partner brings a unique and highly successful approach to coaching to the partnership, sharing best practices through workshops and networking.”

Long Track speed skater Lauren McGuire is transitioning out of a lifetime in high-performance sport and is one of the latest CSI Calgary athletes to be awarded a scholarship at the Smith School of Business via the Game Plan program, along with ski jumper Eric Mitchell, who won a scholarship to the Accelerated MBA program.

After two frustrating years of dealing with a herniated disc in her back, McGuire realized she needed to explore her options outside of sport. She learned about the Game Plan scholarships at Smith through CSI Calgary and her curiosity was piqued.

McGuire, who has an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences and Italian from the University of Calgary, will begin the one-year MBA program in January.

Although she had never really considered pursuing an MBA – she initially wanted to pursue either medicine or dentistry – it was an experience working as a national team mentor for girls aged 8-15 in winter sport through the Girls Only Athletic Leadership program at WinSport that made her realize she was passionate about mentorship and helping others achieve their potential.

“It was super empowering to help these girls pursue sport, whether they were athletic or not,” affirms McGuire. She says the experience changed the direction she wanted to take. “I realized I wasn’t going to get this feeling doing surgery in people’s mouths,” she laughs.

McGuire credits her commitment to taking full advantage of the life skills workshops available to CSI Calgary athletes (like public speaking and self-marketing) with building her skillset with skills that programs like the MBA at Smith are looking for. “A small investment of time over the years accumulated to a very strong resumé,” says McGuire. “They were looking for people with my skills and everything lined up.”

Murray says that high-level athletes possess many of the characteristics that Smith looks for in students. “They have skills in leadership, determination, collaboration, resilience,” she says. “We also know that these athletes will thrive in our team-based approach to learning. They “get” how to contribute to a high-performance team and have and will continue to be an asset to all our programs.”

McGuire is most interested in the field of organizational development and enhancing team environments in business and human resources. She says is looking forward to working with like-minded students in the MBA program. “I’m thrilled and grateful to have the opportunity to step from one great team to another great team,” she says.

As part of the eight-year strategic partnership, up to 1,200 Game Plan athletes are eligible for scholarships across 11 different programs. In the two years since the partnership was announced, 11 Canadian athletes have joined the Smith alumni family. Another 49 are currently enrolled in graduate programs.

Scholarships cover all program fees associated with the full-time Queen’s MBA program, Accelerated MBA, Executive MBA, Executive MBA Americas, Master of Management Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Master of Finance – Toronto, Master of International Business, Master of Management Analytics, Master of Management in Artificial Intelligence, Graduate Diploma in Business, Certificate in Business and Executive Education offerings.

Applications can be made through Game Plan, * Not all applicants receive a scholarship

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto

Copyright © 2013 Canadian Sport Institute Calgary | All Rights Reserved | Photo Credit : Dave Holland