Advanced Coaching Diploma Graduate - Deon Flynn
Like many coaches finding their way into the career of coaching, an injury during an athletic career leads to several athletes becoming coaches and that’s exactly what happened to Deon Flynn.
“Instead of staying home and waiting for the injury to heal, my coach at the time thought it was still important for me to come out to the practices and be around the team to support the athletes” Deon reflects. Unfortunately, his injury lasted longer than expected but that allowed him to provide more help to the team and step into a coaching role. He remembers experiencing similar feelings as a coach as he did as an athlete which ultimately sparked his interest in coaching. “Anytime you are helping people it feels good and the feeling is definitely enhanced when an athlete looks to you for guidance. You feel like you have a sense of purpose.”
Being a passionate fan for sports in its entirety, Deon couldn’t imagine his life without sports and acknowledges the natural progression turning into a coach from being an athlete, it just happened sooner than he thought it would.
Deon is a highly certified track and field coach and was always on the hunt to continue his coach education. When he stumbled across the Advanced Coaching Diploma pamphlet at the Sports Leadership conference a few years ago, he knew it was meant to be. “As soon as I read that the ACD was coach driven, expert lead, peer enriched, mentor supported, and a structured learning community, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for.”
He credits the ACD in directing him towards becoming a more athlete centered, cooperative style coach. “In the past I was more sensitive to the needs of the master plan as whole, but after going through the ACD program I can honestly say that’s not the case anymore. I’ve adapted my coaching style to suit the needs of the individual athlete.” His approach: build people first and athletes second. He spends time building relationships with the athletes, making them feel psychologically safe and building or repairing their confidence after a difficult performance.
The Advanced Coaching Diploma is targeted towards high performance coaches that spend more than 12 hours a week coaching, which Deon recommends to coaches that want access to cutting edge sport research science and information and have a desire to be a more effective coach. Deon remembers director of coaching services, Jason Sjostrom, telling him that at the completion of this course he can expect to be a different coach coming out of the program.
“The ACD provided me with the greatest learning moments ever. When you go through the ACD program, you learn so much through the course content, your peers and self reflection. You’re not going to be the same coach on the other end” recognizes Flynn. “If someone decided to apply for this course, I would tell them to sit in their seat, strap in and hold in tight because it’s one crazy rollercoaster ride. And when it comes to a stop, I am certain you will say it’s the best rollercoaster ride ever."