Manitoba Celebrates National Coaches Week

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This article was published 30/09/2019 (1157 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

As the country recognized coaches from coast to coast, one local rowing coach shared her hopes to shape the next generation of rowing athletes.

National Coaches Week was recognized Sept. 21 to 29. The fifth annual event aims to celebrate the hard work that coaches do, in training the athletes for competitions and shaping young minds for the future.

Janine Stephens went into coaching wanting to change how it was done. She wanted to give athletes the best environment to reach their potential. What she didn’t expect was how much behind-the-scenes scheduling and planning was required.

Supplied photo Janine Stephens, on the water, ready to train her athletes. Stephens is a former Olympic rower, winning silver in the 2012 London Olympics.

“It’s not a job where you leave the office and your mind can shut off. I feel like I’m always coming back to the work. Things like how to move the schedule around, how to better an individual or the crew is always on my mind,” Stephens said.

Stephens started off as a rowing athlete, winning Silver at the 2012 London Olympics as part of the women’s eights rowing team. Stephens became the head coach of Manitoba Rowing in 2017, and has gone on to be the head coach for Team Manitoba at the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games.

Stephens said she takes a lot of her experiences as an athlete to coaching. She often speaks to her athletes and tells her why they’re doing certain exercises and how it affects them, something she wishes she’d paid more attention to when she was competing. She also kept a training journal as an athlete, and would read pages from it to show that she understands what her athletes are going through.

Stephens said she hopes she has a positive impact on someone’s life.

“If you have a conversation with anybody in sports, the coach was always the most significant person. Everyone can think of one or two coaches who had really impacted their life,” Stephens said. “I would love it in 25 years, someone came back and said ‘Wow, you really helped me when I was going through this.’”

Stephens got into rowing in 2000, after being invited to try it by a former member of the Canadian national rowing team. She competed in the 2001 Canada Summer Games and earned two bronze medals. Her first major international competition was at the 2008 Summer Olympics, where she placed 8th in women’s quad sculls (where four competitors use two oars each to row).

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