A Fit for the Pros

The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) has become a training hub for professional athletes looking to make offseason gains. For athletes that are typically part of large teams, the CSI Calgary is unique in its ability to evaluate the athletes’ needs and create programs that are customized to meet individual goals.

A group of Calgary Stampeders are currently calling the CSI Calgary home, including Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, Linebacker Deron Mayo and Wide Receiver Anthony Parker. Sam Hurl from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Running Back Matt Walter and Atlanta Braves draft pick Mike Soroka are also making their offseason gains at the CSI Calgary.

Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Osmond has earned a reputation as the sought-after advisor for the professionals, with a knack for designing training programs that meet the specific needs of each pro. He notes, “It is really great to have professional athletes train at the CSI Calgary. The professional athletes that train here love working within the culture that we have created. It provides a one stop shop for them because everything they need is here under one roof.”

Matt Walter is credited with being the catalyst to the group training at the CSI Calgary. Born and raised in Calgary, the former University of Calgary Dino began working with Osmond in December 2015. He says he “knew there was a lot I needed to address physically. I had made good progress the previous offseason but did not get the results I wanted, and I felt that my body was breaking down a bit. I wanted somewhere to go where I could invest in myself, the best possible place to train at that I could find. I did my research and found the CSI Calgary. I feel that I have been on the right path ever since.”

Hearing his teammate’s rave reviews, Texas-born Bo Levi Mitchell joined the CSI Calgary because he was interested in “training next to Olympians. Those are the people that are hungry.” After doing intake testing that included body composition and cardiovascular fitness, he admits, “I had never done anything like that before.” Mitchell’s results emphasized his need for a customized program that is more cardio-based than his CSI Calgary teammates. Already he is impressed with the results, saying, “After 15 years of playing football, I have only been with the CSI Calgary and Chris for one month and I know I am in the best shape that I have ever been in. Chris knows the ins and outs of everything that we are doing. The atmosphere is better than anywhere I have ever been, and being around the Olympic athletes is fantastic.”

2014 Grey Cup Champions Walter and Mitchell are so impressed with their progress thus far that they plan to continue working with Osmond until the begining of training camp, as well as throughout the football season. As Walter emphasizes, “Chris has been the best trainer I have ever had the opportunity to work with. He is next level, and knows what he is doing to such a high degree. Everything he throws at me is making me better.”

Institut canadien du sport de Calgary : @csicalgary
Rédigé par Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo de Dave Holland: @CSICalgaryPhoto

A Legacy of Knowledge

When asked the single most important piece of advice for a young up and coming strength coach, Director of Strength and Conditioning Matt Jordan does not hesitate. “Find good mentorship.”

With this in mind, Jordan and the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) started a program in 2002 to help develop aspiring strength coaches. Since then, Jordan estimates that over 100 students have gone through the practicum experience with at least one third having gone on to work in high performance sport.

The CSI Calgary places emphasis on leading in the fields of education and mentorship because, Jordan says, “Many call the CSI Calgary a brain trust. We are essentially a legacy of knowledge and expertise that accumulates with every Olympic quadrennial. I think we are best known for blending the art and science of strength and conditioning. The course and the internship reflect this unique perspective.”

Jordan is referring to the Strength and Conditioning Internship taking place from May-August 2016 and the Strength and Power Performance Course occurring May 5-7, 2016. Although the spring session of the course is currently full, Jordan is still accepting applications from internship candidates.

The entire team of CSI Calgary strength coaches is involved in the course, with each mentor (coach) bringing a unique perspective. The course encompasses the full spectrum of strength and conditioning skills, including an optional pre-course seminar that involves a detailed workshop in the strength and power lab. The seminar covers the team’s approach to neuromuscular profiling and assessment including the asymmetry testing protocol that has become a signature assessment for the CSI Calgary.

The internship aims to provide a well rounded experience which acts as a launching pad for future success. The CSI Calgary is looking for young strength coaches who see themselves working with top level athletes. Not only will the intern work with the head strength coaches to gain experience, they will also gain experience in the strength & power lab, on the floor and partaking in the team’s weekly meetings.

Ultimately, Matt Jordan believes that the team at the CSI Calgary takes pride in prioritizing education and mentorship initiatives because, “At the end of the day, the job of an institute is to share knowledge and develop expertise. This is a key part of our purpose map at the CSI Calgary. It is our job to synthesize the relevant information and experience that we have amassed over the years in our efforts to help put Canadians on the podium, and to teach it to coaches and aspiring sport science professionals. I love sharing knowledge in this way.”

To apply for the Strength and Conditioning Internship or register for future sessions of the Strength and Power Performance Course, visit www.csicalgary.ca for information.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Advanced Coaching Diploma Delivers Quality Learning

Everyone knows that athletes work hard to improve, to achieve their goals, to win – it’s what they do and it’s why they are great. A lesser-known but equally driven cohort doing the same thing are athletes’ coaches. Quality coaches do not stand idly by while their athletes move forward - they travel alongside them, pursuing excellence in their own craft: the art and science of sport coaching. The world’s best learn from reflecting on their experiences, their athletes, peers and learning from sport scientists.

Mike Stastook, Head Coach of the WinSport Academy Slopestyle and Big Air team, is one of these coaches who has enjoyed the successes of his athletes over the years, but made a decision to further challenge himself and find ways to make his coaching even more effective. Enrolling in the Advanced Coaching Diploma (ACD) offered at the CSI Calgary, Mike revamped his ”toolbox” and is seeing results. “The things I’ve started implementing since enrolling in the ACD are making their way to the podium,” says Stastook. “Last season was the best I’ve had professionally.”

The ACD is a two-year competency-based program combining classroom study and experiential learning. The mission of the program is to develop world-class coaches who are capable of preparing athletes for podium performances in sport and life.

According to Dr. Cari Din, the ACD is designed and delivered to align with adult learning best practices, “We have translated the most current research on how the world’s best coaches learn into a dynamic learning environment for coaches who are committed to growing.” Din is the Cohort Mentor as well as the Leadership and Coaching Effectiveness Expert in the Calgary-based ACD. She says, “Coaches in our program are tasked with applying evidence-based best practice and theory from class in their unique sport context.”

The ACD also focuses on peer enriched learning. “A lot of discussion-based learning occurs in our structured learning community - coaches share, challenge and grow from each other’s experiences and unique perspectives.” Din believes that the multi-sport nature of the program adds to the richness of coach learning, “The coaches are enlivened by the diversity of the cohort – they are exposed repeatedly to ideas and practices that are totally out of their comfort zone. We have a lively and vivid culture that promotes curiosity, connection and deep understanding, it is a privilege to be part of a learning environment that is so impactful to the learners.”

Indeed, Stastook knows that the success he’s had with his team at the WinSport Academy comes from the hard work he has put in to becoming a better coach. He credits the ACD with helping him chart a new path. “When you take an athlete, that at the beginning of the year started out ranking 172nd nationally and ended up 18th in the country, you know what you’re doing works, says Stastook. “If you feel your coaching has vastly improved since starting a program like this, how can it not benefit your athletes? And in the end that’s the reason you’re doing it.”

The Advanced Coaching Diploma is a coach driven, expert led, peer enriched and mentor supported structured learning community that has been running for more than 22 years through CSI Calgary. For more information on the program contact Jason Sjostrom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Alberta Slalom Canoe Kayak Team Benefits from World Leading Specialists

The Alberta Slalom Canoe Kayak Team lead by High Performance Head Coach Michael Holroyd has been improving in leaps and bounds, thanks in large part to a partnership they have formed with the Alberta Sport Development Centre (ASDC) Calgary and the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSIC).

The diverse training group that has been utilizing the partnership since 2009 is currently comprised of 18 athletes at various levels in development. The group consists of 5 high performance athletes, 3 athletes one tier below high performance, and 10 additional athletes who are targeted as future stars. All have seen benefits from the organizations' unique partnership pooling their respective resources in order to provide the maximum level of support possible as opposed to dividing their respective contributions up in a less effective manner.

Coach Holroyd, a Canoe Kayak National Team member for 10 years, retired from the sport in 2007 to begin working his way though the CSIC's renowned Coaching Diploma Program. After completing the Advanced Coaching Diploma Level 4 Program, he commenced work with the team and has seen amazing improvements in many of his athletes, including Haley Daniels and Adrian Cole, who came into the ASDC Calgary program as young athletes and have progressed to the National Senior and U23 Team, respectively.

The team's biggest success stories thus far, Jessica Groenveld and Ben Hayward, are looking ahead to the Pan Am Games in Toronto in 2015. With the inclusion of Canoe Kayak in the Games for the first time, Groenveld is confident that the services the partnership has provided will continue to garner incredible international results, with the ultimate goal being to win a medal at the home Games.

Holroyd, along with all of his athletes, knows that the biggest advantage the partnership has provided has been the opportunity to work with world leading specialists from the CSIC that they typically would not have access to. These experts include Sport Scientist Kelly Quipp, who conducts physiological testing on the athletes twice annually using a Kayak Ergometer in the state-of-the-art Sport Performance Laboratory at Canada Olympic Park. The team also utilizes the exclusive High Performance Training Centre a minimum of twice weekly in order to train with CSIC Strength and Conditioning Coach John Abreu. Mental Performance Coach Clare Fewster rounds out the group of CSIC experts that have actively contributed to the team's success through the partnership. Groenveld is convinced that these opportunities have enhanced her training, saying, "The collaboration of ASDC and CSIC has enabled us to access resources that are fundamental to athlete development and success. For myself, the strength gains made this year with John, and the ability to have specific training targets from testing with Kelly, are incredibly important."

Coach Holroyd is equally thankful for the world class teamwork that goes into his program, saying, "We are really lucky here in Calgary to have the ASDC Calgary help athletes, collaboratively with our provincial association, work up to the National Team level where the CSIC programs kick in. Through this system, we have been able to use the world leading testing, strength and conditioning, and mental training service providers from the CSIC and bring it to our developing provincial athletes. This gives us consistent long-term data from testing and ensures that athletes stepping onto our National Teams are doing so with good fundamentals. This linear, consistent support has allowed our programs to help athletes to the fullest."

Stay in the loop!

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @CSICalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @bschussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Anonymous Donor Upgrades Sport Performance Laboratory

The Sport Performance Laboratory has been upgraded thanks to a generous donation from a party who wishes to remain anonymous.

The Sport Performance Laboratory is a critical component of the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary’s success because it is where much of the athletes’ training and monitoring takes place. Rosemary Neil, Director of Development and Strategic Programs at the CSIC, says that the $100,000 lab upgrade is “vitally important to gathering detailed information for athletes. We couldn’t function without it.”

Barry Heck, WinSport’s President and CEO, was instrumental in working with the anonymous foundation to secure the donation and make the improvements needed.

The majority of the donation was used to install a fume hood in order to properly ventilate gases. With the upgrades, the lab is now classified as a level 2 laboratory, meaning it can deal with biohazards. It also has procedures in place to handle pathogens, bringing it to a safety standard that is acceptable by Health Canada.

One of the main functions of the new equipment is to enable athletes to do the hemoglobin mass test, a protocol that uses carbon monoxide. A poisonous gas, carbon monoxide requires proper ventilation equipment, including a fume hood. The test is important to CSIC athletes because it has a high correlation with an athlete’s VO2 max, allowing the sport scientists to monitor and track an athlete’s development. These protocols, enabled by the lab upgrades, will increase the effectiveness of athletes’ training programs by allowing for the use of altitude or heat.

As very few labs in Canada have the ability to do these types of protocols, this technology is yet another way that Rosemary Neil says the CSIC will remain on “the leading edge, because we are able to perform these tests to help monitor and evaluate athletes.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary

Written by Brittany Schussler: @bschussler

Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Anti-Gravity Treadmill Aids Rehabilitation

The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary athletes are utilizing an advanced training device, the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill. Primarily used by injured athletes to facilitate rehabilitation, the treadmill allows the CSIC's therapists to reintegrate the functional movement of running into the athletes' training.

The treadmill can be programmed by a therapist to a specific percentage of the athletes' body weight so that the loading on the musculoskeletal system is less than normal. For example, when an athlete is returning to training from a lower body injury they can use the Anti-Gravity Treadmill and start running while bearing only 50% of their body weight. As they improve, a greater percentage of their body weight can be introduced to increase the effective training load on the body. This allows them to run at a normal tempo and speed while still practicing good technique.

The CSIC has had access to the equipment since opening its new training facility at Canada Olympic Park last year. CSIC's athletes are privileged to have convenient access to this advanced equipment, as shown through its use by "return to training" high performance athletes. Members of the public are able to purchase passes in order to accelerate their own recovery while under the supervision of a physiotherapist.

Two advocates of the training device are track and field athletes Sam Effah and Natasha Jackson, who are both recovering from injuries in preparation for their 2016 Olympic Games qualifying competitions. Effah recently stated that the regular access to the treadmill has been "a major blessing." Jackson, who suffered a ruptured achilles tendon in 2014, believes that "the Anti-Gravity treadmill has been a great tool for my recovery... allowing me to gradually build back the strength in my achilles. It has allowed me to put my body through the motion of running. In addition, I am able to work my cardiovascular system in a similar way to how I would train on the track but at a much earlier stage in the recovery process."

CSIC physiotherapist Jennifer Delich has seen athletes from a range of sports, such as figure skating and alpine skiing, benefit from using the Anti-Gravity Treadmill for rehabilitation. She is convinced that "there is nothing else like it," and notes that it has already proven to be effective in "return to training athletes" for an array of injuries such as muscle tears, ACL reconstruction, and patella femoral pain.

The CSIC's use of the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill has proven to be an advantage for many athletes. With the Pan Am Games only months away, the ability to have injured athletes ahead of their expected healing process is a vital component in keeping the CSIC's athletes world-leading.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary

Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler

Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Are You R.E.A.D.Y.?

Olympic-bound freestyle wrestler Erica Wiebe remembers clearly the match that catapulted her onto the Canadian senior women’s team for the 2013 World Championships. On the morning of the wrestle-off that would determine who would make the team, she awoke to pounding on her hotel room door at 8:45 am. Her match was scheduled for 9:00 am. A mad rush ensued and she made it to the venue with three minutes to spare, but she was strangely calm – she was ready.

Two quick and successful takedowns saw Wiebe win the match in a matter of minutes. “From the time I woke up to winning the match was twenty minutes!” she remembers, laughing. “But I was so prepared, I had visualized the match so many times, I knew what was going to happen. All of these things went wrong, like missing my alarm, but I was still ready.”

Being ‘ready’ to compete is something all athletes aspire to. Whether it’s through determining the best pre-race routine or figuring out the ideal mindset in the weeks, days or minutes before a race, each athlete has their own way of getting ready for competition. Frank van den Berg, Director of Mental Performance at the CSI Calgary, helps athletes work towards their best state of readiness, through a concept he calls R.E.A.D.Y.

R.E.A.D.Y came to van den Berg from a story he read in a text book years ago, where a coach asks his athlete, “Are you ready?” Her reply was, “No, not quite ready, yet!” The idea is that there is room in the final days, hours or minutes before competition for flexibility and openness in routine or mindset – there is space, and time, to get the last details in place before competition.

van den Berg says, “I think it’s a good feeling to feel prepared - from training history, competition experience, routines and strategies for competition, but it’s okay to keep it open, be flexible, right up until the start.” The ‘Y’ in R.E.A.D.Y stands for ‘yet’.

In some sports the ‘Y’ might be about the taper in the last few days, where top speed is the goal, i.e. it’s a physiological component. In alpine skiing it could be about inspection of the race hill in the days leading up as well as the day of, where changes in conditions could lead to making a change in approach or strategy.

It’s all about keeping that last little bit open and flexible to be able to adapt to any situation that comes up. “When I first talk to athletes about the idea of R.E.A.D.Y they often feel a sense of freedom or relief. It gives them room to keep a few percentage points open. They don’t have to worry about it in advance,” says van den Berg.

Denny Morrison, four-time Olympic medalist in long track speed skating, feels a sense of readiness from confidence he develops in his routines in the years prior to a big competition. “Sochi was the most ready I’ve ever felt,” he says. “Ready physically but also mentally. I nailed down a routine in the two Olympics before Sochi. I just felt so dialed.”

Even still, there was room for letting himself experience how he was feeling without judgement. In the few days before his first race in Sochi he knew he wasn’t quite there physiologically but he knew that he would be ready on race day. “I always had confidence in the program that I would feel good on race day even if I didn’t feel great the days before,” he says.

Readiness can be elusive, though. Both Wiebe and Morrison recall times where they felt ready but underperformed. For Wiebe, she underestimated her opponent’s strength at the 2014 World Championships and was thrown to the mat early. “That wasn’t the best mindset,” she remembers. “The best mindset I can have is when I go into it knowing that this is going to be a really tough match.” Looking back, Morrison says he was arrogant in how good he was feeling in the days before his races at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, where he skated well below his potential.

Ultimately, maintaining openness and flexibility to adapt can help the athlete stay in the moment and achieve a state of mindfulness that is central to a good performance. “It’s not a bad thing to not feel completely ready one month before the Olympics,” says van den Berg. “The athlete is only completely ready once they get to the start line.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
20/07/16

Better People Better Athletes

High performance athletes are known for their intense focus and fierce dedication toward their sporting careers. In their quest for podium performances, well-rounded athletes look beyond their immediate sport goals and work towards balancing their lives and planning their futures. CSI Calgary has been promoting this holistic development of athletes as a core philosophy since its establishment. Over the years this culture has been nurtured and permeates the current and alumni athlete community.

Understanding that addressing “life outside and beyond” sport is a critical performance factor, the CSI Calgary delivers dedicated programs, and personnel to work alongside athletes, supporting them in a wide variety of areas. Recently, the more formalized national Game Plan program has significantly elevated the content and quality of services available.

In addition to being prepared for performance and life, CSI Calgary firmly believes that athletes who are prepared and confident off the field of play perform better. “Our aim is to prepare athletes to be responsible, confident, self-reliant and contributing citizens that are engaged with, and contribute back to the community,” says Dale Henwood, President and CEO. “Developing them as people helps them grow as athletes. Public support and connection to sport is better if we have good people representing our country.” Henwood has been a driving force promoting this philosophy for more than two decades.

Brad Spence, two-time Olympian and former CSI Calgary athlete is an example of an athlete giving back to the community. Retiring after the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, Spence decided to give back to the community by creating a not-for-profit organization, pulling together a Board of Directors that includes fellow CSI Calgary alumnus Jeff Christie. Originally Helmets for Heroes, the new Creative Impact Health Foundation focuses on concussion awareness and education to minimize the risk of traumatic brain injuries. So far they have completed 14 projects involving athletes with a CSI Calgary connection.

“As an athlete I feel I have a duty to give back,” says Spence. “I couldn’t have pursued my dreams and gotten to where I did, without the support of the community.” Spence is one of many CSI Calgary athletes and alumni using their lessons and success in sport to make our city a better place to live. Whether they are giving their time and energy sitting on non-profit Boards, contributing to existing foundations or starting their own, these athletes have embraced the concept of giving back to their community and acting as positive role models.

There are many organizations with a strong CSI Calgary connection, the following are some examples of athletes leading the development of local community programs: Fast & Female (Chandra Crawford), KidSport (Kathy Salmon), Right to Play (Clara Hughes), Ski Fit North (Becky Scott) and Wickfest (Hayley Wickenheiser).

“It is so encouraging to see the number of CSI Calgary current and alumni athletes dedicating their time towards different community initiatives,” says Cara Button, Director Stakeholder Relations and Game Plan administrator. “Seeing what athletes are doing validates our work.”

Game Plan is a world-class program developed to support national team athletes in living better lives both during their high-performance careers and beyond. The program is being delivered across Canada by the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network (COPSIN), supported by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), Sport Canada and is powered by Deloitte.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Lisa Thomson
22/03/17

 

Breakthrough

For some athletes, moving beyond sport can be completing their education and finding a job. For others, the transition may evolve into a full-blown apocalyptic, existential crisis. Leaving competitive sport behind is a tough pill to swallow.

During the weeks and months following an Olympic Games, many athletes fall into a post-Olympic malaise characterized by a letdown after the intense build up to what is often the biggest event of their careers. Regardless of whether one returns home as a newly-minted Olympic medallist or a disappointed competitor, unease about the future emerges.

This post-Olympic period can be fraught with changes at an organizational level, in coaching staff and in program structure. This, combined with an athlete’s inner search for clarity and the desire to continue competing, can make for a tumultuous period.

In anticipation of this phase, the 2016 Game Plan Summit was held this past last weekend to explore each of the five Game Plan elements: career, education, health, network, and skill development. Game Plan is a collaboration between the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network (COPSIN), Deloitte and Sport Canada. This second event of its kind, brought together the Game Plan partners and national team athletes at the recently completed Deloitte University, a learning campus at the Deloitte building in downtown Toronto.

The Summit presented opportunities for athletes to network with alumni and industry leaders, reconnect with athletes, attend skill development workshops, and leave with concrete tools and experiences. The theme of the event was ‘Breakthrough’ and the goal was to provide athletes with access to knowledge and resources to perform at their best in and out of sport.

Jessica Zelinka, a two-time Olympian in heptathlon and CSI Calgary athlete, fell just short of her goal of competing in Rio. With lingering feelings of disappointment and love of sport, she’s not quite ready to walk away yet. While she works through what comes next in her life, she continues to train and has taken on two jobs.

In addition to the sessions and workshops at the summit focusing on the practical aspects of transition, what Zelinka appreciated deeply about the experience was the ability to connect with other athletes. “It was a really good opportunity to see everyone and hear their stories, to know that I’m not alone and that there is a lot of support out there.”

