About 250 people took in the fourth annual BC Sport Leadership Conference this past Sunday at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel in Richmond, B.C.

Attendees represented a variety of sports and organizations, including, volleyball, softball, Tennis, synchronized swimming, Special Olympics, lacrosse, boxing, viaSport and the BC Games Society, just to name a few.

Red travel coffee mugs, provided by belairdirect, awaited excited attendees as they entered the ballroom for a day of fun, learning and networking.

Emcee, Matt Baker from TSN 1040/BC Lions, welcomed everyone, took care of a few ‘housekeeping’ items and kept the show running like a well-oiled machine.

Up first, five-time Olympian, Natalie Cook kicked things off with energy and her presentation titled Believe: Strategies & Practical Tips to Build Confidence in Individuals and Teams

Key takeaways from Natalie Cook’s presentation were:

  • “How do you recreate pressure situations in practice? It’s the freaking Olympics…there’s no way to re-create what you’re going to be feeling when 20,000 people are cheering for or against you. So what we did was create pressure situations off the court, so we could succeed on it,” Natalie Cook. Examples Cook used were skydiving, firewalking, glasswalking, etc… Get out of your comfort zone because when you’re at the Olympics or a big event, you’ll be out of your comfort zone.
  • Want to raise the standard? Raise your standards in everything you do, such as, making your bed, practicing hard, doing laundry, etc… A rising tide raises all ships and if you raise your game in one area, the other areas of your life will follow.
  • FOCUS- Stands for: Follow One Course Until Successful. Very wise words and a great acronym.
  • Do your super hero pose for 90 seconds a day. It will boost self-esteem and make you perform better at everything you do.

Up next was Chair of the Canadian Sport Psychology Association Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood with her presentation titled Mental Well Being for Leading a Meaningful Life.

Key takeaways from Dr. Toogood’s presentation were:

  • “Figure out what makes your heart sing,” Dr. Toogood. If you’re not having fun and passionate about what you’re doing, take a good look at doing something else. Know thyself, and what makes you tick.
  • “Self-compassion is asking yourself what you need to be great. Know yourself and what makes ‘you’ you,” Dr. Toogood. Make sure to do this regularly to take stock of what you have and what you may need to excel.
  • Know where you get your energy from and make sure you incorporate it into your day. If it’s getting outside and seeing the sun, make time to get outside and see the sun every day,” Dr. Toogood. This is useful for coaches when preparing a practice. If you know your team’s happy when doing a drill, make sure to incorporate that drill into practice more often.

Following Dr. Toogood’s presentation, the conference broke for about an hour of networking time, with a buffet-style brunch, sponsored by GLC Solutions being served.

Following brunch, former coach of the USA’s Women’s National Team, Terry Liskevych took the stage with his presentation titled, Success Secrets: The 5 Most Important Points I’ve Learned from 40+ Years in Coaching & Business.

Key takeaways from Terry Liskevych’s presentation were:

  • Five things you need to be successful:
    • People- You’re only as good as the people on your team. And make sure you know everyone’s skills/talents to ensure you are playing to your strengths
    • Plan– Without a map, how are you going to get where you want to be?
    • Finances/Resources- Everything we do needs finances or resources. Make sure you have what you need to be successful or you may need to re-explore the plan.
    • Singular Purpose– Make sure everyone is on the same page and has the same end goal in mind.
    • Passion– love what you are doing and make sure the members of your team love what they do as well.
  • “Perfection is impossible, but chasing perfection is what leads to excellence,” Terry Liskevych quoting other leaders and philosophers. Always try to improve on what you’re doing.
  • Surround yourself with energy givers and not energy suckers.
  • “Know your strengths, but more importantly know your weaknesses and be sure you team/staff can make up for your weaknesses,” Terry Liskevych.

Up next was founder of Softball Excellence, Cindy Bristow, and her presentation titled Coaching the Modern Day Athlete.

Key takeaways from Cindy Bristow’s presentation were:

  • “Coach like you’re on Twitter. Shorten the message up. Get to the point. Kids want info in 6-8 seconds, not long, drawn out info sessions,” Cindy Bristow. Players attention spans have changed, as coaches, shorten up what you are telling your athletes.
  • “Jimmy Johnson used to keep a roster in his back pocket. He used it as a checklist to ensure he spoke to every player on his team, every day.” Make sure to talk with everyone on your team so that you know how they are feeling. Knowing how all your players are feeling goes a long way in building a solid team foundation.
  • “Remember, the kids you’re coaching today, are the ‘us’ of the future,” Cindy Bristow. Are you doing things at practice and in games that will make your players fall in love with the sport and continue to play after the season is over?

Closing out the day was three-time Olympic Gold medalist, Jennifer Botterill with her presentation titled, Peak Performance: Sustainable High Standards for Excellence.

Key takeaways from Jennifer Botterill’s speech were:

  • “Turn a negative into a positive. Winning gold in 2010 wasn’t pressure, we (Canadian Women’s Hockey Team) viewed it as nice, that people cared and provided us support.” Always try to turn negative into positives.
  • “When starting something, ask yourself, how do I want this experience to end?” Knowing what your end goal is can often help you with what you need to do each day to ensure you achieve your goal.
  • “Enjoy the moment.” Great advice Jennifer received from her father before the Gold Medal Game of the 2010 Olympics. Wise words that coaches should always remind there players of, whether it’s in practice, or during a championship game.

Thank you to all that attended. In our opinion, the key to great conferences isn’t just the people presenting, but rather that people in the audience. Each and everyone’s energy throughout the day was amazing and is truly why this conference was such a huge success for us.

We hope to see you all next year, and if you really enjoyed yourself, bring a friend!

To see all the photos from the weekend, visit our PHOTO PAGE

If you’re interested in partnering with Volleyball BC for the 2019 BC Sport Leadership Conference, please email Ian at communications@volleyballbc.org and he will help you get in touch with organizers about sponsorship and partnership opportunities.