When the final buzzer sounds to close out games for the RDC Kings and Queens, many of those student athletes will swap their playing gear for coaching hats.
This season, a collection of RDC athletes have roamed the sidelines for community teams, trying to make a difference beyond the reach of their own athletic accomplishments.
“It’s rewarding for all of us in RDC Athletics to see how our students-athletes embrace the opportunity to become positive role models and coaches for youth teams,” RDC Athletic Director Diane St-Denis said. “They share their expertise, and they also teach the young athletes about intangible things like respect and values and love of sport, so it’s a powerful experience for our student-athletes and the players they coach.”
Fourth-year midfielder for Oueens soccer Kaitlin D’Arcy has been volunteering her time as a coach and a trainer since she was 17.
“This is my first year in the assistant coach role for the U11 Red Deer Renegades Boys Soccer team,” she said. “I work mostly with the goalies and the forwards, showing them skills and helping them to develop fundamentals.”
D’Arcy helps players to develop technical skills and also tries to remind the young athletes to enjoy the game.
“I want to encourage them to have fun and to have a positive experience,” she added. “It’s so rewarding to see players get that special smile when they know they’ve done something well that they’ve been practicing for a long time – those little things can make a big difference for them.”
Kings Volleyball setter Ryan Beatson, who helps coach the U18 Central Alberta Kings, said he remembers having RDC coaches when he was a member of the team and how valuable that experience was for him.
“It’s a busy schedule, but this is very important, so I try to balance everything,” said Beatson, who juggles assistant coaching three times a week, plus weekend tournaments.
“It’s great to be able to work with this age group, and I really love the opportunity to be able to coach and give back.”
Dedra Janvier, a fifth-year guard with Queens Basketball, added that she feels the same way after her time coaching the U16 Central Alberta Basketball Club. “It’s truly special to teach youth their specific sport skills and life skills while they grow and mature into amazing individuals,” she said.
“Until you start coaching, you don’t realize how amazing it feels to see individuals grow and prosper right before your eyes.”