This sentiment was echoed by 2016 Olympic Champion in wrestling and CSI Calgary athlete, Erica Wiebe. While Wiebe’s schedule is currently overflowing with appearances and public speaking, leaving little time to address future plans, she welcomed the chance to connect with her fellow athletes.

“I’m so inspired by my peers,” she says. “We are all doing the same thing but we all have a unique story. It’s amazing to learn about how everyone handles the challenges in their lives.”

Cara Button, Director of Stakeholder Relations at the CSI Calgary, was a presenter at the summit. She observed was that the event provided a new connection for many athletes. “It exposed the athletes to the Game Plan program and the wealth of resources available to them as they develop their plans for the future,” she says.

The challenge of transition is not unique to athletes. One of the recurring messages at the summit was the idea that transition happens to everyone throughout their lives and the necessity of embracing it is infinite and universal. For some athletes, difficulty arises in being frank and honest about how they are truly feeling.

“The summit helped open up the conversation I was afraid to have with myself, to learn about the options and resources that are available to me,” says Zelinka. “I know there are some other things I could love but I don’t know what those are yet.”

The Game Plan program is having impact developing mentally stronger athletes who apply what they have learned as leaders in the sport to the betterment of themselves and their communities.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
09/11/16

Calgary Roughnecks Find Value in Comprehensive Testing

The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) is excited to be part of a new venture with the National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) Calgary Roughnecks. The Roughnecks were at WinSport on November 27 to undergo testing at the CSI Calgary in preparation for the upcoming season, which gets underway on January 2.

The Roughnecks are breaking ground as the first team in the NLL to undergo comprehensive testing that is common for Olympic athletes. CSI Calgary Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Osmond works with the Roughnecks organization and encouraged the team to take advantage of the high performance facility and staff’s extensive knowledge. He says, “The team chose to perform preseason testing at the CSI Calgary this year to take their performance to the next level. They want to invest in their players by giving them access to world leading sport science. They believe that this venture will pave the way for elevated performance this season and for years to come.”

Calgary Roughnecks General Manager and Director of Business Operations Mike Board was on site for the full day of testing. He agrees with Osmond, adding, “We wanted to centralize what we do for our fitness testing and this facility provided the opportunity to have everyone together on the same day. It is good for us as an organization and it is also a team building concept.”

Although it has never been conducted before by any NLL teams, the Roughnecks organization sees the value in preseason testing because, Board notes, “It allows us to get ready for the season knowing the players’ fitness and training zones. We are looking to find out how fit our guys are and where we need to take them. This data allows us to do that, and it is something that we have not been able to do before.”

Moving forward, CSI Calgary Exercise Physiologist Kelly Quipp will work to provide interpretation of the players’ test results. She will then offer training recommendations to elevate the conditioning level of the team for the upcoming season. This feedback will be enhanced by Osmond, who will create a training plan that can be adapted for each player.

Of the team’s first time utilizing the CSI Calgary services, Board emphasizes, “The experience has been fabulous. It’s efficient – the flow and timing of everything is very impressive. The players’ feedback was positive and the medical team was very happy.”

Best of luck in the season to the Calgary Roughnecks! The CSI Calgary looks forward to hosting you again next preseason.

 

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Canadian Biathletes Have Home Field Advantage

Canadian Biathletes and fans are about to enjoy a long-awaited international competition. From February 1-7, the Canmore Nordic Centre will host the 2016 BMW Biathlon World Cup, the first in Canmore since 1994.

Canada will be represented by a strong contingent. The female competitors will be Rosanna Crawford, Julia Ransom, Sarah Beaudry, Zina Kocher and Megan Tandy, while the males will be Nathan Smith, Brendan Green, Macx Davies, Christian Gow and Scott Gow. All athletes are Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) supported, training at the CSI Calgary hub in the Bill Warren Training Center (BWTC). Owned and operated by WinSport, the BWTC is housed at the legendary Canmore Nordic Centre.

Canada’s home field advantage for the World Cup comes at a critical time. This is allowing the team to prepare at home for to the upcoming World Championships March 3-13 in Norway. It will provide the CSI Calgary’s Integrated Support Team (IST) the opportunity to be close to the athletes, giving them access to massage and physiotherapy, as well as direct contact with their strength coach, mental performance consultant and physiologist. Sport Physiologist Jessica Kryski emphasizes, “It is rare for the IST to have such great access to the athletes prior to a major championship. This will allow direct contact, which is not always the case due to costs associated with travel.”

Reigning World Championship Silver Medallist Nathan Smith is looking forward to performing on his home track, saying, “I grew into the athlete I am today on those trails. I will have a definite advantage being able to sleep in my own bed, eat my own food, and being very familiar with the range and course. On a personal level, the World Cup here is almost more important than World Championships.” Smith is proud to have the opportunity to show his home venue to the world, declaring, “I have yet to see somewhere that compares to Canmore.”

The anticipation goes beyond the athletes to the Biathlon Canada staff. High Performance Director Eric de Nys notes, “The beauty of racing at home is having the opportunity to showcase your passion to friends, family and supporters. For years the athletes have trained hard to then leave Canada and demonstrate their skills internationally. To be able to do this at home is a real honour and exudes a sense of pride.”

National Team Coach Roddy Ward is excited about the athletes’ chances to be on the podium in front of their biggest supporters, saying, “Rosanna Crawford and Nathan Smith teamed up for a silver medal in the last single mixed relay and now they will get a chance to team up again to compete for a medal. Youngsters on the team have also made huge strides this year with Macx Davies securing his first top 10 and Julia Ransom posting her first top 20.”

Don’t miss your opportunity to cheer on Canadian athletes as they fight for medals in beautiful Canmore! For tickets and information please visit http://canmorebiathlon.ca

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Canadian Speed Skaters Putting the World on Notice

In a season punctuated by Ted-Jan Bloemen setting the 10,000m World Record and Ivanie Blondin being crowned the Mass Start World Champion, the Canadian Long Track Speed Skating Team has exceeded all expectations.

Predominantly based out of the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary), the team recently wrapped up the World Single Distance Championships where they won four medals (Blondin’s gold, a 10,000m silver from Bloemen, and bronze in the 500m from Alex Boisvert-Lacroix and the Men’s Team Pursuit).

Scott Maw, CSI Calgary Sport Physiologist and Integrated Support Team (IST) Lead with Speed Skating Canada (SSC), knew the team had what it took to be a force on the global stage. Over the past two seasons, there has been a collaborative effort between SSC, the Olympic Oval and CSI Calgary in making adjustments to team culture, expectations and accountability. It began with an overhaul of the athlete pathway to make it one program focused on performance across all levels.

The changes have lead to an increased concentration on the four main pillars that Speed Skating Canada’s program is built upon: respect, compete, accountability, and professionalism. This has come from an emphasis on team atmosphere, an element that can be difficult to emphasize in a mainly individual sport. To enhance the concept of team, all of SSC’s coaches have worked together to create a team-oriented yearly training plan that includes team training camps throughout the year.

Maw says the objective is “really about making sure each and every athlete is getting the basics right while respecting their teammates and their competitors and what it means to skate with the maple leaf on their skinsuits. This in turn gives them the confidence that they can perform when it matters.”

Following the 2014 Winter Olympics, Maw began working to develop key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine if World Cup performance was an indicator of World Championship or Olympic success. His task involved analyzing results from the previous six seasons, including thousands of races.

These KPI’s are used by CSI Calgary Mental Performance Consultant Derek Robinson to increase athletes’ emphasis on both individual and the team’s performances. By frequently reporting to the skaters on how they performed as a team relative to the other countries, Robinson is able to motivate skaters to improve for individual progression and to contribute to the team’s success.

Maw and the IST have adjusted many elements of the speed skating team’s approach. To better quantify the skaters’ response to training, SSC’s coaches have aligned how they classify training zones. This has worked in conjunction with a revamped approach to how skaters are monitored allowing IST members to hone in on how each athlete is responding to training. The athletes are also being monitored on their attention to elite habits, which include a vast array of things such as sleep and nutrition.

Despite the endless ways to monitor athletes, adjust training, and encourage a supportive environment, ultimately Maw knows, “When it comes down to it, it’s all about the skater giving their best performance on the day that counts. We are here to support that and to help them make it happen by design rather than by chance.”

The speed skaters close out their season in Heerenveen, Netherlands

at the World Cup Final March 11-13. For up-to-date results, follow Speed Skating Canada on Twitter @SSC_PVC.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Canadian Women Eyeing Hockey Gold

The Canadian National Women’s Hockey Team is ready to show the world what they are made of as they host the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Championship March 28-April 4 in Kamloops.

After bringing home the gold from the 2014 Olympic Games, forward Brianne Jenner says, “Having World Championships on home soil is very exciting for us and something we really look forward to. We have great fans when we play at home and it really makes for a fantastic atmosphere. The Four Nations Cup was held in Kamloops in 2014 and the crowd really got behind us. I have no doubt they will do the same in April.”

The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) will be cheering loudly for Team Canada, as it is the training home of nine team members: Bailey Bram, Sarah Davis, Brianne Jenner, Rebecca Johnston, Brigette Lacquette, Meaghan Mikkelson Reid, Jillian Saulnier, Blayre Turnbull, and Hayley Wickenheiser. The Calgary-based players rely on CSI Calgary’s Integrated Support Team in a variety of areas including nutrition, physiology, sport science, strength and conditioning, massage, and mental performance.

Two-time Olympic Gold Medallist Rebecca Johnston says, “The partnership between Hockey Canada and CSI Calgary has been amazing! I use a wide variety of the services. As a hockey player, I need treatment on a weekly basis to stay on top of my body and eliminate injuries. The CSI Calgary provides us with everything that we need and more! We are so fortunate to have the resources that we do.”

Meaghan Mikkelson Reid, also a double Olympic Gold Medallist, has recently returned to the team after having her first child. She believes this feat is in part thanks to Strength and Conditioning Coach Jeff Osadec, emphasizing, “I could not be more grateful for the amazing work that Jeff has done for me. After working with him for four years, he trained me through my pregnancy and then after I had my son. He helped me get back to full strength in approximately three months. There is no way I would have been named to the World Championship team without his knowledge, expertise, and passion when it comes to training athletes.”

The CSI Calgary’s Amy Bauerle, a therapist with Canada’s National Women’s Team, notes, “It is great to have the opportunity to work with the athletes throughout the season. These women are dedicated athletes and I am excited to see their hard work pay off in Kamloops when they get the chance to compete on the world stage on home ice. It’s an honour to be a part of this journey with them.”

To follow the Canadian Women on their quest for World Championship gold, visit http://www.worldwomen2016.com/en/.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Chris Osmond : un entraîneur unique au sein de l’ICSC

Chris Osmond, entraîneur en développement de la force et de la forme à l'Institut canadien du sport de Calgary (ICSC), a la lourde tâche de fournir des services personnalisés à des athlètes de sports variés. Bien que la majorité des entraîneurs de développement de la force et de la forme de l'ICSC travaille avec des groupes d'athlètes pratiquant le même sport, M. Osmond entraîne quant à lui des athlètes qui ne font pas partie d'un groupe d'entraînement.

Il travaille habituellement avec de cinq à huit athlètes en même temps, provenant tous de sports différents. Le niveau de ses athlètes s'étend d'équipes nationales juniors au niveau professionnel ou olympique. Parmi les athlètes qu'il entraîne actuellement, on trouve Joshua Riker-Fox, pentathlonien; Mike Soroka, joueur de baseball; John Morris, curleur; et Kyle Croxall, patineur de descente extrême

M. Osmond aime le défi que représente le travail avec des personnes aux parcours différents. Il précise que pour parvenir à créer le meilleur plan pour chaque athlète, « je m'instruis sur chacun des sports. Les programmes que j'élabore sont personnalisés en fonction de l'évaluation des mouvements, de la puissance et de la capacité d'effort physique ainsi que de mon analyse du sport et de l'athlète. »

Après les évaluations et les tests initiaux dans le laboratoire de haute performance de l'ICSC, M. Osmond crée un programme d'entraînement annuel. Ensuite, on en définit sa composition plus en détail avec d'autres entraîneurs qui participeront à l'entraînement de l'athlète en question. Le processus d'entraînement comprend la création de courts cycles au sein du programme d'entraînement annuel, ce qui permet aux entraîneurs de se concentrer sur les priorités déterminées lors de l'évaluation.

La relation athlète-entraîneur entre Joshua Riker-Fox et M. Osmond est encore toute récente. Cependant, l'athlète croit déjà fortement au style d'entraînement de M. Osmond. Lorsqu'on le questionne au sujet de M. Osmond, Joshua déclare : « Nous avons commencé par examiner ma situation actuelle en profondeur et définir des objectifs pour l'avenir. J'estime vraiment le fait que Chris ait travaillé avec des athlètes différents de sports variés. Il comprend que le pentathlon moderne comprend des mouvements asymétriques. Chris a clairement de l'expérience et explique les raisons de chaque exercice. J'aime vraiment son expertise et le fait qu'il me fait tant apprendre. Je me sens plus fort et c'est évidemment gratifiant d'en constater l'impact. Chris est un excellent entraîneur! »

Institut canadien du sport de Calgary : @csicalgary

Rédigé par Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler

Photo de Dave Holland: @CSICalgaryPhoto

Chris Osmond: A Unique Coach Within the CSIC

Chris Osmond, a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary, has the difficult task of providing individualized services to athletes from a variety of sports. While the majority of the CSIC's strength and conditioning coaches work with groups of athletes who belong to a single sport, Osmond has taken on the role of coaching athletes who are not part of a training group.

Osmond typically works with five to eight athletes at time, all from varying sports. His athletes' levels range from junior national teams to the professional or Olympic level. Some of the athletes that he is currently coaching are modern pentathlete Joshua Riker-Fox, baseball player Mike Soroka, curler John Morris, and ice cross athlete Kyle Croxall.

Osmond enjoys the challenge of working with a diverse range of individuals. He says that in order to create the best plan for each athlete, "I educate myself about each sport. The programs I create are individualized based on assessments of movement, power and capacity to do work, together with my analysis of the sport and athlete."

After the initial assessments and testing are performed through the CSIC's High Performance Laboratory, Osmond creates a yearly training program (YTP). Once the YTP has been established, more detailed programming takes place with other coaching staff who will be involved in training a specific athlete. The training process includes establishing small cycles within the YTP that enable the coaching staff to focus on priorities that have been identified through the assessment process.

Joshua Riker-Fox's athlete-coach relationship with Osmond is still in the early stages. However, he already has a strong belief in Osmond's coaching style. When asked about Osmond, Riker-Fox says, "We started with a thorough review of where I am at currently and what my goals are moving forward. I really appreciate that Chris has worked with a variety of sports and athletes. He has an understanding of the asymmetric movement in the event of modern pentathlon. Chris is obviously experienced and shares the rationale behind what we do. I really enjoy Chris' expertise and the fact that I am learning so much from him. I feel stronger and it is obviously rewarding for me to see its impact. Chris is a great coach!"

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary

Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler

Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Coach Driven and Expert Led: Advanced Coaching Diploma

Behind every athletic performance is a dedicated, well-trained coach. A coach who has dedicated years of their life to discovering what makes their athletes tick while working to stay current in areas such as sport science, technique and nutrition, to name just a few.

Recognizing that coaches have busy and demanding schedules, the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary), on behalf of the Coaching Association of Canada, is excited to announce a new delivery format of the internationally recognized Advanced Coaching Diploma (ACD). Instructed by an array of veteran Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute (COPSI) Network experts, Program Director Jason Sjostrom says the new ACD will thrive as a “coach driven, expert led, peer enriched, and mentor supported structured learning community – this is 21st century adult learning at its best.”

Considered the pinnacle of the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), the ACD features a unique new facilitated learning format that provides adaptability for coach-learners. Within the new framework there are four different ways that coaches can take part in the program: in person, participating through live webinars, via distance learning by watching a recording of the class, or as a “parachute” coach, coming in to the classroom for certain sessions and completing other aspects remotely. Sjostrom says, “The CSI Calgary is very excited about this blended learning opportunity that will allow coaches from Alberta and across Canada to be part of our program.”

The ACD curriculum’s four core themes (Coaching Leadership, Coaching Effectiveness, Performance Planning, and Training and Competition Readiness) are instructed by experienced professionals within the COPSI Network such as Dr. Cari Din, Olympic Silver Medallist and PhD in the field of Leadership Behaviour. The curriculum is science-based and results focused. ACD coaches’ learning can be applied and evaluated in a way that compliments the sport specific training available through the National Sport Organizations in Competition Development Advanced Gradation coaching contexts. The program also boasts access to mentorship from high-level coaches and support staff with backgrounds in a wide variety of sports. In combination, the curriculum and support afforded to the new ACD coach-learners will facilitate learning opportunities that are not experienced in a traditional classroom setting.

Similar programs are available across the COPSI Network in both languages. The ACD Program lead by CSI Ontario will focus on summer sports, offering most of their learning opportunities in the winter months. L’Institut national du sport du Québec will continue to offer the program for French speaking coaches with intake in June.

Applications are currently being accepted for the session hosted by CSI Calgary. The two-year program will begin in April and run until the end of November in 2016 and 2017. Current diploma candidates are primarily from winter sports including Alpine, Biathlon, and Curling. There are also coaches from summer sports such as Basketball and Wrestling. Coaches have applied from Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick.

Don’t miss your chance to continue pursuing excellence in sport! For more information, or to register, please visit www.csicalgary.ca/advanced-coaching-diploma  or contact Program Director Jason Sjostrom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Applications will be accepted until February 15.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Coaching and the desire to learn

In a country as vast as Canada, it can be challenging to offer accessibility to niche education programs centred in one location. In the case of the Advanced Coaching Diploma (ACD) offered by the CSI Calgary, the program has historically been limited to those living in Calgary or those willing to relocate.

Recently, the adoption of a new online platform called D2L (Desire2Learn) has helped to reduce the ACD’s dependency on geography and opened access to coaches across Canada. “We recognized that the program wasn’t meeting the needs of the students,” says Jason Sjostrom, Director of the Coaching Program at CSI Calgary. “D2L offers access to the ACD and makes coach education accessible. It’s not realistic for everyone to move to Calgary,” he adds.

D2L is an education space that houses all the features the ACD is looking for and offers a degree of collaboration, personalization and accessibility that was missing from the program. Sjostrom says that because coaches are not always in a major centre and their schedules don’t align with traditional learning environments, D2L is needed to make the ACD more accessible and flexible for students. “The future of adult learning is asynchronous learning,” he adds. “Coaches are in the field upwards of 30 hours a week and they need access to the program on their time.”

For Dr. Cari Din, ACD Cohort Mentor and Leadership & Coaching Effectiveness Expert, D2L has modernized the learning environment. “Now we can do exercises in real time with real situations,” she says. “In the past we would create simulations for the coaches to work through, which doesn’t have the same effect.” The program is not meant to replace other forms of education however, but rather to enhance. “We’re striking a fine balance,” says Din.

In addition to increased access, one key benefit of the D2L platform is collaboration. Users can share everything in one place, whether it be assignments, class content, discussion forums and even simple voice recordings. Lorelei St. Rose is a short track speed skating coach in Prince George, B.C. For her, D2L helps coaches avoid getting stuck in their own sport. “We collaborate and share, which opens other avenues for learning from each other,” she says.

Steven Hitchings, a swim coach at the Saskatoon Goldfins Swim Club, likes the ability to personalize everything in D2L to suit his needs. “I can personalize the platform and go back and put things together in a way that makes sense to me,” he explains. “I can organize everything the way I want and go back to it later for review.”

The program has greatly simplified the delivery of the program and provided a lot of opportunities to share work in a structured place and to reflect on that work. “It’s very inclusive and it promotes that reflection from a non-traditional angle,” says Din.

St. Rose says that while it’s a bit more work to be a part of the group as compared to being there in person, using the technology to be a part of the virtual classroom comes close.

The platform, which was implemented through a partnership between the CSI Calgary, CSI Ontario and the Coaching Association of Canada, ultimately broadens the coaching education environment and enhances the ability of dedicated and motivated coaches to improve their knowledge and skills.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
12/04/17

Coaching the Coaches

For Luc Tremblay, a Montreal-based strength and conditioning coach who recently attended the CSI Calgary Strength and Power Performance Course, the drive to excel at his work is fuelled by seeing his athletes progress. “I’ve always liked to see how effort produces results. What keeps my passion going is seeing that magic with younger athletes and showing the way of being.”

This is exactly the impact that Matt Jordan, Director of Strength and Conditioning at CSI Calgary and the mastermind behind the course, is hoping to achieve. Driven by a desire to perpetually seek excellence in his work with the CSI Calgary Strength and Conditioning group, the vision for the course is to offer the best opportunities for development to other coaches and trainers at every level. Says Jordan, “If you’re leading the community, then people want to come and learn from you. We’re really committed to getting better and making an impact on the strength and conditioning community.”

The course focuses on both science and coaching, with attendees coming from all backgrounds and this year, from other countries as well. According to Tremblay, the benefits of the course include the content of the lectures and the networking opportunities. But he says the biggest value came from being able to witness and observe CSI Calgary athletes in their element.

“I was very impressed by having athletes there in real time, on the floor. Seeing how they train, how they rest between sets. I can bring that back with me and share it with my athletes. I can teach them that they need to train like a pro,” says Tremblay.

The practise of transferring and sharing knowledge within the system serves to develop coaches at every stage, from grassroots to high performance. This ultimately leads to spawning the next generation of athletes who will consequently progress to the next levels already equipped with the skills, habits and attitudes necessary to excel in the elite margins of sport.

