|Organisation:||Algonquin College, Canada|
Lauren Carey, a captain on the Thunder basketball teams that captured Ontario Canadian Athletics Association titles in 2013 and 2014, will be mentored by her former assistant coach at Algonquin on the Female Coach Apprentice Programme 2015 – 2016.
Carey had the opportunity to coach children at the University of Ottawa’s summer camps and in recent years, she has also been a guest coach at Laura Bond’s (her mentor) Rush Basketball Camp. She is enthusiastic about the professional development opportunities that lie ahead.
“I am beyond excited to obtain my coaching certifications enabling me to coach at these higher levels,” she said.
The first time I touched a basketball I was ten years old. A soccer player at the time, I didn’t really understand the concept of a ball being in your hands as opposed to at your feet. I fell in love with the game during my summers at camp at the University of Ottawa where my brother and I spent 8 weeks playing the game we loved with people who loved the game equally and went on to play at St Matthew Catholic high school here in Ottawa. We were fortunate enough to attend the OFSAA championship in my senior year. Throughout my high school years I played competitive basketball in the community for Gloucester Wolverines. I was coached by some of the best coaches in the city. After high school I went on to attend the University of Ottawa where I played on the varsity team for one year. I continued on to focus on being a student as opposed to an athlete, as I struggled to find a healthy balance between academics and athletics. My role changed and I went on to cheer on the girls I previously had the privilege of calling teammates but continued to call friends. After my stay at the University of Ottawa I pursued my dream in the legal field at Algonquin College. The first week of school I walked by basketball tryouts more times then I can count but I never made it into the gym. In October of that same year, I started losing sleep over not playing. I emailed head coach at the time, John MacInnis, to inquire whether or not he had a position he felt appropriate for me to contribute to the team in that upcoming season, as a team manager or assistant coach. After one practice with the team, it was clear that my role would best be suited in between the lines as opposed to outside of them. I still to this day can not believe how fortunate I was to be offered such an opportunity to fall in love with the game of basketball all over again. They were coming off a two season championship run and we went on to win two more defeating Fanshawe in the finals in my first year and defeating Mohawk in the finals in my second. Those days are still two of the best days of my life.
Going into this September, it will be my first time being on a coaching staff. Throughout my years of playing basketball I’ve always tried to look at the game from a more technical perspective to gain a further understanding. I’ve always been fascinated with the work that goes on behind closed doors to get us ready for whatever challenge we will be facing next. I think the first time I thought about coaching was watching my mom coach me in basically every sport I wanted to try. That is where my inspiration comes from primarily. It wasn’t until as of late, when Coach Bond planted the seed in my head that I really thought I would even be capable of coaching. The inspiration to coach continued to grow, watching her and what she does in the community and how much that truly makes a difference, especially for female athletes across the city and the province. So I took the leap of faith in hopes that someday I will be even half the coach that she is.
The CCAA female apprentice coach programme is a programme that was implemented in order to further the promotion and opportunity for female graduating athletes to pursue their dreams or careers in coaching when they are done playing. The country provides funding to these athletes allowing them to work under an eligible mentor coach for a season, in the sport of their choice. As an apprentice coach you are involved in all tasks including practices games, training, championships and preparation. The program also encourages you to obtain your certifications so you are able to continue on after the completion of the program at any level you so choose. I am beyond excited to be participating in this program and the development I will be exposed to as a result. To be coaching at this level in my first year will be nothing but beneficial and the CCAA deserves to be recognized for providing these opportunities. Accords the country, coach Bond and I are the only female duo participating in this program.
The application for the apprentice programme consisted of three parts. Myself, the Athletic Director of Algonquin College and mentor coach Laura Bond had to submit an application indicating why I would be a good fit and why Algonquin College as an institution would be a good fit. Prior to applying my only experience or credentials came from playing at that level. That’s what the program is all about. By providing female athletes with these opportunities even though they may not have the required credentials, exposes them to the opportunities to obtain the credentials necessary.
To say that it is essential for governing bodies and sport federations to be proactive with developing female coaches is an understatement. Supporting female coaches, especially those who have played any particular sport making them experienced and qualified is long overdue. Growing up, I had the opportunity to play for two women, and I found the difference was truly on all levels, not just athletically. It is important to increase the number of female coaches in sport overall because women and girls at all levels deserved to be represented in coaching positions and provided with the opportunity to play for those role models who they can naturally relate to. It is especially important in young female development. Female sport in general is increasing at an accelerated pace and it is important to have a number of female coaches reflective of that.
I currently work full time at a law firm here in Ottawa. I think it’s about finding an appropriate balance between coaching and employment. In all honesty, the fact that I get to do two things I love at the same time with such a great group of people in both aspects makes me feel very fortunate. As for the juggling of commitments, only time will tell. And the owner of the firm I work for played 5 years of CIS basketball at McGill, so I see her being nothing but supportive!
I aspire to coach long term, giving back to the community that gave me and taught me so much through the sport of basketball. I plan to obtain my levels over the course of this next year to be able to do so and I have been approached to work with one of the best coaches in the city to assist her in the development of her JUEL program. Long term, I would love to coach at the college level but I think there is a difference to be made at any level you’re involved in. My interest is definitely in development, any opportunities that come my way in that particular area whether it is summer provincial or city teams or programs I would love to be apart of those as well.
I think the best advice anyone can ever give is to just go for it. If you want it, you can’t fail unless you try. I think with programs such as the CCAA FAP it will provide female coaches with opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise. If you love the game, continue to share that love with people who look up to you. The opportunity to change lives is there for you, the resources are slowing coming, if you want it, go after it.