According to Tremblay, “Having all of us there in the course is a benefit to the CSI Calgary as well, to welcome future athletes that were trained well and the right way. By enabling us with content, knowledge and expertise to work with our own top level athletes, when they reach that next level CSI Calgary can start with an athlete that has the right foundation.”

In addition to the synergistic benefits achieved for both coaches and future CSI Calgary athletes, the course helps the CSI Calgary Strength and Conditioning group improve too. Jordan says, “The participants in the course help support development in our team, which in turn helps us offer higher quality programming and courses like this one.” With conviction, he adds, “I strongly believe that we deliver to the highest level athletes, we are extremely knowledgeable and good teachers, and we can deliver this to the community.”

This limitless cycle of sharing, developing, learning and improving ultimately leads to fulfilling a mutual goal of achieving excellence in sport, at every level, for every player in the game.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

CSIC Athletes Contribute to PanAm Success

The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSIC) athletes are making their mark on the PanAm Games in Toronto. As of July 16, half of the way through the competition, Team Canada is leading the medal standings with a total of 97 medals.

As expected, CSIC athletes have been great contributors to the results. Gold medal performances have come from Ashley Steacy in rugby, Monique Sullivan and Kate O’Brien in track cycling’s team sprint, Genevieve Morrison in 48kg wrestling, and a double gold medal performance by Lynda Kiejko in shooting. Silver medals have been won by gymnast Kevin Lytwyn on the horizontal bar and Andrew Schnell in doubles squash. The medal haul so far is rounded out with bronze medals earned by the men’s water polo team and roller speed skating’s Jordan Belchos .

Belchos is a rare two-sport athlete, who competes during the winter months in international events in long track speed skating. Belchos, a native of Toronto, was ecstatic with his performance in the 10,000m points race, saying, “It was such an honour to compete in my hometown. Travelling to and from the venues I passed by the rink where I had my first speed skating race and by the hospital where I was born. It really made things feel like they were coming full circle for me. I knew my Pan Am race would be a once in a lifetime opportunity and I knew I was a long shot to win a medal but I never wavered in my belief that I could do something special in the race.”

Belchos has been living in Calgary for a decade and attributes much of his athletic success to his training environment, noting, “I'm privileged to be supported by the CSIC and train in the professional setting and environment that they provide. So many of the steps I've taken in my career have been under the guidance of many CSIC staff including Derek Robinson, Scott Maw, and Kelly Anne Erdman.”

With many events still to be contested, be sure to keep an eye on the rest of the CSIC athletes and all of Team Canada! 

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary

Written by Brittany Schussler: @bschussler

Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

CSIC Baseball Player Mike Soroka Drafted to Atlanta Braves

The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary was thrilled with the news that Calgary-born athlete Mike Soroka had been drafted to Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves. Soroka, a right-handed pitcher, was picked in the first round, 28th overall.

The draft comes at a busy time in 17-year-old Soroka's life, with his graduation from Bishop Caroll High School occurring on June 19. When asked about the current changes in his life, Sororka is still focused on baseball, saying that his goal has always been to be a professional pitcher. He emphasized that pitching has always "been what I've loved to do...throw on the mound and be in control. That's just something that I enjoy."

Soroka has been an athlete training at the CSIC since November 2014, when he began working in the high performance weight room with Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Osmond and using the on-site cold tubs to enhance his recovery. Osmond had previously worked with a baseball team that Soroka had played on, and based on that experience Soroka knew that Osmond's expertise would help him reach the next level of his career. Their work together has paid off, with Soroka noting that all of his training was "very well monitored. I've had other trainers that tried to just bulk me up, but Chris was very focused on being functional. All his exercises were adaptived to baseball. I also liked that I sometimes wanted to push the weight up but Chris was focused on consistency and solid improvement."

After working one-on-one with Soroka, Chris Osmond is not surprised at the Braves' decision to draft him. Osmond describes Soroka as ambitious and focused, saying, "It was a pleasure working with Mike. His determination to be a better athlete physically and mentally was evident during every training session. I'm extremely happy to see all of his hard work paying off."

As Soroka gets ready to fly off to Atlanta for medical assessments and what he hopes will be his official team signing, he is noticeably excited, saying, "It's been a whirlwind with many ups and downs, but I now have to focus on what's to come." From everyone at the CSIC, "Good luck Mike!"

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary

Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler

Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

CSIC Workshop Focuses on Weight Issues of Female Athletes

On May 11, 2015, Registered Psychologist Natasha Kutlesa gave a presentation entitled "How to Talk About Weight to Female Athletes." The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary's boardroom was filled to its twenty-four person capacity with the CSIC's coaches and support staff, underscoring the importance of the issue.

Kutlesa has been a part of the CSIC's mental performance team for ten years. After having the experience of working with many athletes who have issues with body image, disordered eating has become one of the areas that she specializes in. She conceived of the concept for this workshop after noting that there is a strong recurrence of eating disorders and body image issues among athletes. This is emphasized by research that has shown elite athletes as being more susceptible to eating disorders than the general population.

Noticing that coaches struggle to find the best ways of communicating with athletes who are battling disordered eating, Kutlesa recognized this as a good opportunity to facilitate a workshop in which coaches and therapists from different sports could share with each other and learn from others' experiences. This continuing education provided by the CSIC is one of the ways that Canadian coaches and support staff are given current relevant information.

Kutlesa put together an informative presentation that outlined the dos and don'ts of addressing the sensitive topic. She discussed signs and symptoms of disordered eating, providing methods for doing a general assessment to analyze how athletes are eating and recovering from training. She then gave suggestions for ways that staff can approach athletes' different issues using case-study examples. She reinforced the notion that if staff have concerns with one of their athletes, the first thing to do is direct them to a physician. The physician will then determine the appropriate course of action. She ensured that each person would retain the information by providing a handout titled "Coach & Athletic Trainer Toolkit."

Because of the topic's importance, Kutlesa's workshop will likely be offered again in the future. Additionally, there is discussion of forming sport-specific workshops to address the various ways that different sports uniquely influence an athlete's body image.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

CSIC’s Marcotte Attends Summit of the Americas

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary
Elise Marcotte, Communications Lead at the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary, had the privilege of being selected to attend the Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama from April 10-11, 2015.

Marcotte earned this opportunity as a result of her appointment as Assistant Chef de Mission for the upcoming 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. In this role she will work with Chef de Mission Curt Harnett and Assistant Chef, Waneek Horn-Miller. This is a significant accomplishment for Elise, as the Games are the world's third-largest multi-sport event and the biggest ever hosted by Canada.

CSIC’s Morris Wins World Curling Bronze

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary athlete John Morris won bronze at the World Curling Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia on April 5th when Team Canada defeated Finland. Morris was an integral part of the home team during the tournament, which took place from March 28th - April 5th, 2015. Morris, who was a member of the gold medal winning team at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, currently throws third on a team with Nolan Thiessen, Carter Rycroft, and Pat Simmons.

The CSIC facilities at Markin MacPhail Centre recently became Morris' home training centre. The facilities were on display from January 8th-11th, when WinSport hosted the World Financial Group Continental Cup for Curling. The tournament had both male and female curlers from all over the world. During the competition, many of the top curlers used the CSIC facility.

John, is studying nutrition and working as a firefighter in the Rocky View Municipality, is an athlete who benefits from having all of their athletic needs met in a centralized location. His training regime often consists of workouts in the gym followed by treatment from Kevin Wagner, the CSIC's Director of Physiotherapy. He concludes his routine in the athletes' kitchen where he can prepare his post work out shake while sharing his experiences and getting inspired by Canada's high performance athletes from a wide variety of sports.

The Simmons team started their run earlier this year with a unique story. They began the qualifying tournament, the Brier, with Morris being positioned as the team's Skip. After a tough start, Morris made the decision to move into a more familiar position as the team's Third and have teammate Pat Simmons take over as Skip. The decision proved to be ideal for the team, who proceeded to win the Brier and go on to win the World Championship bronze.

With their win at the Brier, the Simmons rink has automatically qualified for the 2016 Brier. Defending their title will surely be a part of the team's long-term plan to train and compete together with the goal of representing Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Korea. Morris is planning to make use of the CSIC's combination of facilities and services throughout the quadrennial and hopes to bring his team members to Calgary for training camps in order for them to make use of the facility's benefits as well.

The CSIC enjoys having a world-class athlete from yet another sport reaping the benefits that it has to offer while inspiring the athletes around him. Congratulations to John and the rest of Team Canada.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary

Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

CSIC’s President Henwood An International Leader

On April 23, 2015, the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary's President and CEO Dale Henwood participated in meetings in Lausanne, Switzerland between representatives of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and members of the Association of Sport Performance Centres (ASPC). Henwood is the Chair of the ASPC, an organization that was formed in 1999 and is made up of representatives from over 80 high performance training centres from 30 countries across the world. Every two years the members hold the Forum on Elite Sport to discuss initiatives that will help to elevate high performance sport across the globe, promote fellowship, and, ideally, make the world better through sport.

The goal of the ASPC meeting in Lausanne was to interact with members of the International Olympic Committee on the role and purpose of the ASPC and how they can assist the Olympic movement. Chair Henwood led the presentation along with the ASPC's Vice President for Europe Tapio Korjus (Finland), Secretary General Josep Escoda (Spain), and Treasurer Tracy Lamb (USA).

The ASPC's proposal was aimed at promoting exposure of their association to the IOC. The ASPC members outlined their desire to share best practices among countries and high performance centres. This created the opportunity to present fresh perspectives and up to date information in the world of sport. The objective of ASPC members is to stay abreast of what other leading nations are doing through identifying trends and challenges within high performance centres. Additionally, the ASPC members place importance on sharing their knowledge with developing countries in order to assist these countries, and their athletes, reach world class levels.


The CSIC's involvement with the ASPC is an example of the Institute's leadership amongst high performance sport centres around the world. It is an opportunity to promote the CSIC globally. The CSIC continues to generate international respect and is recognized as being among the best in the world at delivering quality programs and expertise to Canadian athletes and coaches. ASPC involvement allows the CSIC to stay on the cutting edge and to be integrated in the global sport community. Furthermore, the interaction amongst members allows the profile of CSIC to be shared with organizations such as the IOC, Pan American Sport Organizations, Association of National Olympic Committees and other leading high performance centres. Henwood describes his involvement in the ASPC as vitally important because he believes that the CSIC should "continue to be forward thinking and outward reaching in all that we do."

To find out more about the ASPC please visit www.sportperformancecentres.org.

 

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler

Cycling Centre Calgary: The Pathway to the Top

Do you want to train and develop as a cyclist? You can do that at the Cycling Centre Calgary (CCC).

The CCC, run by the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary), has programs for cyclists of all ages and abilities in road, track, cyclocross, mountain and para cycling. Based out of the Olympic Oval at the University of Calgary, the CCC takes athletes through a four-stage pathway: Development, Link, Performance, and High Performance.

The Development stage targets young athletes who do not have racing experience. These athletes begin training three times weekly working towards the Link stage, which aims to fast-track athletes to the Performance level through a more intense training schedule of five days per week.

Once athletes have progressed to the Performance and High Performance stages, the CSI Calgary’s team of sport scientists begin to put athletes through testing and data monitoring.

The specialists work closely with the CCC’s head coach, Philippe Abbott, to provide the athletes with specialized training programs that target their individual goals. Abbott gained his experienced racing professionally on the North American circuit and is also the Alberta provincial cycling coach.

The CCC has cyclists training in all stages of the pathway, giving newcomers the added benefit of interacting with veterans like Kris Dahl. Dahl, an idol to many CCC athletes, coaches the Link group when he is not away competing at big events such as the Tour of Alberta.

The CCC is also home to Liah Harvie and Gabby Traxler, who recently represented Canada in the junior categories at the 2015 UCI Road World Championships. This career stepping-stone will hopefully lead them to success at the senior level, such as that experienced by their predecessors Allison Beveridge and Kirsti Lay.

Beveridge and Lay are key members of Canada’s track pursuit team that won bronze at the World Track Cycling Championship in February and won gold at the 2015 PanAm Games. Beveridge began as a development athlete at the CCC and has diligently worked her way through the pathway. Her progress has culminated in a second world bronze medal in the Scratch Race.

Kirsty Lay, a former speed skater, was fast-tracked along the CCC pathway after being identified as having potential through the CSI Calgary’s Talent Lab. Lay received close monitoring and testing through the CSI Calgary so that Abbott could have extra insight while writing her program.

The CCC is building on its success and hopes to recruit new cyclists who can emulate the success of Harvey, Traxler, Dahl, Beveridge and Lay. To become a member and start down the pathway of your cycling career, visit http://www.csicalgary.ca/index.php/athlete-development/cycling-program to register. All potential athletes are offered a free one-month trial, so be sure to come out and give cycling a try!

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Dr. Olympian

Not many Olympic medalists have a Ph.D. in neuroscience, but Dr. Tara Whitten is an exception. The CSI Calgary athlete and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in track cycling became fascinated with the human brain upon reading a book on the topic in high school. She came away with the sense that neuroscience is a field where a lot of unsolved mysteries remain. Her new passion for the brain nurtured a desire to help solve these mysteries.

Years later, as Whitten was finishing her Ph.D., which focused on studying electrophysiology in the hippocampus (a part of the brain that is important in learning and memory), she was trying to think of how she could bridge the gap between neuroscience and sport – her two passions in life. “I thought there might be a way to combine the two,” she says. “In the end I thought concussion would be a perfect fit.”

But first there was the little matter of chasing her final Olympic dream. For 2016, Whitten chose to focus on the individual time trial in cycling and became a legitimate medal contender. Improbably, in March, during her final preparations leading up to the Games she suffered a debilitating neck injury from a crash during a training ride on the course in Rio.

At first, Whitten’s recovery was uncertain and unpredictable – she had a concussion and broken bone at the base of her skull. This uncertainty led to thoughts about the future. “I was still recovering from my accident in Rio and I wasn’t really sure how things would go,” she says. “In that situation I was thinking a lot about what I was going to do.”

In the end, she pushed through a remarkable recovery and finished an impressive seventh place in Rio. Despite good feelings about her performance, she still laments that she could have done better, but she will have no time to dwell on the past – a new challenge awaits.

Dr. Brian Benson is the Chief Medical Officer and Director of Sport Medicine at the CSI Calgary and has a clinical consulting practice in Sport Medicine at the WinSport Medicine Clinic with a special interest in acute sport concussion. He was Whitten’s physician during her recovery, but now he’ll be her co-supervisor as she begins working as a postdoctoral fellow in his concussion research group.

Despite having a concussion herself and being under the care of Dr. Benson, Whitten came across the job posting honestly – an internet search for a postdoctoral position in Calgary in concussion research. “I was still wearing the neck brace during the interview,” she laughs.

The two-year position is jointly funded by Own the Podium and Mitacs, a national, not-for-profit funding organization. Whitten’s work will focus primarily on measuring and assessing visual impairments in concussion patients. Using robotic technology developed by Dr. Benson, Whitten will develop a task to measure oculomotor function, which will expand the existing capabilities of the diagnostic tool.

According to Dr. Benson, there is currently no task or program available to measure oculomotor function in concussion patients. “Tara will be breaking new ground with her research.” He says vision problems are common in concussion patients, such as difficulty focusing, which can lead to dizziness, but are difficult to assess in a clinical setting. Whitten’s research will help remove the subjective component of assessing and monitoring concussions and when an athlete is ready to return to play.

Whitten wasn’t able to benefit from this testing herself during her injury, something she thinks could have helped her recovery. “There was a window of time when I thought I was 100% but every once in a while something would happen that made me question that,” she says. “Having this test would have helped me know if I was fully recovered or not.”

Her unique background as an athlete and neuroscientist, as well as her recent experience with a concussion injury, made her the ideal candidate to join Dr. Benson’s team. “She brings a high performance perspective, a neuroscience degree and training in programming and analysis,” says Dr. Benson. “She is the perfect fit for our concussion program.”

For Whitten, it feels strange how everything came together. Ph.D., Olympian and concussion, all converging at a time and place that feels right as she transitions away from life as an athlete. “I feel very lucky to have something to focus on. I feel that there are a lot of possibilities and I’m excited about it now.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
28/09/16

Dubnicoff Leads Cycling’s Next Generation

Tanya Dubnicoff is a Cycling World Champion, World Record Holder and three-time Olympian in addition to being an Olympic medal winning Cycling Coach. One of the most decorated cyclists in Canadian history, she now works with aspiring cyclists as the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary Cycling, Athlete Development Lead.

Coaching cycling programs from the development level all the way up to high performance athletes in the disciplines of road, track, mountain, cyclo-cross and para-cycling, Dubnicoff says that her program is unique because of the group atmosphere and appropriate stages of development for the sport, as well as the year round coached training environment. “We take the athletes’ entire well-being into account for their training and development.”

The new coaching position is the perfect fit for Dubnicoff. As an athlete, she moved from Winnipeg to Calgary in 1995 to become a member of the National Sports Centre, now the CSI Calgary. Recently starting as a coach at the CSI Calgary, Dubnicoff says that taking the position “felt like coming home, with the comforts of familiarity. There are so many people that make the Calgary training environment great, specifically the Olympic Oval and the CSI Calgary staff. This is something that people do not understand if you do not come from this training environment. There are a variety of talented individuals wanting to succeed and being provided with what they need. It is not like this anywhere else.”

Dubnicoff is particularly excited about the Cycling Development Program for youth aged seven to thirteen. Providing coaching to both able and disabled bodied cyclists, the program’s goal is to promote physical literacy while providing youth with cycling skills and awareness. The program is geared to working towards individual goals - to race or simply enjoy a ride with family and friends.

Overall, Dubnicoff is thrilled to be the face of an established cycling program, which has been strong since its inception in 1998. She raves, “Coaching at the CSI Calgary, I see the opportunity to continue to build on the strong cycling community. Athletes have so many more opportunities today. For example, top-secret training that was once reserved for the elite has now trickled down and is now being implemented as best training practices for our youth. It is fascinating to me, and there is so much potential. This excites me, this is my passion!”

For more information on the cycling programs visit http://csicalgary.ca/athlete-development/cycling-program.

 

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler

Dustin Cook Goes the Distance

Dustin Cook wasn’t sure he would remember how to ski. But after nearly a year off snow – his longest break since he took up the sport at age two – Cook patiently and doggedly worked to recover from a catastrophic knee injury. He was pleased, and relieved, to discover that he certainly does remember how to ski.

“It feels amazing to be back on snow,” he says. “I wasn’t sure what to expect but it couldn’t have gone any better. I was a bit surprised. I was kind of assuming the worst, but everything went awesome.”

Coming off a recent two-week training camp in Chile, Cook is looking forward to a return to racing this fall. And so he should be – eight years of persistent and consistent racing on the World Cup circuit led to a breakout season in 2014-2015 that saw Cook win a World Championship silver medal in the super-G and gold and bronze medals in subsequent World Cups.

He was well poised to maintain this momentum last season when calamity struck. During a training run in Austria, Cook crashed and sustained torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments (ACL & MCL) in his right knee. His season was over before it started, he flew home to have reconstructive surgery and start a new journey – the long, painful and challenging road back to racing.

Patience and hard work helped him recover, but he didn’t do it alone. His support team at Alpine Canada Alpin and the CSI Calgary built a plan for every stage of Cook’s recovery. Jamie McCartney is the Strength and Power Coach at the CSI Calgary for the men’s Alpine ski team. He was instrumental in both planning and facilitating Cook’s rehabilitation.

“Once an athlete gets injured he becomes his own team, now we have a specific focus on that individual and the work flow becomes about getting that athlete into the proper care,” says McCartney. He adds, “We build a plan around the medical timelines we are given and adjust the protocol from that point on. It’s a concerted effort by the entire Integrated Service Team.”

In the early stages, the process is about recovery from surgery, then rehabilitation starts. This eventually crosses into pre-habilitation, where strength and conditioning can begin. The timeframe varies for each athlete depending on how recovery progresses.

Part of Cook’s recovery incorporated the use of functional testing in the CSI Calgary’s strength lab to identify deficits in strength and muscle stability. According to McCartney, jump testing using force plates is a performance marker that shows bilateral asymmetry between the injured knee and good knee. “With catastrophic injury we can see asymmetry of up to 40-50%. We are always going back to reassess whether the athlete is tracking back towards baseline results [on the injured knee].”

McCartney also works with the physiotherapist to design an appropriate training program to address the injured knee. The task can be daunting given the deficits they see. “Usually with an ACL injury the quadriceps muscles atrophy, there is scar tissue and the gluts are inactive. The body needs to be retrained to move and to rehabilitate lost movement patterns.”

Although it can be overwhelming for an athlete to endure a year-long rehabilitation program, there is potential for a silver lining. “With all the time I had to recover we made a plan to fill a gap in my training – I was able to work on improving my core strength, which I felt could be better,” says Cook. He feels stronger now than he’s ever been.

McCartney attests that he’s never seen someone be as professionally committed and focused on doing the rehab as Dustin Cook. “It was his number one priority. He trusted his team around him and did what he needed to do.” Cook is modest about his progress, “There was no magic formula to getting back,” he says. “It was just having a good team around me and doing the work.”

As it is with elite athletes, everything Cook has learned during his long journey to the top is not easily forgotten, the least of which is skiing. How to perform, how to win – that is what Dustin remembers most and it helped get him through a long year of rehabilitation. “There has never been a doubt in my mind that I could get back. I worked so hard to get there and I didn’t forget that.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
05/10/16

Élise Marcotte de l’ICSC assiste au Sommet des Amériques

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary
Élise Marcotte, chef des Communications à l'Institut canadien du sport de Calgary (ICSC), a eu l'honneur d'être choisie pour assister au septième Sommet des Amériques à Panama City, au Panama, les 10 et 11 avril 2015.

La nomination de Mme Marcotte comme chef de mission adjointe pour les prochains Jeux panaméricains de 2015 à Toronto lui a permis de recevoir cet honneur. Dans le cadre de ce poste, elle travaillera avec Curt Harnett, chef de mission, et Waneek Horn-Miller, une autre chef de mission adjointe. Il s'agit d'une réalisation importante pour Mme Marcotte, puisque les Jeux représentent le troisième événement multisports en importance au monde et le plus important jamais tenu au Canada.

Enhanced IST Support for Nordic Sports

With Canadian Nordic and Para Nordic athletes gaining momentum on the world stage, athlete and coach needs for CSI Calgary’s Integrated Support Team (IST) services are growing. This is where Jessica Kryski, CSI Calgary Sport Physiologist provides the necessary support.

Originally based out of CSI Calgary’s main offices, Kryski’s expertise was increasingly being utilized by Canmore Nordic athletes and coaches, and travel between Calgary and Canmore was intensifying. In June 2016, Kryski moved to Canmore to be a better on-site liason with the Nordic National teams.

Kryski assists with weekly and yearly Nordic planning, physiological testing, monitoring and she also helps at some training sessions. Being based in Canmore allows her to be more available to the High Performance Directors, coaches, skiers and other IST members. “It is very useful to be able to attend training sessions more regularly in order to properly gauge their load and impact,” explains Kryski. “Being permanently on site allows opportunity for more spontaneous conversations, and building stronger relationships and trust with the teams.”

Emily Nishikawa is a Canmore-based cross country ski athlete, primarily competing in distance events. Kryski has been working with her for the past few years, and they have developed a strong working relationship. “ I feel like I can always run questions by her and really value her expert opinion. Together with my coach, we can tailor my training plan according to test results as well as daily monitoring. Having Jessica based in Canmore just makes everything much easier and more smooth.”

Cross Country Ski Canada notices a difference now that they have a CSI Calgary IST member on site. “It’s made a huge difference having Jessica’s expertise in Canmore full time, working as a collective with all the Nordic disciplines amassing a large bank of knowledge,” says Tom Holland, High Performance Director. “Kryski’s work also extends across the country with National and Development team athletes and coaches.“

The change is also beneficial to other IST members within the CSI Calgary. Anna Aylwin, Head Calgary Strength and Conditioning Coach for Nordic sports says that Kryski’s move to Canmore has elevated the IST approach to new levels. “The way we work as an IST with Nordic sports is very hands on. Having Jessica there gives us more of an established base and knowing she’s there makes working with these athletes in a satellite location much more efficient. I feel that we’ve made a huge step forward in establishing a centre of excellence for Nordic sports.”

Cross Country Ski Canada, Biathlon Canada and Para Nordic Skiing have their home base at the Canmore Nordic Centre. With access to more than 100 km of world class trails, 31 firing lanes for biathlon, a paved rollerski loop and biathlon competition trails, more than 25 CSI-supported National Team athletes, and additional development groups train at the Centre.

Ski Nationals 2017 will be held at the Canmore Nordic Centre from March 18 – 25, 2017. It’s a great opportunity to see Canada’s best compete leading up to the Peyongchang Olympics in February 2018.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Lisa Thomson
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
22/02/17

Erdman to Receive Honours

The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSIC) is proud to announce that Kelly Anne Erdman will be awarded the 2015 Dietitians of Canada Ryley Jeffs Memorial Lecture Award. Erdman is being recognized for her passion and dedication as a registered dietitian. Her career as a Performance Dietitian began 28 years ago at the Canadian Sport Institute's inception.

Erdman will receive the honours at the Dietitians of Canada's annual conference in Quebec City on June 6. This award is given to individuals who have shown vision and pioneering spirit in their field. Erdman fits the criteria of exemplifying "the ideals of dedication to the profession and has a proven ability to chart new directions in the field of dietetics." As an award recipient, she has been asked to give a forty-minute presentation inspiring the audience to contribute to their respective professions through extraordinary work.

To describe Erdman as a pioneer in the field of Sports Nutrition is an understatement. Erdman has authored 7 peer-reviewed journal articles and was the first dietitian to research the supplementation habits and dietary intakes of Canadian athletes. Her passion for sport nutrition is grounded in her own experiences as a high performance athlete. Erdman was a member of the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Team as a track cyclist. She has worked with a wide variety of sports at the CSIC throughout her career, including the 4-time Olympic Gold Medallist Women's Hockey Team.

Erdman's involvement has been integral to the continued advancements within the CSIC. She has been a driving force in keeping the Institute and its athletes world-leading, helping to develop the popular Fuel For Gold menus, the curriculum for the National Coaching Program, sponsorships for supplements and food products, and the third-party testing of athlete supplements. Her ingenuity has also been integral to athletic communities across the country. This has been demonstrated through her work with a variety of organizations such as the Calgary Flames, whose game day nutrition plans were written by Erdman. She has also done extensive writing for several different groups such as coach.ca and the Sport Medicine Council of Alberta.

The CSIC and its athletes are proud to have an asset such as Kelly Anne Erdman on their team. Her life-long commitment to the CSIC and support of high performance athletes has resulted in research derived knowledge and athlete medals. For these reasons, the Ryley Jeffs Memorial Lecture Award could not be going to a more deserving candidate.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Eyes on the Winter Youth Olympic Games

Canadians have an upcoming group of athletes to watch for in the near future: the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Team. The team is already en route to the Athletes’ Village in Lillehammer, Norway where they will compete from February 12-21.

The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) will be well represented at the YOG. CSI Calgary athlete alumnus Eric Mitchell, a ski jumper who competed at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, has been named as a Games Young Ambassador. As a Young Ambassador, Mitchell’s role is to live by the Olympic values while inspiring the athletes to get the most out of their Games experience.

NextGen Luge athlete Brooke Apshkrum is also part of the YOG delegation. Apshkrum is currently in Winterburg, Germany training with CSI Calgary Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Lane. Apshkrum is one of nine YOG athletes who call Alberta home. Lane says, “I'm really excited for Brooke and the rest of our Luge team to apply the skills they developed in the summer months while preparing for this opportunity. The culture of excellence that we have developed at the CSI Calgary with off-ice training has undoubtedly played a role in Brooke's approach to training on the ice as well. I'm proud of her and excited to see where this experience leads her in the future.”

Adding to the list of CSI Calgary representatives, recent Advanced Coaching Diploma (ACD) graduate Lucas McGurk has been named the Head Coach of the YOG Biathlon team. A former cross country ski racer, McGurk retired from racing in 2010. He furthered his knowledge through the multi-sport theory classes at the National Coaching Certification Program and then continued into the ACD. Although this will be his first major Games, McGurk was chosen as the team’s Head Coach through a selection process where he says, “Having the ACD helped me stand out amongst the candidates. This is an awesome opportunity.”

As for his experience with the ACD program, McGurk feels that it was a great fit for him, saying he is, “Always looking for new information and new ways of doing things. It was the start of a clear path for me in coaching. I was very fortunate to meet several high level coaches in a variety of sports and we had a lot of cross pollination of ideas. The other coach-learners were amazing. You are learning from the teachers but you are also learning from your peers.”

The CSI Calgary is represented in Norway by leaders, coaches and athletes. Don’t forget to cheer on our young Canadian competitors as they take on the world at the Youth Olympic Games! Be sure to visit http://www.lillehammer2016.com for up-to-date results.

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ACD application reminder

The CSI Calgary’s next ACD session begins in April 2016. Registrations are being accepted until February 15. To register, visit www.csicalgary.ca/advanced-coaching-diploma  or contact Program Director Jason Sjostrom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Female Bobsledders Prepare for International Rule Changes

The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) has implemented a rule change in female bobsled competition. The rule change states that the maximum weight of a team’s sled will need to be reduced from its former weight by a total of 15 kilograms for the upcoming season. It will then be reduced by another 15 kilograms for the subsequent season. This change aims to increase the level of competition among nations with the hope that it will encourage a wider range of body types to be involved in the sport.

The Canadian bobsled athletes and staff, who are based out of the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSIC), believe that the rule change will have a positive impact on their team. Speed and Strength Coach Quin Sekulich notes that the weight reduction makes the sport more inclusive and that it “will make things easier on the recruitment side to find fast Canadian girls who weigh 155-165 pounds instead of 170-180 pounds.”

Two-time Olympic Champion Kaillie Humphries is confident that the changes will be positive for her sport. As one of the only women in the world who pilots both a women’s two-man team and a men’s four-man team, she knows that she will need to make adaptations in the way she pilots her sled. She says, “Overall, this is great news for me on the women’s side. However, as a pilot this poses a challenge because of the difference between an extremely light women's two-man sled and a very heavy four-man sled. By lightening the overall weight by a drastic amount, we become more susceptible to skidding and sliding around, which makes the sled harder to control.”

Continuing to develop the sport of women’s bobsleigh by increasing the depth of competition is an important goal, and the main reason for the rule change. Humphries hopes that the new rule, “Does the job it is supposed to do and will get more women participating in the sport from all over the world. Next season will be exciting.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @bschussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

For the End Game, There’s Game Plan

(left to right: Chandra Crawford, Neil Smith, Blythe Hartley, Will Dutton)

There are many common threads woven among the athlete experience that bind athletes together in an unspoken but profound way: voluntary physical suffering, heart palpitations on the starting line, elation in victory. But perhaps the most shared and unifying thread is the inevitable end game: the end, whether by choice or by fate, of a lifetime dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in sport.

The way of transition is a challenge unlike any other faced in sport; a journey that every athlete must make. Blythe Hartley, 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, describes her transition from diving to the ‘real world’ as the most difficult challenge of her entire career. “I knew I was going to retire after 2008, but I didn’t prepare. I knew it was looming even though I finished on a high and loved my sport. It was a difficult time, I wasn’t clear.”

For Will Dutton, 26, a long track speed skater and CSI Calgary athlete, the end came by choice after a disappointing 2014-2015 season, where love of sport waned and injury swallowed his progress. He pursued carpentry but it wasn’t long before the desire to compete returned. “I missed sport. My love for speed skating came back, but I was also asking myself “Where do I want to go with my life?”

For Hartley, Dutton and countless other CSI Calgary athletes struggling to answer that question there is Cara Button, Game Plan Advisor. Game Plan is Canada’s national athlete total wellness program supporting and empowering high performance athletes to pursue excellence during and beyond their sporting career.

Button nurtures relationships with the athletes throughout their careers, which helps her craft an individual approach to supporting each one through what can be a tough ride from sport to life. “I’m a mom to 300 young adults!” she laughs.

The skills gained from being an athlete endure for a lifetime but transitioning athletes can’t always see or appreciate how to apply them to a new career. It is Button’s job to help athletes realise their potential after sport. “We offer the resources but the onus is on the athlete. Athletes forget that they have all the skills. Sometimes they just need a little push and some one-on-one time to help them focus.” she says.

Neil Smith, the COO of Crescent Point Energy in Calgary, has supported CSI Calgary athletes for years. He is working with Button to help create employment opportunities for current and transitioning athletes. “One of the most important things to me is that athletes are willing to risk failure” he says, “I guarantee that the skills developed as an athlete are specifically those needed in a new career.”

At a recent networking event jointly hosted by CSI Calgary and Crescent Point Energy, current and retired athletes had the opportunity to meet industry professionals and learn some lessons from a panel discussion with Dutton, Hartley and Smith.

For Hartley, now a successful HR Advisor at ARC Resources, the support from Button and the CSI Calgary was invaluable. “I was very lucky to have the support from the CSI Calgary in that time, it was so helpful. It’s possible to get through it.”

With a plan for the future, Dutton is now in school and training for the next Olympics. In his first season back he won five World Cup medals, something he credits to his newfound sense of purpose. “I started to believe in myself. Having something that I believe in made my performance so much better, I had something else to focus on.”

If you are interested in hiring an athlete please contact Cara Button at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

 

From Olympian to PhD in Leadership Behaviour

Dr. Cari (Read) Din is an Olympic Silver Medallist in synchronized swimming. She also has a PhD in Leadership Behaviour and can link these two achievements to her involvement with the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSIC). Cari believes that the CSIC impacted her synchro career, and now with her knowledge in Leadership Behaviour wants to share her experience to positively influence others.

Din's lifelong relationship with the CSIC began while using the high performance coaching and sports science services to their maximum benefit en route to her 1996 Olympic medal winning performance. She believes that she "took advantage of every service" and was inspired to stay involved in sport beyond her athletic career giving credit to her CSIC employed strength and conditioning coach. He was "the reason I made the [medal winning] team." Noting that she was "shaped by my coaches as much as my parents," this experience catalyzed her curiosity for medal-winning leadership that drove her PhD research.

Cari received the Petro Canada Olympic Torch Scholarship to complete her Master's degree in Motor Learning. Her PhD research focused on the coach and athlete leadership that preceded Canadian Olympic gold medal winning performances in 2010. She has been able to translate her evidence based research into innovative coach development and mentorship.

Wanting to use her experience and education to promote and create highly impactful relationships between coaches and athletes, Din has worked with CSIC staff and integrated support team members to enhance their behaviours and, ultimately, improve athletes' results. She has also spent time facilitating workshops that the CSIC has hosted over the past months, focusing on women's leadership and development with both athletes and staff alike

Like many high performance athletes, Dr. Din has the drive and determination to succeed both in and out of sport. Her evolution through the multi-faceted CSIC channels has allowed her to make significant impacts in high performance sport at every level. From developing athlete to Olympic Medallist, from undergraduate degree to doctorate, and from pupil to advisor, Cari has helped to improve the sport community. Staying involved with the CSIC has been a main goal, in order to give back to the organization that has helped her dreams come true, both athletically and professionally.

Stay in the loop!

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary

Written by Brittany Schussler: @bschussler

Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Game Plan for the Long Run

Preparing for life after sport is not often at the forefront of athletes’ minds. The pressing demands of training and competition consume the majority of their energy and focus, which leaves little room for professional development outside of sport. However, there is a concerted effort at the CSI Calgary to offer athletes a variety of workshops and seminars through Game Plan with the aim of fostering skill development in areas that will help them thrive once they retire from sport.

Part of Amy Van Buskirk’s job as Athlete Services Coordinator at the CSI Calgary is to educate athletes about the programs available to them and encourage them to sign up. “Although the athletes don’t always have these programs on their radar and sometimes need a little push to sign up they are always so glad they do and are super thankful” she says. Courses offered include Financial Planning, Networking, Public Speaking, LinkedIn, Media Training and Branding & Marketing.

One recently retired athlete needs no push at all – Rudy Swiegers, Pairs Figure Skater and 2014 Olympian, signs up for every course he can. “Right now with any opportunity that comes up I just say ‘Why not?’ It’s good to grow as an athlete and as a person” he says. One of the key benefits that Swiegers has noted is that he can apply the skills he’s learning right away. “The public speaking course gave me skills that I can use in a job interview, where I can come up with ideas quickly and communicate them” he says, which is something he hopes to do in the near future.

For luge athlete Arianne Jones, who is working towards the 2018 Olympics, the courses aren’t only for life after sport. “It’s helpful for the future but it’s also really helpful now” she says. “With these workshops and events I can make connections now that lead to sponsorships during my athletic career as well as potential jobs when I am done.” She also has no concern that preparing for the future will detract from her luge career. “I think it’s a good thing to think about the future and it doesn’t take away from the competitive drive. Working towards the future and being competitive now can exist in synchronicity.”

What the athletes learn can be contagious. According to Van Buskirk, there is a peer-to-peer influence that helps the program grow and reach more athletes. “The athletes see other athletes go to the workshops and share what they’ve learned and that sparks others to get involved. It is absolutely worth their while” she says. Ultimately the goal is to help the athletes develop skills they can use in new careers after sport.

Jones acknowledges that the transition from sport to life will be challenging no matter how many workshops she takes or how well prepared she is. “No athlete quits and says, ‘I came out and things were great!’ That’s nobody’s story!” she laughs. Indeed, that transition can be difficult for many, if not most, athletes. But according to Jones, there is still a lot of value in working on professional development for the future when you’re still an athlete. “It makes you feel like you are doing the right thing now so that when you get there you have some skills and training behind you” she says.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
06/07/16

 

Generating a Performance Solution: When the Unexpected Happens

There were moments along the road to recovery where cyclist Tara Whitten felt things were not coming back the way they were supposed to. Her head and neck were immobilized in a brace for ten weeks, so that a crack in the base of her skull could heal. In order to keep training, she rode a stationary bike. “It wasn’t going well at first with the brace,” she recalls. “I was really overheating and the position was uncomfortable.”

Inexplicably, Whitten crashed head first into the back of a parked vehicle on her way back to the hotel after her final training ride in Rio at a reconnaissance camp in March. “I don’t remember what happened,” she says. “I’m missing twenty minutes of memory. I just remember seeing the back of the vehicle, it’s almost like a memory, a flash image.” The crash resulted in a concussion and crack in her occipital bone – her bike was undamaged.

Despite the setback, Whitten was able to quickly overcome her disappointment and anger. “I surprised myself when I got back and my perspective was really good. Pretty soon I accepted that I might not recover in time. I accepted that it might not happen.” Still, Whitten approached her recovery with unwavering focus and determination to do whatever she could to get back on the bike, and on the starting line in Rio.

That meant adjusting to some creative ways of enabling her to train. Dr. David Smith, Director of Sport Science at the CSI Calgary, was instrumental in helping Whitten train through her recovery. “I lay awake at night thinking about how we were going to get her on the bike with the neck brace on.” The result was a device that allowed Whitten to ride upright so that there was no downward pressure on her neck.

Coming back from serious injury just months before the Olympics took an army of support. Even before her plane touched down in Calgary, Dr. Smith had mobilized a team to help Whitten heal and get back on track for the Olympics. The team worked closely with Whitten and made adjustments almost daily to maximize her recovery.

“The CSI Calgary was incredible,” says Whitten. “I felt so supported through the whole process. There was huge collaboration between the support team and it was the best approach. I couldn’t have asked for a better team.” Dr. Smith says that Whitten did what she needed to do. “She had total trust in the support team in providing the right training and therapy, which minimized her recovery time,” he says.

Shayne Hutchins, Paramedical Lead at the CSI Calgary, worked closely with Whitten throughout her recovery and was impressed with her internal fortitude. “Her healing capacity is something special,” he says. “Healing takes an incredible amount of energy, but that plus training, therapy and stress takes a lot from a person.“

Whitten took things one day at a time. For someone used to planning out her entire season a year in advance, not knowing what would happen was challenging. “I wasn’t sure how quickly I would come back,” she says. Dr. Smith and the team had a similar outlook, “We always said we’re just going to do our best, no matter what adversity or challenge comes our way.”

Whitten still had to qualify for the Olympic team and had just one chance at a race in Quebec in early June. Her ability to race was in question up to the last minute. “Two weeks before the race Doc questioned whether I should go,” she recalls. “But as soon as I got the brace off it was night and day. I felt awesome. Just being outside again was amazing.” Doc says, “The day after the brace was off, Tara did a workout that convinced me she was ready to go.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, she placed second in that race and was the top Canadian. “I believed it was possible,” she says. “I did surprise myself in that first race back – I was thinking ‘just race, be in the moment.’” Three weeks later at the Canadian National Championships she won the time trial by 1:18, a huge margin. It meant securing her spot in Rio and regaining her potential as a medal threat.

It’s impossible to predict where Whitten might have found herself now if the injury hadn’t happened. A fork in the road that cannot be untraveled has reshaped her journey to Rio, a turn that could have ended her career. Remarkably, Whitten is unfazed by the detour. “Right now, I feel like I’m exactly where I would want to be.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
27/07/16

Get Your Motors Runnin’

Riding 750km in five days around Puerto Vallarta, Mexico might not sound like a break to most people, but for Canadian long track speed skater Jordan Belchos it was just the thing to help him kick-start his Olympic season. Throw in a couple of days eating tacos on the beach though, and then maybe you’ve got a recipe for a nice off-season, too.

Belchos’ main competitive season ended in February after the World Single Distance Championships but he didn’t want to lose any fitness, so he first opted to travel to the Netherlands to train with a pro-team and race a few marathons. “I wanted to train super hard and not waste any time,” he says.

His post-season trip to Mexico with a few teammates and girlfriend Valerie Maltais, a short track skater, led him back home to Calgary, where Belchos continued with some easy riding to avoid losing any of that built-up fitness. “My thinking on it is to come back to training not having lost any aerobic capacity. I enjoy riding and it keeps me in shape.”

Canadian skeleton athlete Jane Channell took a different approach to her off-season. After three months straight of being on the road competing on the World Cup circuit she was mentally and physically exhausted and headed home to Vancouver for some serious rest and relaxation, prescribed by her coach.

“I didn’t get out of my pj’s for a week!” she laughs. “I slept a lot and didn’t do very much but I felt like I should be doing something. It’s sort of like melting into yourself and you become a bag of goo but by the second week you get the itch to start moving again.”

In many sports, the off-season strikes a fine balance between taking the mental and physical break the mind and body need without losing strength and fitness due to inactivity. It’s ultimately the individual’s choice and likely influenced to some degree by the nature of the training required for their sport.

Nick Simpson, the CSI Calgary strength and power coach working with the long track team, says he values the break, in fact he himself took his own mental break in April, but appreciates that it’s different for each athlete. “For many of the speed skaters I work with they just love sport and physical activity. Most of them don’t enjoy sitting around. What’s key is that the break is unstructured, no matter what the athlete chooses to do.”

Simpson says that this year, more so than previous years, some athletes kept up with their training during the break. “In the past they would take a full month off but this year felt that they didn’t want to waste that time,” he says.

Many athletes worked on corrective exercises prescribed by the medical team after physio assessments. Simpson says this can help prevent injuries over the course of the season. “With the athletes taking care of themselves in the off-season they are coming into the season more solid to begin with.”

Channell says starting up again can be a bit of a shock to the system. “At first my joints feel rusty and muscles feel loose instead of tight,” she says. “But it feels good, I feel like I’m ready to go. It’s nice to have a schedule again.”

For Belchos the choice to keep training was motivated by an intense desire to improve. “I want to be competing for medals and start the season at a good level, not playing catch-up with the guys already winning medals,” he explains. “I wanted to come back fit, in shape.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto
17/05/17

Hearts in the Game

There is a moment in sport when everyone but the athlete falls away. All of the people who had input into crafting an athlete for performance excellence – coaches, physiologists, psychologists, strength trainers, physiotherapists – step back to the sidelines, left only to watch, knowing that they have done everything they can to prepare the athlete to have what it takes to perform, to be in the game.

For some, hearts race and butterflies surge; for others, there is cheering and yelling at the TV screen; for others still there is no need or desire to watch at all – the work is done. Just as each person has a different role to play in cultivating the athlete’s performance, they also have different ways of approaching their work and investment in the athletes they train. However, one constant remains: while their primary aim is to help athletes be in the game, their hearts are in it, too.

The bond that develops between support staff and athletes is professional, but over time it becomes uniquely personal, too. “You can’t help but be emotionally connected,” says Cara Button, CSI Calgary Life Services Manager. “They’re not just a name you read in the paper, you’re invested in them.” Kelly Quipp, the CSI Calgary Sport Performance Laboratory Lead, agrees, “You get to know the athletes on many levels, whether it’s spending two hours in the lab watching them breathe or taking measurements of muscle and fat (body composition).”

For many, it is the process of helping build and shape an athlete over a four-year cycle in preparation for an Olympic Games that fuels their work. Dr. David Smith, Director of Sport Science at the CSI Calgary, says all the work is done at the front and middle end of the cycle, and that’s what he is passionate about. “It’s not the end result I find exciting,” he says. Scott Maw, CSI Calgary Sport Physiologist, agrees, “To me the process is more important than the actual performance. If I just focused on the performance, it would be impossible to do my job.”

For both Dr. Smith and Maw, the reward is in seeing the athletes realize their potential. “The most rewarding thing is that an athlete goes out and does what they are supposed to do, you just want them to execute what you know they can do,” says Dr. Smith. Maw says he feels satisfaction “from doing what I can to help these athletes go out there and do what they love on the biggest stage.”

When she is working in the lab or on site, Quipp says it’s about doing what needs to be done. “I’m here to do this job and I take the emotion out of it, but when I’m watching the athletes compete the emotion comes out and I’m a proud mama again!” For Maw, all aspects of the job are fully integrated with his desire to maximize performance. “There is nothing else I’d rather be doing so if that’s passion, then I guess my emotion is always there. I just try not to ride the highs too high or the lows too low” he says.

Highs and lows are part and parcel of sport – for every moment of joy, there can be one of sorrow, too. “When the men’s water polo team qualified for the 2008 Olympics our whole office erupted, when the women’s team pursuit failed in 2010 we all cried over that,” Button remembers. “It goes both ways.”

This deep connection to their work and the athlete journey ultimately strengthens the impact that CSI Calgary staff like Smith, Maw, Quipp and Button have on sport in Canada. “We’re trained to do our job, but we’re people too,” says Button. “We’re not family but we feel like we are.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
22/06/16

 

John Morris, de l’ICSC, remporte le bronze au Mondial de curling

Le 5 avril, l'athlète de l'Institut canadien du sport de Calgary (ICSC) John Morris a remporté la médaille de bronze au championnat mondial de curling à Halifax, en Nouvelle-Écosse, alors qu'Équipe Canada a battu la Finlande. John faisait partie de l'équipe locale du tournoi, qui s'est déroulé du 28 mars au 5 avril 2015. John, membre de l'équipe ayant remporté la médaille d'or aux Jeux olympiques d'hiver de Vancouver, lance présentement ses pierres en troisième aux côtés de Nolan Thiessen, Carter Rycroft et Pat Simmons.

John a récemment élu domicile dans les installations de l'ICSC du Markin MacPhail Centre pour ses entraînements. Les installations ont été mises en valeur du 8 au 11 janvier, lorsque WinSport a accueilli la Coupe Continental World Financial Group de curling. Le tournoi accueillait des curleurs et des curleuses de tous les coins de la planète. Lors de la compétition, bon nombre des meilleurs curleurs du monde se sont servis de l'établissement de l'ICSC.

John étudie en nutrition et travaille comme pompier pour le comté de Rocky View. Comme athlète, il profite du fait que tous ses besoins sportifs sont satisfaits dans un seul et même endroit. Son programme d'entraînement se compose souvent de séances d'entraînement en gymnase, suivies de traitement par Kevin Wagner, directeur de Physiothérapie de l'ICSC. Il termine son programme dans la cuisine des athlètes, où il prépare sa boisson protéinée post-entraînement, tout en racontant ses expériences aux athlètes canadiens de haut niveau d'une multitude de sports et en se servant d'eux comme source d'inspiration.

L'aventure de l'équipe Simmons a débuté plus tôt cette année par une histoire unique. Ils ont amorcé le tournoi de qualification, le Brier, avec John comme capitaine de l'équipe. Après un départ difficile, John a pris la décision de jouer à une position qui lui était plus familière : troisième. Il a nommé son coéquipier Pat Simmons pour prendre sa place de capitaine. La décision s'est avérée idéale pour l'équipe, qui est parvenue à remporter le Brier, puis le bronze au championnat mondial.

Grâce à sa victoire au Brier, l'équipe Simmons est automatiquement qualifiée pour l'événement l'an prochain. La défense de son titre fera assurément partie du plan à long terme de l'équipe qui consiste à s'entraîner et à participer à des compétitions ensemble dans l'optique de représenter le Canada aux Jeux olympiques d'hiver de 2018 en Corée. John prévoit tirer profit de la combinaison des installations et des services de l'ICSC au cours du cycle quadriennal et souhaite emmener ses coéquipiers à Calgary pour les camps d'entraînement afin qu'ils profitent eux aussi des avantages de l'établissement.

L'ICSC se réjouit de la présence d'un athlète de classe mondiale d'un sport de plus, qui récolte les avantages que l'Institut a à offrir, tout en inspirant les athlètes de son entourage. Félicitations à John et au reste d'Équipe Canada.

Institut canadien du sport de Calgary : @csicalgary

Photo de Dave Holland: @CSICalgaryPhoto

Kelly Anne Erdman sera honorée

L'Institut canadien du sport de Calgary (ICSC) est fier d'annoncer que Kelly Anne Erdman recevra le Prix de la Conférence commémorative Ryley-Jeffs 2015 des Diététistes du Canada. Mme Erdman est reconnue pour sa passion et son dévouement à titre de diététiste. Sa carrière de diététiste en nutrition sportive a commencé il y a 28 ans à la création de l'Institut canadien du sport.

Mme Erdman recevra ce prix le 6 juin à la conférence annuelle des Diététistes du Canada, à Québec. Ce prix est remis aux personnes qui ont fait preuve de vision et d'innovation dans leur domaine. Mme Erdman incarne en effet les « idéaux de dévouement à la profession et a démontré sa capacité à innover dans le domaine de la diététique. » En tant que gagnante du prix, on lui a demandé de faire une présentation de 40 minutes pour inspirer les gens de l'auditoire à contribuer à leurs professions respectives grâce à un travail extraordinaire.

Qualifier Mme Erdman de pionnière en nutrition sportive est un euphémisme. Elle est l'auteure de sept articles évalués par les pairs et a été la première diététiste à mener des recherches sur les habitudes de supplémentation et l'apport alimentaire des athlètes canadiens. Sa passion pour la nutrition sportive est née de sa propre expérience d'athlète de haut niveau. Mme Erdman a participé aux Jeux olympiques de 1992 à Barcelone dans l'équipe de cyclisme sur piste. Au cours de sa carrière à l'ICSC, elle a travaillé avec des athlètes d'un large éventail de sports, dont l'équipe féminine de hockey médaillée d'or olympique à quatre reprises.

L'engagement de Mme Erdman a été essentiel à l'évolution continue de l'ICSC. Elle a été l'élément moteur pour maintenir l'Institut et ses athlètes à un niveau digne des meilleurs du monde, participant à la création des menus Fuel For Gold et du programme d'entraîneurs nationaux, à l'obtention de commandites pour des suppléments et des produits alimentaires et à la mise en place de tests des suppléments des athlètes par des tiers. Son ingéniosité a aussi été essentielle aux communautés sportives de tout le pays. Son travail avec diverses organisations, comme les Flames de Calgary, pour qui elle a conçu des plans nutritionnels pour les jours de match, en est la preuve. Elle a également effectué beaucoup de rédaction pour plusieurs groupes différents, dont le site coach.ca et le Sport Medicine Council of Alberta.

L'ICSC et ses athlètes sont fiers de compter sur un atout comme Kelly Anne Erdman. Son engagement permanent envers l'ICSC et son soutien des athlètes de haut niveau se sont traduits par des connaissances issues de la recherche et des médailles. Pour toutes ces raisons, Mme Erdman est le seul choix logique pour remporter le Prix de la Conférence commémorative Ryley-Jeffs.

Institut canadien du sport de Calgary : @csicalgary
Rédigé par Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo de Dave Holland: @CSICalgaryPhoto

L’équipe de canoë-kayak – slalom de l’Alberta profite des conseils de spécialistes de renommée mondiale

L'équipe de canoë-kayak – slalom de l'Alberta dirigée par Michael Holroyd, entraîneur-chef de haute performance, s'est grandement améliorée, principalement en raison de son partenariat avec le Alberta Sport Development Centre (ASDC) de Calgary et l'Institut canadien du sport de Calgary (ICSC).

Le groupe d'entraînement diversifié qui utilise ce partenariat depuis 2009 est actuellement formé de 18 athlètes à divers niveaux de développement. Le groupe comprend cinq athlètes de haut niveau, trois athlètes un tiers sous la barre de haut niveau et dix athlètes supplémentaires qui ont brillant avenir devant eux. Nous avons tous constaté les avantages issus de la mise en commun des ressources de ce partenariat unique entre les organisations qui visait à offrir le plus important niveau de soutien possible au lieu de diviser leurs contributions respectives, ce qui était beaucoup moins efficace.

Le joueur de baseball de l'ICSC, Mike Soroka, repêché par les Braves d'Atlanta

L'Institut canadien du sport de Calgary (ICSC) a appris avec joie que l'athlète Mike Soroka, originaire de Calgary, a été repêché par une équipe de baseball majeur : les Braves d'Atlanta. Lanceur droitier, Mike a été repêché au cours de la première ronde; au total, il a été le 28e joueur à être sélectionné.

Ce repêchage survient à un moment bien occupé de la vie de ce jeune joueur de 17 ans, qui a reçu le 19 juin son diplôme d'études secondaires de l'école Bishop Carroll. Questionné au sujet des changements actuels qui surviennent dans sa vie, Mike s'est dit concentré sur le baseball, précisant que son but a toujours été d'être un lanceur professionnel. Il a insisté sur le fait que lancer a toujours été « ce que j'aime faire... lancer depuis le monticule, et être en contrôle; j'adore tout simplement cela. »

Mike s'entraîne à l'ICSC depuis novembre 2014, où il a commencé à s'entraîner dans la salle de musculation de haut niveau avec Chris Osmond, entraîneur de force et de conditionnement physique, et à utiliser les spas froids sur place pour améliorer sa récupération. Comme M. Osmond avait déjà collaboré avec l'équipe de baseball pour laquelle jouait Mike, ce dernier savait que l'expertise de cet entraîneur professionnel l'aiderait à atteindre la prochaine étape de sa carrière. Leur travail a porté ses fruits, et Mike a souligné que son entraînement a été « très bien encadré. J'ai eu d'autres entraîneurs qui ont simplement essayé de me faire prendre de la masse, mais pour M. Osmond, être fonctionnel était la priorité. Tous ses exercices étaient adaptés au baseball. J'ai aussi aimé le fait que parfois, je voulais travailler avec des poids plus lourds, mais M. Osmond misait plutôt sur la constance et une amélioration solide.»

Après avoir travaillé individuellement avec Mike, M. Osmond n'est pas le moindrement surpris de son repêchage par les Braves. Il l'a décrit comme un athlète ambitieux et concentré, et a souligné que « c'était très agréable de travailler avec lui. À chaque entraînement, on sentait sa détermination; c'était clair qu'il voulait devenir un meilleur athlète physiquement et mentalement. Je suis extrêmement heureux de voir son dur labeur récompensé. »

Alors que Mike se prépare à s'envoler vers Atlanta pour une évaluation médicale et ce qu'il espère être la signature officielle de son contrat, son enthousiasme est palpable; il a raconté : « ça a été un véritable tourbillon avec une tonne de haut et de bas, mais à présent je dois me concentrer sur ce qui s'en vient. » De la part de toute l'équipe de l'ICSC, « Bonne chance Mike! »

Institut canadien du sport de Calgary : @csicalgary
Rédigé par Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo de Dave Holland: @CSICalgaryPhoto

Le président de l’ICSC reconnu comme un meneur international

Le 23 avril dernier, le président et directeur général de l'Institut canadien du sport de Calgary, Dale Henwood, a pris part à une rencontre réunissant les représentants du Comité international olympique (CIO) et des membres de l'Association of Sport Performance Centres (ASPC, association internationale de centres d'entraînement de haut niveau) à Lausanne, en Suisse. M. Henwood est le président de l'ASPC, une association fondée en 1999 et formée de représentants de plus de 80 centres d'entraînement de haut niveau répartis dans 30 pays. Le Forum sur l'élite sportive réunit les membres tous les deux ans pour échanger sur les initiatives de promotion du sport de haut niveau à travers le monde, favoriser la solidarité et, ultimement, promouvoir la paix à travers le sport.

L'objectif de la réunion de l'ASPC à Lausanne était de mieux faire connaître la mission de l'ASPC aux membres du CIO et de déterminer le rôle qu'elle pourrait jouer dans le mouvement olympique. Le président Henwood s'est chargé de la présentation de l'association avec le vice-président de l'ASPC pour l'Europe, Tapio Korjus (Finlande), le secrétaire général Josep Escoda (Espagne) et la trésorière Tracy Lamb (États-Unis).

La présentation de l'ASPC visait à promouvoir l'association auprès du CIO. Les membres de l'ASPC ont souligné la volonté de l'association de se faire le lieu de partage des pratiques gagnantes entre pays et centres d'entraînement de haut niveau. Ils ont également tiré parti de cette occasion pour présenter leurs pratiques novatrices et transmettre les données les plus récentes du monde du sport. L'objectif de l'association est de rester au fait des avancées internationales dans le monde du sport en cernant les défis et les tendances des centres d'entraînement de haut niveau. Les membres de l'ASPC souhaitent aussi transmettre leurs connaissances aux pays en développement, afin d'aider leurs athlètes à se hisser au niveau mondial.

La contribution de l'ICSC à l'ASPC est une autre preuve du leadership de l'Institut dans le monde des centres d'entraînement de haut niveau. C'est également une occasion de promouvoir l'ICSC à l'international. L'Institut continue de gagner le respect de ses pairs et est aujourd'hui reconnu comme l'un des meilleurs centres d'entraînement au monde pour l'expertise de ses programmes destinés aux athlètes et entraîneurs canadiens. La participation de l'ICSC à l'ASPC permet à l'Institut de rester à la fine pointe de l'entraînement de haut niveau et de faire partie intégrante de la communauté sportive mondiale. Elle permet aussi aux membres de l'ICSC de faire connaître le travail de l'Institut auprès des membres du CIO, de l'organisation sportive panaméricaine, de l'Association des comités nationaux olympiques et d'autres centres d'entraînement de haut niveau. M. Henwood considère que son rôle au sein de l'ASPC est de première importance puisqu'il croit que l'ICSC doit « continuer d'être innovant et ouvert sur le monde dans tout ce que nous faisons. »

Pour en savoir davantage sur l'ASPC, veuillez visiter l'adresse www.sportperformancecentres.org.

Institut canadien du sport de Calgary : @csicalgary
Rédigé par Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler

Limitless

Scratch lightly at the surface of female sport participation in Canada and you will find grim and disheartening statistics. Despite the benefits, which are widely reported, most young girls and women simply don’t take part in sport or exercise. It simply isn’t right.

That’s precisely what Chandra Crawford, a CSI Calgary alumni and 2006 Olympic Champion in cross-country skiing, thought over ten years ago when a girl she was babysitting said she wasn’t happy being a girl because “girls don’t get to do fun things like skateboarding and instead have to worry about their appearance all the time.” Crawford thought, ‘this has to change.’ Fast and Female was born.

Founded by Crawford in 2005, Fast and Female seeks to provide a positive and empowering environment for girls in sport. The organization’s mission is to keep girls healthy, happy and active in sports through their teens by introducing them to inspiring athlete role models.

One way this goal is accomplished is by hosting events where girls come together learn, have fun and spend time with some of Canada’s most successful female athletes. Fast and Female’s next event is the Calgary Summit on November 6, 2016 at WinSport. Programming for the day ranges from physical literacy stations to nutrition seminars to yoga and dance, as well as spending the entire day with Fast and Female athlete ambassadors.

Rachael McIntosh, a CSI registered athlete, is an aspiring Olympian in the heptathlon and this will be her second Fast and Female event as an athlete ambassador. McIntosh, now 25 years old, participated in many sports as a young girl but switched to track and field in high school. “The only reason I started out in track and field was because of my coach; she made it fun for me,” recalls McIntosh. “I think a lot of girls are missing out on that – they need a leader to make it fun. Sport is important and what keeps girls in sport is more than that.”

Through events like the Calgary Summit, the organization strives to provide a non-competitive environment for girls to learn and have fun. Leah Lacroix, Fast and Female Executive Director, says the summit is an opportunity to gather girls together and let them know about their options in sport.

“Some girls are at a point where they are trying to figure out if they want to continue in sport and we are there to help them see that they are not alone and that there are many options,” says Lacroix. “They can move to another sport, or shift gears to a recreational program. Sometimes they need that extra inspiration to keep going or try something new.”

While inspiration is available in high doses there is a focus on practical lessons too. Kelly Anne Erdman, CSI Calgary Performance Dietician, will provide nutrition seminars to each age group as well as to the parent and coach session. “The emphasis is on how nutrition is important for performance and also teaching the girls to listen to their bodies and connect with any signs and symptoms they might be feeling,” she says.

Ten years on, what keeps Crawford going is the feedback from parents and girls after an event. “You can’t always see on the surface just how deeply a girl is absorbing everything,” she says. “But afterwards the testimonials and letters we get are amazing.”

Another benefit, an unexpected one, is the impact these events have on the athlete ambassadors themselves. “The athletes really get a lot out of being ambassadors,” marvels Crawford. “It helps bring more meaning to what they are doing in sport. It’s been amazing to see that.” McIntosh agrees, “The day is really inspiring for me too!”

It turns out if you dig a little deeper you will find that although the statistics on girls in sport may be grim, there is growing hope for young girls in Canada thanks to organizations like Fast and Female, whose programs reach over three thousand girls every year. When girls learn that they have many options, the world becomes a better place.

Sign up today for the Fast and Female Calgary Summit November 6, 2016 Calgary Summit 2016 - Fast and Female.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
02/11/16

Living on the Edge 10

Big Data... it’s everywhere. Big Problem? Not anymore says Graeme Challis, Exercise Specialist at CSI Calgary. Although a relatively small data set compared to large industries, the field of high performance sport generates a great deal of information that has historically been dispersed across several software platforms, leading to a limited ability to utilize it effectively.

“Before we had data all over the place,” says Challis. “There were Excel spreadsheets everywhere!” Enter Edge 10, a central, web-based storage platform for data to live, now used by several sports and facilitated by CSI Calgary.

Edge 10’s key benefits are the centralization and consolidation of data storage, which leads to more effective use of the information. The cloud-based technology allows for easy entering, analyzing, reporting and sharing of athlete data both efficiently and securely. It is a fully customizable and integrated database that enables sports to develop performance solutions unique to their needs.

In the past, CSI Calgary physiologists like Scott Maw, who leads the Integrated Support Team (IST) for long track speed skating, spent inordinate amounts of time combining pieces of information about an athlete from several different places.

“Before we were spending too much time gathering the data and not enough time analyzing it,” says Maw. “Now I can spend my time actually analyzing the data, which helps us make better, evidence-based decisions.” The platform has greatly enhanced how the IST and coaches can tailor training programs to individual athletes.

One key area addressed by Edge 10 is athlete monitoring. In long track speed skating this effort has been spearheaded by Maw, which has helped revolutionize the way coaches are able to assess their athletes’ response to training loads.

“In the past, the extent of the monitoring we did was to track an athlete’s resting heart rate – if it was 10 beats higher than normal we just assumed the athlete would get sick,” jokes Todd McClements, Stage 4 coach at Speed Skating Canada. “The monitoring we do now is lightyears ahead compared with just five years ago, it has evolved so quickly.”

Edge 10 accumulates many sources of data on an athlete, good and bad, such as subjective questionnaires and objective measures like heart rate variability and training loads. This is analyzed in parallel with other data like physiological testing results and physiotherapy assessments to determine areas of stress.

“Now we can see everything at once and start to understand the relationships between various loads on the body,” says Challis. “It helps us tease out what matters and what changes will make a difference for a particular athlete.”

The monitoring also helps to bridge the gap between intention and outcome. “What is prescribed by the coach isn’t always what is executed by the athlete,” says Challis. “If an athlete goes too hard for a program intended to be easy, monitoring data can identify that stress and the IST can make necessary adjustments, which could help prevent injury or overreaching.”

McClements is quick to point out that Edge 10 is by no means a panacea or crystal ball – sport is far too complex to predict the future. But he is grateful that Edge 10 provides more efficient analyzing of data for decision making.

“It’s never black and white,” he says. “But now it’s much less grey.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto
25/05/17

Luge success in PyeongChang

Excitement is building in this pre-Olympic season as athletes, coaches and members of the CSI Calgary Integrated Support Teams travel to PyeongChang, Korea to explore and compete for the first time in the new venues. Olympic test events are being held in anticipation of the Games, which start in just over 300 days.

Canadian winter World Cup and World Championship results to date this season have been very strong. Last week after 505 events, Canada is currently in the top three nations for both total medals and total gold medals.

Throughout the PyeongChang Olympic test events, history is being made. In addition to other stellar Canadian performances, Calgary’s Sam Edney became the first Canadian male to reach a Luge podium in the men’s singles events outside of Canada, winning Bronze in February’s Viessmann Luge World Cup. Coming off a series of injuries, three-time Olympian Edney took the last year off to recover, build back his strength and focus on school.

A CSI Calgary supported athlete, Edney is a 15-year veteran of the National Luge Team. “I had a really good, solid week of training so I had a lot of confidence knowing the majority of the guys were having issues on the track,” added Edney. “I might be the old dog on Tour, but I think that is to my advantage when we get to a new track where it takes the experience, and the volume of runs I have on the tracks around the world, to help pick up new things for a new track.

Tim Farstad, Executive Director of Luge Canada says that this season heading into Korea, Canada’s Luge team athletes are proving to be strong and motivated. “The Team is hungry after getting three fourth place and one fifth place finishes in Sochi. They’ve been working hard for three years now to move into the medal spots in the next Olympic Games. As we’ve seen this season, each one of these athletes has medal potential.”

Jeremiah Barnert, CSI Calgary Strength and Conditioning coach, has been a member of the Luge support team since 2009, accompanying them in the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Games. “Sam’s success was really exciting,” says Barnert. “He came back strong after taking a year off.” Barnert goes on to explain that he is on the road with the Luge team for 10 – 14 weeks a year. With a small team, and two of four support staff from CSI Calgary, it’s a tight-knit family. “The family feel is what makes our team strong.”

Having recently spent two weeks in PyeongChang, Barnert confirmed that the new Olympic venue is in good shape, the people are great and everything is well organized

Olympic test events give athletes the opportunity to get familiar with the new venues, officials the ability to fine-tune large international events, and volunteers coming from across the world have the opportunity to give feedback.

By the end of March, Canadian athletes will have competed in PyeongChang at:

FIS World Cup Snowboard (big air)
ISU World Cup Short Track event
Alpine FEC & President Cup
FIS Cross Country World Cup
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup
World Single Distance Championships (speed skating)
FIS Freestyle World Cup
FIS Snowboard World Cup
FIS Ski Jumping World Cup
Four Continents Figure Skating Championships
World Junior Curling Championships
FIL Luge World Cup
IBU Biathlon World Cup
FIS Alpine World Cup
IBSF World Cup of Bobsleigh and Skeleton

Canada expects to send its largest team ever to an Olympic Winter games with an estimated 240 athletes joining more than 6000 competitors from up to 95 countries. Immediately following are the 12th Paralympic Winter Games with athletes from 45 countries, six sports with 80 medal events.

For more information on PyeongChang 2018, check out the official website: https://www.olympic.org/pyeongchang-2018

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Lisa Thomson
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
08/03/17

Lumsden Leaving Nothing to Chance

Two-time Olympic bobsledder Jesse Lumsden knows a thing or two about preparing for the future. The former CFL star already planned and made one transition from football to bobsled in time for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Now, the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) supported athlete is preparing for yet another career transition, from the sport world to the business world.

Prior to the Sochi Olympic Games in 2014, Pacesetter Directional Drilling, led by CFO Chad Robinson, was sponsoring Lumsden. In order to maximize the partnership, Lumsden began meeting Robinson once per quarter to discuss sport, work, and life. The topic of career transition was addressed and Robinson felt that there was a fit for Lumsden in Resource Merchant Capital (RMC), a firm that invests in the private oil and gas market. Seizing the opportunity, Lumsden made the decision to shift his focus from sport after Sochi to prepare for his next career transition.

Of his work in the corporate world, Lumsden notes, “It has not been an easy transition. I am under-educated and out of my league in certain situations. I lean on those around me for guidance and if I make a mistake I do not make it twice. It is no different than starting a new sport, it just requires using different muscles. It takes the same amount of effort and dedication, just a different focus. I encourage all athletes to start training and working. You do not realize how fast a sports career goes by until it is almost over.”

With the next Olympic Winter Games only two years away, Lumsden is starting to refocus, saying, “The next five months are very important for me. In June, I will begin training with the bobsled team full time in preparation for the 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang while continuing to work part time with RMC. I am very fortunate, as my return to sport was always known and supported by both Chad Robinson and RMC.”

CSI Calgary Director of Stakeholder Relations Cara Button is impressed by the relationship that Robinson and Lumsden have formed. She hopes that more athletes and companies will create these mutually beneficial situations, emphasizing, “Game Plan is actively working on finding flexible work opportunities for athletes. Jesse’s story is a great example of how companies can contribute to athletes not only through sponsorship but by potentially engaging them in their business as well. Jesse took advantage of a sponsorship opportunity to develop a relationship. He is not leaving anything up to chance by waiting until his sport career is over.”

For more information on Game Plan, visit www.mygameplan.ca or contact Cara Button at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Madell Leads Parapan Am Games Team

The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSIC) would like to congratulate all of the athletes who competed at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto from August 7-15, 2015. Team Canada finished second in the medal count with a total of 50 gold, 63 silver, and 55 bronze medals. CSIC athletes contributed to the team’s results in a big way, with Morgan Bird, Zachary McAllister, and Zach Madell winning gold medals, Jennifer Brown winning gold and silver, Michael Sametz, Kirstie Kasko, Chad Jassman, Peter Won, and Arinn Young earning silver medals, and Aron Ghebreyohannes, Tiana Knight, Blair Nesbitt, Tammy Cunnington, as well as the women’s and men’s sitting volleyball teams earning bronze medals.

Chosen to carry the Canadian flag and lead Team Canada into the closing ceremonies was 21-year-old wheelchair rugby athlete Zak Madell. He describes the atmosphere of competing at a home games as, “Better than I could ever have dreamt of. The fan support and energy of the city of Toronto were unbelievable. The announcement that I was carrying the flag was made to the whole rugby team just minutes after receiving our gold medals at the ceremonies, so the rush of emotions was truly overwhelming.”

A member of the CSIC since 2011, Madell believes that he utilizes the CSIC’s services to the fullest potential, working with “a Strength & Conditioning coach three times a week as well as accessing therapy for rehab and injury prevention whether it be acupuncture, ultrasound or massage to keep the body in tip-top shape.” Madell says he owes a lot of credit to “the CSIC for all of their support, as well as my personal sponsor Vesco Metal Craft for all of my wheelchairs and parts.”

Chris Osmond, Madell’s Strength and Conditioning Coach, is not shocked by Madell’s success. He describes working with him as a privilege, saying, “Zak is a tremendous athlete and person. He is passionate about his craft, extremely determined, and gives nothing less than 100% each time he trains or competes. He is kind, compassionate and strives to be the best person he can be on or off the gym floor.”

By accomplishing their goal of winning the Parapan Am gold medal, the wheelchair rugby team has qualified for the 2016 Paralympics. After already winning a silver medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games, Madell says, “Now that we have had a taste of gold we hope to keep this hunger moving forward and continue to bring home the bling!”

We look forward to watching the men’s rugby team in Rio next summer!

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Master of Her Domain

You could say that Carol Huynh is a Jack of all trades, master of all: Olympic Champion, Master’s Student, Assistant Chef de Mission, Mentor, Advocate, and now Coach, in the sport of wrestling. Over a span of more than two decades, Huynh has steadfastly honed her many skills and filled so many different roles, approaching each with her own simple blend of humility and hard work.

It’s a rare breed these days – the retired athlete who pursues a new career in their sport. “There are other athletes who have done what Carol is doing, but she’s unique because there are less and less of them staying in sport after retirement,” says Cara Button, Director, Stakeholder Relations at CSI Calgary. “The sport system doesn’t always do a good job of keeping athletes in their organization but athletes have so much knowledge and experience to share,” she adds.

Given that successful athletes carry with them a lifetime of experience and expertise, Button says that Wrestling Canada has done a good job of finding a way to keep Huynh involved. She is now the Wrestling Canada Next Gen Institute Program Coach and recently enrolled in the CSI Calgary’s Advanced Coaching Diploma.

Huynh’s ventures into education, advocacy and coaching weren’t always in the plan – she initially wanted to pursue psychology and later sport psychology, even earning her Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology. But after retirement a number of events transpired that kept pulling her back.

First, when wrestling was voted off the Olympic program by the IOC in 2013, Carol spearheaded an international effort to have the sport reinstated. Her successful fight led to becoming elected as chairperson of the International Wrestling Federation’s new Athletes’ Commission.

Second, When the Next Gen concept was rolled out by Own the Podium, Wrestling Canada created a development pathway and needed a coach to lead the effort. Huynh jumped at the opportunity because she wanted to give back to the sport.

Of her decision to remain in sport, Huynh modestly concedes that at first it seemed like the right choice because it felt easy. “I didn’t want to leave the sport,” she says. “It would be so hard to cut that out of my life.” Perhaps it felt easy because it was the right choice.

Starting out in a new career is tough given that Huynh was once the best wrestler in the world. “What’s really hard is that for so long I felt like I’d mastered something but now I’m starting coaching and learning how to be the best coach,” she explains. She’s also acutely aware that just because she was a good athlete doesn’t mean she’ll be a good coach. “I gotta earn it,” she says.

So, she is approaching her new career in coaching with the same work ethic and determination that helped her to become an Olympic Champion, Master’s Student and successful advocate – she knows it will take a lot of hard work to learn her new craft and she is up for the challenge.

Of pursuing her next challenge in the sport she is so passionate about, Huynh is resolute: “Now I have to get good at this.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto
31/05/17

Matt Jordan Receives National Recognition

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) Director of Strength and Conditioning Matt Jordan recently received the Dr. Gord Sleivert Young Investigator Award at the 10th annual SPIN Summit held in Toronto.

The SPort INnovation (SPIN) Summit, hosted by Own the Podium, is a symposium for professional development in the areas of applied sport science, sports medicine, and innovation. The conference aims to bring experts together with the goal of achieving Olympic and Paralympic success.

To be considered for the award, PhD candidates were asked to submit abstracts and create posters highlighting their research. The research posters were displayed at the conference to encourage discussion and generate ideas among the attendees. The top five students, chosen by a judging panel, were then asked to present five slides in five minutes at a conference social. Based on the presentations, three students were selected to receive the award as well as $1000 towards their educational pursuits.

Jordan’s innovative PhD research is focused on functional neuromuscular assessment in alpine skiers with knee injuries. His goal is to develop tests to be used as part of a long-term study to identify modifiable risk factors for knee injuries. After working directly with the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, Jordan theorized that alpine ski related injuries often occur when the athlete is fatigued, especially if there is a quadriceps versus hamstring muscle imbalance. The results of his studies could lead to reduced injuries in Canadian alpine ski racers, increasing the amount of time that they are able to train and compete.

The award-winning data that Jordan presented at SPIN came from the fourth of five studies that he is doing over the course of his PhD. Jordan is writing up the fourth study with the intent of getting it published. He will then work toward the fifth project and expect to complete it in the fall of 2016.

Jordan has high expectations for his research. Ultimately, he hopes to take on graduate students at the University of Calgary and continue with the momentum generated in the CSI Calgary strength and power lab.

CSI Calgary supports the cutting-edge concepts being generated by the members of their team. In total, CSI Calgary presented 8 posters on new and applied innovation projects focused on helping athletes succeed. In addition, former Biomechanics Consultant Luciano Tomaghelli was one of the five finalists for the Gord Sleivart Young Investigator Award for his research on kinetic factors associated with performance during the pull start in elite Canadian Luge athletes.

Matt Jordan's SPIN Poster

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Maximizing Weight Cutting Strategy to Enhance Performance

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) Performance Dietitian Kelly Drager has been leading her field through an innovative project with members of the Canadian Wrestling Team. The project has been funded through Innovations 4 Gold (I4G), an applied sport research program led by Own The Podium.

Drager and CSI Calgary Strength and Conditioning Coach Mac Read, with help from Research and Innovation Lead Erik Groves, have been gathering information to determine an ideal way for wrestlers to lose weight for competition weigh-ins, while minimizing the impact that it has on their performance. The data set that has been collected so far is from three different competitions (Pan-American Championships, PanAm Games, and World Championships) and according to Drager, could have a significant impact on performance and provide “progress for the sport.”

Their research aims to give athletes a performance plan that they can use to take the guesswork out of cutting weight. This should reduce stress on weigh-ins and thus place more emphasis on performance. Of the results, Drager says, “We are now starting to see trends within weight categories. It is beneficial to have a bandwidth for each weight category, creating specific guidelines.”

The team has tracked athletes’ weight and urine specific gravity (level of hydration) during weight cutting. The data shows how they rebound from weigh-ins to competition time. These weight cutting curves can help athletes use consistent, predictable plans at major events. Currently, Read and Drager are observing what is happening during regular training. By monitoring the athletes’ heart rate, rate of perceived exertion, weight, and urine specific gravity, they are able to identify what is normal during training weeks.

This project is particularly exciting because as Drager says, “It is very applicable to other weight category sports such as judo. Preparing these athletes for enhanced performance is the goal.”

Long-term, this project will also be useful to developmental athletes who will be able to recognize that performance, not weight cutting, is the main goal of the sport. For younger athletes, Drager wants to promote “better health, growth and bone development.”

Ultimately, this data set will help Canada’s top wrestlers have stronger performances on the international stage. However, more importantly, Drager emphasizes that it “is going to help ensure better development and health of athletes.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Melanie McCann’s Game Plan Day in Canada

Competition day is familiar to me. I wake up early, take a mental note of my goals for the next 12 hours, make some coffee and tie my hair back in a tight pony tail. Somehow, today was familiar. Instead of my team Canada gear, I put on business appropriate attire and rather than rolling my fencing bag into the competition salle, I took the elevator up to the Deloitte office overlooking downtown Calgary. It was a clean slate to participate in Game Plan Day, an immersive in-office experience for Olympians, Paralympians and National Team athletes to explore career development and life after sport.

At 8:45am I walked into the boardroom to sit with 16 of my Canadian teammates and scanned the room a few times to place them without their lycra, speed suits or skis. The team at Deloitte gave us a warm welcome and talked about the environment in which they work and how it supports people from all backgrounds to flourish in their own way. They emphasized the power of a non-traditional workplace and a high-performance culture. Instantly all the athlete’s eyes lit up and I think it sparked a world of possibility in that room. Deloitte proceeded to lay out the schedule for the day, packed with speakers, job shadows, networking and mock interviews.

First was the job shadow portion of the day. I joined Tynan Wenarchuk, an analyst in the consulting practice at Deloitte. I showed up to his office eager to tag along with his morning, to find out that he was already on a call with Deloitte employees from across Canada strategizing on how to best deliver their message to the client they were advising. I was impressed with how interactive and productive the call was. With so many individuals on the line, I didn’t expect the team to come away with so many action items and clear ideas for their client. As an athlete, we are uniquely placed to effectively work within a team atmosphere to deliver a result under pressure. I quickly realized the skills I have honed as an athlete are incredibly transferable and useful to a different kind of team.

Next was the mock interview. I was asked all the standard interview questions and with little work experience, I was able to convey my strengths, problem solving abilities and overcoming adversity easily through examples from my Olympic pursuits instead. Furthering the connection with what I have to offer and what employers are looking for, I quickly realized that interviewing requires concise, deliberate communication. Just like our lives in sport with our teams and coaches, effective communication delivers results.

Finally, it was time for the speed networking portion of the event. With various Deloitte clients and partners in attendance, our task was to spend five minutes with each of them. Hearing about their individual career developments, it was evident that there is not a defined path but a common thread. Resiliency, hard work and seeking opportunity defined these leaders in their respective industries but it is also at the core of our make-up as athletes.

After a morning jam-packed at the Deloitte office, I laced up my running shoes to reflect on what the day had taught me. My real takeaway from Game Plan Day was that the intangible assets we have polished to get to the Olympic stage are transferrable and desirable in life after sport. From applying teamwork skills in the boardroom, to using advocacy skills in interviews instead of lobbying coaches, the parallels are obvious. Relaying interesting experiences gained through sport to network provides a unique perspective. Years of sport provide an excellent springboard to success in the workforce.

I would like to thank the Game Plan Team and Deloitte Canada for making this event possible and look forward to attending events in the future!

Melanie McCann
2012 & 2016 Olympian
Modern Pentathlon

Photo: Jared Armstrong

Men’s Water Polo Team Buoyed by New Strategies

Sometimes small changes can make a big difference. For the Canadian men’s water polo team the change was simple – move two of ten weekly sessions from their usual training centre, to the CSI Calgary. It wasn’t until this strategy shift in the fall, along with a recent coaching change and collaboration with staff at the CSI Calgary, that the team’s eyes were opened to the benefits of the institute’s setting and services.

The impact on the team was dramatic. Long-time veteran and goaltender Robin Randall describes what changed for the team, “At our main venue there weren’t a lot of athletes around and we were a bit isolated, but at CSI Calgary we were able to interact with the other athletes and get to know them. It created a sense of Team Canada for us, in that we are all Team Canada”.

According to the team’s strength coach, Jeff Osadec, this modest change led to a palpable shift in team culture. “It changed the way they trained, they were now in an environment where they were surrounded by their peers from different sports and became a part of the CSI Calgary system and family.”

CSI Calgary staff worked closely with the team’s coaches and managers. Osadec’s focus was working on the basics. He says, “because water polo is a skill-based sport where there isn’t a lot of transfer from the gym to the pool, the emphasis was on getting the athletes fit, strong and able to recover.” It wasn’t long before everyone noticed a difference. Randall confirms that, “the work we did with Jeff helped give us more confidence in our strength, which translated to the pool in many ways, like having more stability on defence.”

A new training sequence was worked into the program by physiologist Dr. David Smith, and nutritionist Kelly Drager helped the men reach their needs of 5000-7000 calories a day. John Conway, an attacker, says “the level of expertise and professionalism in all sporting areas across CSI Calgary has given our team the tools we need to compete at an elite level.”

At the recent Olympic qualifying tournament in Trieste, Italy, the team fell devastatingly short of earning their ticket to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympics. Despite posting a comeback tie against Hungary in the preliminary stages – an unprecedented result that drew praise from other teams – a loss against Spain in the quarterfinals closed the book on this Olympic cycle. Conway sums up the disappointment that is still sinking in, “The difference in qualifying was one goal. As much of a heartbreak as that is, it can still be seen as a huge positive as we are within inches of qualifying for the Olympics.”

Even still, there is a bright outlook for the future. “This team is the best we’ve ever fielded” says Randall. “We’ve never had a team of this quality before; it’s the greatest group of guys ever.” Adds Conway, “Our group has known for a while that we could do great things. Canada has been, and will continue to be, a top contending team in the sport of water polo.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Mike Sametz set to Compete in Rio

The 2016 Paralympic Games are set to set to run from September 7-18 in Rio de Janiero. Over four thousand athletes from more than 160 countries will compete in 526 medal events in 22 sports. The Canadian Team is comprised of 155 athletes competing in 19 sports. One of those Canadians is a young, up and coming cyclist from Calgary, Mike Sametz.

Sametz trains at CSI Calgary with head coach of the Para-Cycling Program Phil Abbott. In addition to training, Sametz also pursues an education in business and kinesiology at the University of Calgary. In his final preparations for the Paralympic Games he also trained at the 2015 Pan Am Games venue for track cycling track in Milton, Ontario.

Sametz started cycling seven years ago when some friends of his parents told them about the para cycling program at the Calgary Olympic Oval. From the very beginning, Sametz, who has cerebral palsy on the right side of his body, was integrated with able-bodied cyclists and competes regularly in both able-bodied and Paralympic competitions. “He’s a model for integrating para and able bodies athletes, which in the past was not always the way things were done,” says Abbott.

Usually quiet and mild-mannered off the bike, Sametz is fiercely competitive once racing starts. “His personality on the bike is completely different,” observes Abbott. “He’s very shy except when he’s racing. He likes to win and to be the best but doesn’t like the attention. Nobody would guess he’s super competitive.”

Sametz himself keeps his competitive drive alive through setting big goals. “When I first started cycling, my goal was always to go to Rio,” he says. “I’m a very dedicated person and when I find a goal I want to achieve I’ll do everything I can to achieve it.”

At 20 years old, Sametz is the youngest member of the para cycling team heading to Rio to compete for Team Canada at the 2016 Paralympic Games. He’s also younger than most of his competitors, who tend to range from 30-40 years old. His age however, has not held him back – to date his major accomplishments include a silver medal in the Individual Pursuit at the 2015 Parapan Am Games and a bronze medal in the Individual Time Trial at a 2016 World Cup in Belgium.

According to Abbott, Sametz is well poised to reach the podium in two of his four events. “If all the stars align he could get third in the Individual Pursuit and third in the Individual Time Trial. He’s definitely within striking distance,” says Abbott.

Sametz is more modest in his predictions, preferring to focus on what he needs to do to perform well in Rio. “The last three months I noticed myself getting better,” he says. “I’m going to try and do my very best in all my races. My competitors are not new to me. They are the same guys I’ve raced against at World Cups and World Championships. I know where I’ve placed before and want to improve on those placings.”

CSI Calgary is proud to support Team Canada Para athletes. Other CSI Calgary supported athletes to watch: Jenn Brown and Alister McQueen in para athletics; Ross Wilson para cycling; Morgan Bird, para swimming; Stefan Daniel, para triathlon; Chad Jassman and Arinn Young, wheelchair basketball; Zak Madell, wheelchair rugby; and athletes from the women’s sitting volleyball team Angelena Dolezar, Leanne Muldrew, Jennifer Oakes, Shacarra Orr, Heidi Peters, Tessa Popoff, Amber Skyrpan, and Katelyn Wright.

The Opening Ceremonies for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games kick off at 4:30pm MST Wednesday September 7, 2016.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
07/09/16

Mind Shift

A dose of inspiration often appears after an unexpected turn. For Canadian long track speed skater Ted-Jan Bloemen, it came after injuring his wrist in a bike crash during a training ride that left him training on a stationary bike in his living room for a couple of weeks. Fortunately, this break led to plenty of time to take in the 2016 Olympic Games on television.

“It was great to have the inspiration of the Games at that moment,” says Bloemen, current world record holder and 2015 world championship silver medalist in the 10,000m. “I remember thinking, “Ok, this is what I’m doing this for.” A timely and powerful reminder for one of the best speed skaters in the world.

As the sport world now shifts focus from summer to winter sport, with the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang fast approaching, winter athletes like Bloemen are preparing to compete in their pre-Olympic season and Olympic test events.

Concurrently, winter athletes are also shifting from summer training to competition mode, a progression that doesn’t happen overnight or by accident. In long track speed skating, the transition is a deliberate effort to refocus the mind from training to competing.

This effort has been spearheaded by Derek Robinson, CSI Calgary Mental Performance Consultant and the Mental Performance Lead for Speed Skating Canada. Along with the Integrated Support Team (IST), he has spent the last several years developing a series of mental exercises and events that are integrated into each coach’s yearly training program, which serve to develop specific competition skills.

“It’s very deliberate, purposeful, planned and debriefed,” says Robinson. The idea is that the athletes are presented opportunities throughout the season to help them improve competition focus. Robinson says they also measure how the athletes are doing, like evaluating how well they are embracing a particular challenge or responding to a debriefed message, which helps both the coaches and athletes understand how they are improving.

Within this framework, athletes also progress through the transition to competition in their own, more organic way. Bloemen says he shifts his mind to competitive mode by focusing on short term and daily goals. “I have a hard time focusing on far away goals,” he says. “I’m more focused on what I can do now; the first race of the season.”

He gains confidence from the progression of hard summer training to getting back on the ice to feeling the speed in fast laps. Eventually, the excitement returns and he thinks, “Oh yeah, I want to race again.”

This is the kind of attitude that the IST is looking for. “We took them through competition simulations throughout the summer to remind them of that part of their mental performance. We’re now taking that from a general to specific focus,” says Scott Maw, CSI Calgary Sport Physiologist and IST Lead at Speed Skating Canada.

That entails everything from the summer of training, to technical and tactical work, and mental and physical training. According to Maw, a lot of it is about them trusting what they did physically – it plays a big role in what they can do mentally.

This blend of planned, deliberate preparation within the program and performance focused preparation is ultimately what enables higher level performance. Robinson’s key message – athletes have to learn to manage a fierce competitive desire with grit and race IQ. For Maw, it’s all about performance. “Performance is the true measure of how the program is working,” he says.

This pre-Olympic season, Bloemen no doubt has his work cut out for him, but rest assured he is well prepared – freshly inspired, well-trained and ready to race.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
21/09/16

More Than One Way to Support an Olympic Dream

Career Management, which is part of Game Plan, aims to help athletes explore and engage in different career paths. The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) takes it a step further by directly helping current and retired Olympic, Paralympic, and National Team athletes find work experiences that are flexible and purposeful.

Cara Button, Director, Stakeholders Relations at the CSI Calgary, has been instrumental in the implementation of Game Plan, a program that ensures athletes are well prepared for life beyond their sport.

Strongly believing that part of being prepared is having confidence in the workplace, she discussed the opportunity to provide a more meaningful experience to athletes by offering something different than the typical sponsorship package with Christoph Faig, Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Calgary based software development company aclaro softworks.

Faig jumped at the chance, and team aclaro currently sponsors individual athletes directly. As part of the sponsorship program, they offer the ‘team aclaro’ athletes the opportunity for part-time work experience. The team is comprised of skeleton athlete Micaela Widmer, biathlete Christian Gow, biathlete Scott Gow, speed skater Gilmore Junio, and track cyclist Monique Sullivan.

“We are not a huge company, and you don’t need to be to hire athletes and to have an impact,” says Faig. “Offering employment to athletes has not been charity for aclaro – we have benefitted hugely from having athletes at our company.”

Skeleton athlete Sarah Reid was sponsored by aclaro for the 2013/2014 season. Forced to take the 2014/2015 season off due to injury, Reid began working in the aclaro office. Blogging about the value the employment program provided her with, Reid writes, “It can be a pretty frightening thing to take that big step off of the ice and into the office. I had no post-secondary education, no work experience, and a very short resume. What I did have though, what we [athletes] all have, is an abundance of very unique life experiences to bring to the table. Through sport we have learned what it means to work as a team. To succeed and to fail. To persevere. To accept criticism and to commit to something.”

As aclaro has shown, there are many ways that a company can invest in an athlete’s Olympic dream. Faig insists that the key to success when employing athletes is flexibility with hours and using the resources available through the CSI Calgary to ensure the correct athlete-company match is made.

If your company is interested in gaining a valuable employee while helping an athlete prepare for their life beyond sport, please contact Cara Button at 403-220-8184 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Further information and resources can be found at www.csicalgary.ca/game-plan.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler

Outstanding Player Supports Next Gen Athletes

Bo Levi Mitchell is no stranger to fast-paced high-risk sport, and the injuries that can result from them. When injuries happen, return to play is the primary focus. Professional athletes have access to top-of-the-line para medical treatments, but this is not always the case for other high performance athletes. This is where Mitchell has decided to lend his support – to CSI Calgary Next Gen athletes in high risk mountain sports.

The Calgary Stampeders quarterback joined the elite club of Canadian Football League athletes last year when he received the 2016 Most Outstanding Player award and was recognized as Shaw’s CFL Top Performer for 2016. As part of the program, Mitchell was given $25,000 from Shaw Communications to donate to his charities of choice. Mitchell decided he would like to play a part in helping younger athletes receive pre-injury baseline assessments and post injury treatment. “I know the expertise required to bring an athlete back to their sport after injury and I’d like to be able to help them move forward to pursue their dreams.” Concussion and knee injuries are two of the rehabilitation areas in which he is most interested.

With football’s potential for acute unforeseeable injuries, Mitchell knows what it takes to fully recover. He has chosen to invest in Next Gen athletes because he sees their aspirations and knows the impact he can make by increasing their access to resources. “I’m mesmerized by the guts and athleticism in these young athletes in sports like Ski Cross, Freestyle, Slopestyle and Alpine skiing,” says Mitchell. “I have a ton of respect for them as I watch their speed and the elements they battle in their sports.”

“We are so appreciative that Bo Levi has chosen to support these Next Gen athletes in their quest to reach the next level,” says Dale Henwood, CSI Calgary President and CEO. “Injuries can prove to be a costly venture when working towards return to sport. This donation will make a difference.” Some of the services CSI Calgary can provide athletes include baseline testing, physiotherapy, expedited MRIs, concussion tools and proper muscular skeletal assessments.

Originally from Katy, Texas, Mitchell and his wife have been in Calgary since 2012. Active members in the Calgary community, they are involved with many charitable causes in Calgary and Southern Alberta. True role models, the Mitchells take pride in giving back. Among their initiatives to improve our community, they work with YouthLink, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Police Recreational Youth Mentoring Experience, and Vecova Centre for Disability Services and Research. Mitchell also hosts 10-15 kids at every home game through Bo’s QB Club.

Last November Mitchell was also awarded the Herm Harrison Memorial Award for the second straight year, given to a Calgary Stampeders player who distinguishes himself in the field of community service.

CSI Calgary thanks Bo Levi Mitchell for his generosity and would also like to congratulate the Mitchell family on the birth of their daughter last week.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Lisa Thomson
15/03/17

 

Para-Athletes Takeover CSI Calgary at Paralympian Search

November 18, 2015

Thirty-eight participants were #PARATOUGH at the first ever Paralympian Search held by the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) on November 14. The event offered individuals with a physical disability or visual impairment the opportunity to test their athletic potential in a high performance environment with the hope of becoming a future Paralympian.

Representatives from Wheelchair Basketball, Alpine Canada, Cross Country Canada, Cycling Canada, and Hockey Canada were inspired by the athletes’ determination as they were put through a series of tests by staff from the CSI Calgary. Tests included anthropometric measurements, wheelchair or running sprints, vertical jumps, medicine ball tosses, grip strength, and endurance using an arm ergometer or velotron bike.

Jason Poole, Director of Performance Services at the CSI Calgary, declared the event to be an exceptional day for Paralympic sport. He emphasized, “The CSI Calgary is happy to collaborate with the CPC to identify potential athletes and to show them a path into sport. The Paralympian Search is a great initiative with many different partners including the CPC, the National Sport Organizations (NSOs), and the COPSI Network.”

Athlete Ambassador Matt Hallat, a three-time Paralympian, fuelled the athletes’ determination by kicking off the event with a rousing speech. He was impressed by the number of people who bravely tested their athletic skills, saying, “It’s amazing how many people showed up. Paralympian Search is great because people across the country can get into sports and be active for life.” Also present were current athletes such as cyclist Brayden McDougall, a 2008 and 2012 Paralympian, who was able to challenged himself in the testing environment.

Catherine Gosselin-Després, Executive Director of Sport for the CPC, was also impressed with the number of attendees and their desire to participate in sport. “The next step is to provide the test results to the NSOs,” she said. “They will make the decision to either invite the athletes into a high performance program or provide them with other options for participation based on the profile identified throughout the testing phase. Everyone who attended will be contacted and will be getting a response from us and an opportunity to continue in sport.”

The Paralympian Search plans to continue on to Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. CPC is also hopeful that they will be able to add more venues in the coming year. Don’t miss the chance to see if you are #PARATOUGH. Visit paralympic.ca/paralympian-search to register for future events and find out when the CPC is in a city near you.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Passer des Olympiques à un doctorat en comportement directorial

Cari (Read) Din a obtenu une médaille d'argent olympique en nage synchronisée. Elle a en outre reçu un doctorat en comportement directorial et peut relier ces deux réussites à son rôle au sein de l'Institut canadien du sport de Calgary (ICSC). Cari Din est d'avis que l'ICSC a eu une incidence sur sa carrière en nage synchronisée et, forte de ses connaissances en comportement directorial, désire maintenant faire profiter les autres de son expérience.

Paving the Pathway to the Podium

Budding athletes dream of the Olympic podium, but from a distance – it’s a long way off. This precious dream is held deep down in their young hearts by the belief that it is possible to one day step up and earn that glorious, coveted medal on the day it matters most. That the prize remains a distant goal is not a concern, in fact it is the great distance that must still be traveled that drives the next generation of Canada’s best.

It is not just through dreams that Olympic medals are won – it is the end result of years, if not decades, of dogged and meticulous preparation. This preparation begins long before the young athletes reach the elite level, at a time when they are the most malleable, adaptable and willing to learn.

The CSI Calgary, alongside a network of seven Alberta Sport Development Centres (ASDCs), recognizes this timeframe as an opportunity to help prepare young athletes for the next level. In Alberta, the pathway to the podium is being intentionally and methodically paved, by a joint CSI Calgary-ASDC effort that aims to enable emerging athletes reach their goals. Since 2009, the ASDCs have worked closely with both the CSI Calgary and the Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs) of nineteen targeted sports to identify needs and deliver the right services and resources.

One of the primary goals is to introduce athletes to sport science services at a younger age. By partnering with the CSI Calgary, the ASDCs are able to introduce the kind of philosophy, language and science to the emerging athlete so that when they progress to the next level, it’s not all new. Reid Bilben, Manager of the ASDC in Calgary, says, “Bringing sport science to the forefront of the development pathway is a key factor in preparing the athletes.” He adds, “We are more intentional with what we are doing, we are more targeted and strategic than we have ever been.”

According to Miranda Sallis, Manager of Performance Services at CSI Calgary, the partnership also aims to extend the CSI Calgary approach to the PSO level. “The goal is to standardize the system by filtering down those best practices, like identifying gaps in an athlete’s performance or implementing the correct testing protocol and how to interpret results. The result is that there is a pathway for them to succeed,” she says.

Sallis also recognizes the importance of a targeted approach that best serves the athletes. “There are so many layers of influence on a young athlete,” she says, “We are trying to answer the question – ‘What do the athletes actually need?’ We are looking at laying the right foundation instead of just throwing everything at them and hoping something works.” This intentional approach has led to systematic alignment throughout the athlete development pathway.

The impact of the partnership extends to the five rural ASDCs as well. Scott Fraser, Director of High Performance Sport at Alberta Sport Connection, says, “ASDC is a good opportunity for the clubs to have their athletes have access to sport science.” Additionally, there is a component of knowledge sharing and educating local coaches, which Sallis says “opens their eyes to what is potentially available to them.”

It’s not just the young athletes that have big dreams, the proponents of this partnership have a dream too. Says Sallis, “In a perfect world, the pathway would lead from the ASDC, to Next Gen to National Team to the Olympic Podium.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
15/06/16

Paving the Way: Kelly Anne Erdman

The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) congratulates Kelly Anne Erdman on her recent publication, an accomplishment she deems to be, “The greatest achievement of my career.” Erdman has been a source of knowledge in Canadian athletes’ lives for over two decades. Always up-to-date on cutting-edge research, Erdman has been a Performance Dietitian at the 2012 and 2014 Olympic Games as well as the 2011 Pan Am Games.

Erdman began working at the CSI Calgary in 1994, paving the way in the field of sports nutrition. An Olympian in track cycling, Erdman continues to be aligned with the CSI Calgary, working predominantly with the speed skating team and Hockey Canada as the lead dietitian for both the women’s and sledge hockey programs and consulting with the men’s team. She also consults with a variety of sports including luge, heptathlon, and nordic skiing.

For her recent publication, Erdman was hand-picked by Dietitians of Canada to be a co-author on the February 2016 position paper titled Nutrition and Athletic Performance: Position of Dietitians of Canada, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine. The publication is an in-depth report on the role of nutrition as a critical piece of high performance sport and shares the authors’ expertise by outlining evidence-based current recommendations for athletes’ nutrition.

As one of three authors who spent a year and a half re-writing the paper based on current evidence, Erdman’s co-authors were American D. Travis Thomas from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Australian Louise M. Burke representing the American College of Sports Medicine. As science and sport are always evolving, this is the third time the paper has been re-written to update the information. Last published in 2011, the joint position paper will go through its next re-write in 2019.

Erdman says that this re-write is more focused on the need for athlete nutrition to be customized. She believes that it is critical for athletes and their support teams to be aware of how an athlete’s nutrition needs vary on a daily basis. When asked the one piece of advice that she would give to her fellow Sport Dietitians, Erdman stresses that she believes in tailoring the message, customizing it for each athlete’s needs.

Ultimately, it is evident that Erdman loves what she does and is an integral component to the success of Canada’s athletes. While the CSI Calgary knows that Erdman is very deserving of this recognition, she humbly emphasizes, “It was a huge honour for me to represent sport dietitians in Canada, and I would not have been given the opportunity to work on this piece of literature had I not been affiliated with a high performance institute such as the CSI Calgary.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Post Secondary Education Support For Athletes

Athletes at the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSIC) are well prepared for life after sport thanks to tuition support provided by the Sport Canada Athlete Assistance Program (AAP) and services provided by the CSIC.

Sport Canada supports carded athletes in Calgary by paying for up to $5000 in education fees annually. The AAP contributes to athletes' "pursuit of excellence" and helps Canadian athletes combine their sport and academics. This program also allows athletes to bank their tuition support for use once their athletic careers are completed thus eliminating the pressure to take full time classes while they are in the midst of training and competing.

RBC Training Ground Fills The Gap

It takes a concerted effort to discover new athletic talent – an area that has often been overlooked in the Canadian sport system, which relies more on the progression of young athletes from the grassroots level up to high performance. In its second year, RBC Training Ground is building momentum across the country, attracting thousands of athletes for qualifying events. In Alberta alone, approximately 400 athletes will participate in four qualifying events.

To date, three regional qualifiers in Alberta have been completed, in Grande Prairie, Lethbridge and Okotoks, with one more on April 8 in Edmonton. The top male and female athletes from these qualifiers will compete at the CSI Calgary in the regional final on May 6.

The RBC Training Ground program offers young athletes an opportunity to participate in a series of talent identification events testing for power, strength, speed and endurance. The idea is to find talented athletes and provide them with an opportunity to try a new sport in which they might be well-suited to excel.

Kayla Dodson, 24, was the top female athlete from the Grande Prairie event. Dodson played CIS women’s hockey for five years while she was studying sport science and now works for the Alberta Sport Development Centre as a strength and conditioning coach in Grande Prairie

Dodson isn’t sure what sport she would excel at but says she would like to try sprint track cycling. She knows it’s a long road to the Olympics and that very few athletes make it. Still, she says, “it’s every athlete’s dream to be an Olympian.”

According to Joshua Riker-Fox, RBC Olympian, 2008 Modern Pentathlon, RBC Training Ground fills a missing piece in the sport system in Canada. “It’s quite amazing that RBC has been able to step in and help fill this big gap,” he says. “I have to believe that by providing this opportunity athletes will present themselves, especially in sports that are less technical. This is a great opportunity to identify athletes early on.”

That is certainly the hope of many National Sport Organizations (NSOs), 11 of which are involved in the program, including Cycling, Rowing and Athletics. They’re all looking to find athletes with potential in their sport. Ultimately, CSI Calgary staff will connect with representatives from the NSOs to compare athlete performance data with NSO standards to try and identify additional athletes with potential in a specific sport.

For Miranda Sallis, Performance Services Manager at CSI Calgary, seeing all the partners coming together to work on a common goal has been a positive experience. “It has been exciting to work with the regional Alberta Sport Development Centres, the Canadian Olympic Foundation, and RBC to attract potential new talent to high performance sport,” says Sallis. “The response to the program is very encouraging.”

When Dodson was attending school in Australia she recalls seeing talent identification programs at the grade school level, testing for athletes with potential. “It’s a different world over there,” she says. “I remember thinking ‘I wish Canada had something like that.’” Now it does – RBC Training Ground.

For all those undiscovered athletes out there looking for their own chance to shine, take heart and take a chance – sign up for RBC Training Ground. You never know where you might end up.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
05/04/17

Recovery Strategies Build Champions

For Olympic coach Les Gramantik recovery days are not optional, they’re a must. It wasn’t always this way for his training group, especially when Gramantik first came through the coaching system 40+ years ago.

“Athletes were trained very hard and not enough thought was given to recovery”, says Gramantik. “Now as we know, recovery is an integral part of training; without adequate proper recovery it is impossible to train and perform well”.

Gramantik relies on a team of professionals, an Integrated Support Team (IST), to assist his athletes in optimal recovery strategies. Qualified service providers at CSI Calgary contribute to this leading edge approach in addressing the individual athlete’s needs and supporting coaches in decision-making. As Gramantik explains, “It doesn’t matter how much I read, I stay away from giving advice about anything I’m not trained for, so it’s helpful to be able to direct athletes to experts in other fields.”

Performance Dietitian Kelly Drager is one of those professionals accessible through CSI Calgary. Drager sets athletes up for success by focusing on a maximum of three new modifications at a time to foster consistency, not perfectionism. This approach removes the daunting task of trying to follow a strict meal plan, which can be discouraging for anyone who is trying to create new habits.

“Because we work in an athlete-centered approach we want to get the athlete to pull off something they can take charge of and feel like it would benefit them at the highest level,” Drager says. “Little successes can create a cascade effect of other positive changes.”

For example, Drager says the critical question for athletes to consider is “what are you eating and what are you missing?” when addressing their daily food intake: during heavy training days replenishing energy stores appropriately in relation to what energy was expended.

The same consideration is made for lighter training days and having a plan that enables them to adjust accordingly.

Though a coach can tell an athlete to rest and a dietitian can guide an athlete to refuel, one of the hardest parts of recovering for an athlete with a competitive mindset is to convince them to mentally shut down.

Derek Robinson is a Mental Performance Consultant who has been based at CSI Calgary for more than a decade. “The biggest thing about recovery is a mindset that allows the athlete to give themselves permission to turn their mind off.”

In his role as an IST Service Provider for a team sport, Robinson addresses the mental side of recovery by implementing a designated 15 to 20 minute evening recovery session when the team is on the road. This includes a protocol of handing in their phones (after connecting to family) allowing athletes to mentally commit to actively engaging in the relaxation session — literally, “turning it off”. These sessions promote a state of relaxation in order to prepare their bodies and minds for a good night’s sleep, which Robinson says can be often overlooked as a recovery tool but is key to a holistic athlete-centered approach.

Robinson describes it as a bit of a catch-22, in that sleep should be stressed for optimal recovery, but it shouldn’t be stressed about. “You can control your habits surrounding sleep but you can’t control when you fall asleep. That’s when you have to just let go. That’s when you just trust you will fall asleep and you do not worry about it because worrying about it is psychological insomnia.”

It’s sound expert advice such as this, in areas that were once thought of as trivial, that coaches such as Gramantik are now able to implement as a part of a well-rounded IST program, supporting athletes in getting them to the podium.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Jessica Zelinka
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
15/02/17

Small Changes Can Make Big Differences For Para Athletes

Working with para athletes requires more than just the knowledge of sport specific training and physiology, it demands a special creativity. Tessa Gallinger and Bryan Yu are two CSI Calgary Strength and Conditioning Coaches working with para athletes, adapting their training environment where necessary to meet individual requirements.

Pursuing her MSc., Gallinger is specializing in muscle length changes with sport-specific velocity training in young adults with cerebral palsy. Having worked with adaptive sports for almost six years, she stresses that keeping it simple is paramount to creating adaptive programming.

“Coaches working with para athletes need to have a good understanding of sport and the type of impairment they are working with, but it doesn’t need to be complicated.” Gallinger explains. “You don’t need fancy equipment, you just have to be creative in applying your knowledge and adapting it to meet individual needs.”

Yu adds, “There is a lot of thought that goes into making small changes. Coaches need to understand how the impairment affects athlete performance.” He finds training with smaller, diverse groups and developing organic solutions and adjustments is a welcome challenge. “I love the creative element required in adaptive programming – I have to be thinking outside the box.”

Pro Stergiou, CSI Calgary Biomechanist and Performance Analyst uses technology for the assessment of athletic performances in para sports. Over the years he has worked closely with goalball, para-swimming and sledge hockey. He enjoys working with para athletes and the wide range of adaptations that can be made to fit individual needs. “Working with para athletes is very rewarding,” says Stergiou. “With small changes in either training or technique, you can make big differences.”

Gallinger, Stergiou and Yu are hosting a workshop in the CSI Calgary on March 25 as part of the 2017 Adapted Physical Activity (APA) Symposium put on by Mount Royal University, The Steadward Centre for Personal and Physical Achievement and sponsored by the Alberta Sport Connection.

This third semi annual Symposium is a unique opportunity for stakeholders involved in sport and recreation for persons with disabilities to meet and share best practices, common challenges and ways to address them. “We are thrilled to have the CSI Calgary expertise for the Symposium,” says David Legg, Professor at Mount Royal University and Chair of the Organizing Committee. “CSI Calgary adds a significant level of knowledge as one of the leading international sport science institutes for Paralympic athletes. Delegates will have unique access to some of the most innovative thinkers in adaptive sports and will have the opportunity to see techniques being implemented up close with Paralympic athletes.”

What do the CSI specialists want workshop participants to come away with? They want people to understand that training para athletes doesn’t need to be flashy or complex. Working towards a high performance goal, the optimal training program takes into consideration individual requirements and makes as few adaptations to the program as possible.

For more information on the 2017 Adapted Physical Activity Symposium March 23 – 25 www.apasymposium.com.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Lisa Thomson
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
01/03/17

 

Sometimes It Is About The Coach

Some of the best advice Phil Abbott, CSI Calgary cycling coach, ever got was, “don’t ever be in the photo with the athletes!” He took these words to heart, guiding his philosophy of creating an athlete-centric training environment that ensures he is not the center of attention when his athletes succeed.

“It’s about the athlete, not the coach,” says Abbott, also the head coach of the Alberta Bicycle Association. Except when it is about the coach – as it is with the Petro Canada Sport Leadership Awards gala, which recognizes Canada’s most dedicated, inspiring, and successful coaches.

Annually, award recipients are honoured for exemplifying the values and competencies of the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) and for their influence in positively shaping the Canadian sport community.

At the recent awards held in Richmond, BC., Abbott won a Petro Canada Coaching Excellence Award for his work with Paralympic cyclist Mike Sametz, who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games. These prestigious awards recognize coaches whose athletes have excelled at World Championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the Special Olympics World Games.

Despite his humble approach, Abbott acknowledges that the honour is appreciated. “It feels pretty good to be recognized by your peers, to know that your work is noticed.”

Wrestling Canada coach Paul Ragusa, who helped propel CSI Calgary athlete Erica Wiebe to Olympic gold in Rio, was also recognized for his coaching success. “It feels great to win the award,” he says. “It’s a great honour. It’s something that you never think about until it happens.”

Over the years, Abbott and Ragusa have developed and honed their coaching skills with help from experts at the CSI Calgary. Both credit access to experts like exercise physiologists, nutritionists and strength trainers for expanding their knowledge and skills.

Ragusa says that the chance to work closely with experts from the CSI Calgary helped him to formulate and ask the right questions. “As a coach I’m always trying to find that edge and having access to these experts is really helpful,” he says.

For example, having access to an exercise physiologist helped him collect objective data, something he didn’t focus on before. Ragusa says, “having this data often backs up what I might be thinking intuitively. I’m a better coach now that I can see the data and understand what the rational is behind some of the work we are doing.”

Abbott’s experience is very similar. He credits the CSI Calgary with fostering access to a variety of experts. “Once I was in my new coaching role, a lot of opportunities opened up and I had the chance to work with physiologists and nutritionists. This really accelerated my development as a coach.”

It’s not just CSI Calgary service providers that have contributed to coach development, but also partnerships with other organizations that have allowed program integration. Abbot explains, “It is a unique situation where the CSI Calgary is integrated with the velodrome and the provincial cycling program – being able to manage that relationship continuity between all programs and entities is valuable, everything is aligned. This benefits me and my athletes.”

For Ragusa the partnership between Wrestling Canada and the CSI Calgary has been very positive, especially in terms of establishing an IST (Integrated Support Team). “The team is more consolidated now and together we build a formalized plan that ensures the things we are all working on match up. As a coach it has helped me in terms of leadership, bringing everyone together.”

Jason Sjostrom, Director of Coaching Services at CSI Calgary, adds, “We have strong partnerships and we are very proud of that. These coaching awards are an example of that strength.”

Despite being content to remain in the shadows of their athletes’ success, coaches like Abbott and Ragusa are inspiring and worthy of the honour they have earned. It’s nice to see that sometimes it is about the coach.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
30/11/16

Step Up to the Force Plate

Getting sucked into the online vortex of people selling the next big thing that will change your life is an easy slide. Snake oil, miracle cures and guaranteed diets abound – often for a lofty price. The strength and conditioning field is no different – there are countless ‘systems’ available for sale that claim to revolutionize the way athletes train and perform.

The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) however, offers a distinctive approach to education. Now offering its Strength and Power Performance course for the fourth time in three years, the CSI Calgary aims to cut through the fads and get to the heart of strength and conditioning edification.

The course is led by Dr. Matt Jordan, CSI Calgary Director, Strength and Conditioning. He says it’s is different because it’s all about sharing knowledge and creating a powerful learning environment where participants can apply new skills in a real-world training setting.

“We’re not interested in a cookie cutter approach that tends to be pervasive in the strength and conditioning business where everyone is trying to sell something,” says Jordan, who works with high performance athletes in Alpine, Cross Country skiing and Speed Skating. “This course is about sharing knowledge – we have nothing to sell. We simply want people to walk away a better coach.”

This year the course is being offered in two streams, based on feedback received from previous courses. The first stream is designed to drive education in sport and power performance. This is for coaches looking to expand their knowledge and learn about the CSI Calgary strength and conditioning system.

The focus is on providing a powerful learning experience through shadowing opportunities, experiential learning and application of new knowledge. For example, participants will go through an exercise with an athlete to learn movement assessment skills. Other knowledge and skill development includes exercise selection, programming and loading parameters.

The second stream is for a high-level group of strength and power coaches who come together to share knowledge. This stream emerged as coaches began to recognize the advanced nature of the CSI Calgary system and consists of hot topic discussions, serving as a ‘think tank’ to further advance the strength and conditioning.

Jordan says the second stream is a collaborative approach where participants can make new contacts in their network. Participants will also be offering presentations in their own areas of expertise to the first stream group, which broadens the scope of the course and achieves the goal of knowledge sharing.

“With this course we’ve been able to attract some very bright people who not only attend to learn, but also share their work with us so we all benefit,” adds Jordan. This year we have coaches from a professional NBA team and a group from the NACL Return to Sport Clinic in Minnesota will attend the second stream and present to the first stream.

It’s a refreshing take on education in the field of strength and conditioning, and a role that Jordan and his group at CSI Calgary take very seriously. “We’re not selling smoke and mirrors,” says Jordan. “We’re here to share knowledge.”

 

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by: Dave Holland @csicalgaryphoto
03/05/17

Stoked to Host Freestyle skiers

The Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) recently witnessed a boost of youthful energy as members of the Slopestyle team made use of the facilities for a training camp.

The team took advantage of a wide range of CSI Calgary services, including physiology testing, mental performance training, nutrition workshops, medical assessments and a Game Plan presentation.

National team athlete Mark Hendrickson found great value in the experience. He said that his highlights were “learning healthy recipes that even someone who is not skilled at cooking can whip up. We also worked with strength and conditioning coach Jamie McCartney. He taught us skills and techniques to improve our dryland training. I enjoyed his approach because of his experience in various sports.”

Olympic Champion Dara Howell also utilized the CSI Calgary services in conjunction with the WinSport facilities. She credits the training facilities for being a component to her Olympic success, saying, “Calgary has always been a great spot for me! Coming into the Olympic year, the training facilities that were open to me were amazing. It’s really neat to see the CSI Calgary and WinSport taking slopestyle under their wing.”

Leading into the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, the younger generation will likely be able to gain even more from the facilities. There are promising discussions about offering a fully integrated training base for Canadian slopestyle athletes in Calgary. The advantages to this type of relationship are evident, with WinSport providing an ideal facility, the WinSport Academy contributing technical and tactical coaching, and the CSI Calgary contributing to the athletes’ training, sport science and medical requirements.

Adrian King, Director of Sport Science and Medicine for the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, emphasizes that this partnership would be a big win for his team. “We want to link as closely as possible with the CSI Calgary because of the professional expertise. They are major players with respect to sport science services. This is complimented by the terrain at WinSport, which is ideal for slopestyle.”

Hendrickson agrees, saying, “I love the idea of having WinSport as our home training facility. The features on the hill keep getting bigger and more precise year after year. Having all the resources in one place such as physiotherapy, strength training and trampolines make it an amazing place for our athletic development. I am stoked to be able to utilize these resources."

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Strength and Power Performance Course Offers Opportunity to Aspiring Coaches

From May 4-8, 2015, the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary hosted its first ever Strength and Power Performance Course at Canada Olympic Park. Created and facilitated by Matt Jordan, the Director of Strength and Conditioning at the CSIC, the course provided participants with the opportunity to engage with and learn from all of the head strength coaches of national teams based at the CSIC. Jordan's goal was to develop knowledgeable strength and conditioning coaches who are passionate, open and eager to learn. Course participants registered from locations across North America. The course concept allowed the CSIC's head coaches to share their expertise for integrating the science and practice of strength and conditioning.

Throughout the course, each of the CSIC's national team head strength coaches taught methods to assess, monitor, program, and deliver strength and power training. The daily curriculum included methods for athlete intake processes, physical assessments, neuromuscular activation, exercise prescription, advance programming, and learning to detect and monitor functional deficits in elite athletes. Participants were encouraged to have critical thinking when discussing strength and power research. Upon course completion, each participant was awarded a Certificate of Continuing Education from The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA.com).

The opportunity to have round table discussions was one of the highlights for the attendees. Retired Olympic Silver Medallist Justin Warsylewicz participated in the class, noting, "The interaction with the coaches, as well as the other class members, provided the opportunity to learn and develop from other people's experiences. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in pursuing strength coaching. I feel that there was a lot of great information for experienced coaches as well."

Thanks to a high level of interest, the Strength and Power Performance Course will be offered again from November 16-20, 2015.

For more information and to register please visit http://csicalgary.ca/SPPCourse

 

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

Tackling Concussions Head-on

Injuries, especially serious ones, can be devastating for athletes. Injuries are unwelcome, difficult and challenge athletes in ways they are not accustomed to – forced rest, recovery, and exercise only aimed at regaining lost capabilities. There is one injury that can be particularly debilitating and disheartening to overcome however, one that can indefinitely suck the life out of an athlete and compromise quality of life: concussion.

A concussion is a brain injury that occurs when an athlete sustains a blow to the head, neck or any other part of his or her body that transmits an impulsive force to the brain. It results in immediate, myriad and often long-term symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, light sensitivity and blurred vision. Athletes can also experience slowed reaction times, irritability, confusion or the sensation of being in a ‘fog’.

Impaired brain function from a concussion clouds many abilities we take for granted – those that athletes depend on for performance – like reaction time, balance, concentration and judgement. The athlete’s ability to make decisions at the time when they so anxiously want to heal and return to sport is compromised. They end up desperate and powerless to answer just one simple question: “When will I feel normal again?”

Thankfully for concussed athletes, there is world-leading sport concussion expert Dr. Brian Benson, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Sport Medicine at the CSI Calgary. Dr. Benson is passionate about continuously improving the standard of care for concussed athletes. Over the last several years, he and his research team have developed a ground-breaking new protocol for assessing impairment in concussed athletes using a cutting-edge robotic device call the KINARM (Kinesiologic Instrument for Normal and Altered Reaching Movements).

With support from Own the Podium, WinSport, the CSI Calgary and Hotchkiss Brain institute, the KINARM was developed to provide objective, reliable, accurate and quantifiable measurements of brain function. When an athlete suffers a concussion, post-injury results are compared to previously established baseline testing to determine brain impairment.

“This technology and the testing we have developed is a game-changer for high performance athletes,” says Benson. “We can accurately and objectively measure things like an athlete’s split-second decision making, visual spatial planning and movement coordination, and compare that to their baseline testing, which can help us determine whether an athlete is fully recovered from a concussion or at risk of further injury.”

The testing is objective relative to human observation and may reveal additional subtle abnormalities that a clinical examination and cognitive assessment may not. This means that the KINARM can bring clarity and objectivity to the fuzzy zone of concussion recovery. Says Benson, “The testing can help the multidisciplinary management team with tough-decision making when it comes to figuring out when an athlete is ready to return.”

Jon Kolb, Director of Sport Science, Medicine and Innovation at Own the Podium says the decision to support Dr. Benson’s research and the KINARM was borne out of a need to fill a gap in concussion care. “We did it because the world was void of a valid baseline measurement,” he says. “We felt some responsibility to ensure we have a valid baseline measurement so that when athletes get concussed we can help.”

With this new tool, Dr. Benson and his team have revolutionized the way that concussions are diagnosed, monitored and managed. This is invaluable to high performance athletes because it offers a clear path to recovery as well as a safeguard against the risk re-injury can have on long-term health. As difficult as the healing process may be to endure, according to Benson, this safeguard is one of the technology’s key advantages. “You can’t fool the machine,” he says.

This technology is now available to the public through the Benson Concussion Institute and WinSport's new sport concussion program. For more information visit www.winsport.ca.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto

That Research Mind

Sport – is it art or science, or both? There’s no question that in today’s quest for ever higher, faster and stronger athletes, sport has increasingly evolved to rely on science as one of the primary tools for objectively measuring and improving athletic performance.

When a coach or service provider has an idea for improving performance, such as a new training method or use of a new technology, it can be difficult to determine the impact it has on performance – there are so many variables at play. In the past, new ideas were sometimes implemented and evaluated in the field without much objectivity or scientific basis. Research was also often done in isolation, in academia, far away from the playing field. Today, there is a better way.

Enter Dr. Erik Groves, Research and Innovation Lead at the CSI Calgary. His job is to evaluate the impact of new methodologies or technologies to support athlete training and recovery that will enhance performance using scientific investigation. “The goal is understanding if and how a new method or technology increases our understanding for athlete improvement,” says Groves.

Groves works directly with NSO’s, coaches and service providers, and his research is often conducted in real-world settings with athletes in a variety of sports. His background in scientific research and sport makes him ideally suited to fill this cutting-edge role of applied research at the CSI Calgary.

“What Erik brings is that research mind,” says Rosie Neil, Director of Development and Strategic Programs. “He applies that to evaluate an innovation through research.” That research mind is key when it comes to helping service providers and coaches wade through the waves of new training ideas and technologies that are constantly reaching the shore.

Groves will take an idea that a coach has, or offer his own ideas, and work to objectively measure and evaluate the impact it has on performance. Adds Neil, “he knows how to collect data so it has the rigour to make a conclusion possible. He’s instrumental in disseminating that data in order to see the bigger picture.”

In some cases, research is not possible until the right measurement tools are in place. For example, one of Groves’ current projects, funded by Own the Podium, is a new timing system at the Olympic Oval that will track speed skaters’ velocity during training. The data collected from this system will be intrinsically useful but will also offer several new opportunities for further research – research that wasn’t possible before.

“We are building a technological foundation from which we can do research with sport specific data and testing protocols,” says Groves. “With these tools we have the capability of conducting high quality, sport specific research.”

Groves’ work however, goes beyond solving one problem for one sport. “This is not just for a single sport,” he says. “By having a point person on the concept of research and innovation you can leverage the process for problem solving for one sport to another sport, it’s a synergistic effect.” This means that some of his research conclusions in one sport may be applicable to other sports, or perhaps the same methodology can be applied to a similar problem in another sport.

Groves’ position didn’t always exist at the CSI Calgary; in fact, he is the first to fill it. Jason Poole, Director of Performance Services, says that adding the research and innovation role was part of the strategic plan to becoming a leading Canadian Sport Institute. “This is one of the pillars to being a true institute,” he says. “We’re not just there for service delivery but we actively do scientific research for better service.”

For Neil, the value is not only in improving service delivery, but doing so with scientific precision and integrity. “For the CSI Calgary it is hugely important to have this role. We don’t want to work on hunches but be able to look objectively at how we move forward.”

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
31/08/16

The Best of the Best: 2016 Year in Review

2016 was a memorable year in the world of sport. The 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games were the major highlight and there were exciting performances in winter sport too – keeping us hungry for more leading into the next Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2018.

Although there were many great stories to choose from, below are a selection of human interest and performance stories coming out of CSI Calgary:

5. Mike Sametz: Young Upstart Para-cyclist Wins Bronze in Rio

In a Paralympic sport typically dominated by older athletes in their thirties and even forties, this 20-year old cyclist has risen through the ranks quickly, winning a bronze in the Individual Time Trial at the 2016 Paralympic Games. His first international podium result came at the 2015 ParaPan Am Games with a silver medal, which led to his first ever World Cup medal, a bronze at a 2016 World Cup in Belgium.

4. Tara Whitten Overcomes All Odds with an Amazing Recovery and Performance in Rio

After a serious and bizarre crash on her bike during a ride in Rio at a training camp in March, Whitten made a remarkable recovery from a concussion and a broken bone in her neck. Whitten was able to train on an adapted bike, designed and built by a CSI Calgary exercise physiologist allowing her to ride in an upright position to protect her neck. Over a 10-week period Whitten was able to build up her endurance enabling her to compete successfully one week after her brace came off. Several weeks later she dominated the National Championships and qualified for Rio. Whitten placed 7th in the Individual Time Trial – a fantastic result by an athlete who persevered through injury with fierce determination.

3. Ivanie Blondin: Mass Start Star

Blondin originally started out in short track speed skating, honing her ability to skate in a pack. This experience has served her well in a new long track speed skating event that is now on the Olympic program – the Mass start. She beat her Dutch rival, Irene Schouten, at the World Single Distance Championships, bringing home the gold medal. Blondin is skating successfully again this fall, with two gold and a silver to date in the ladies Mass start.

2. Bloeman Wins Prestigious Oscar Mathisen Award

Transplanted Dutchman, now Canadian, Ted Jan Bloemen has been a boon to the men’s long track speed skating team. In 2015 he broke his former countryman, Sven Kramer’s, longstanding world record in the 10,000m by almost five seconds. For his efforts, Bloemen won the 2016 Oscar Mathisen Award for the most outstanding speed skating performance of the season worldwide. He is the 5th Canadian to win the award in 57 years. Bloemen has continued to lead the men’s distance team, winning silver in the 10,000m and bronze in the Team Pursuit at the 2016 World Single Distance Championships.

1. Wiebe Wrestles her Heart Out

One of the most enduring images of a Canadian athlete from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio is that of Erica Wiebe, standing atop the Olympic podium with a gold medal around her neck, singing Oh Canada, tears streaming unabashedly down her face. The gold medal performance by Wiebe was an outstanding example of preparation, execution and confidence. Always one to wear her heart on her sleeve, Wiebe’s performance was dominating and inspiring.

Other Noteworthy Stories from the CSI Calgary:

Rio Olympic and Paralympic Performances: Medals won by CSI Calgary supported athletes include Allison Beveridge, Stefan Daniel, Jennifer Kish, Stephanie Labbe, Kirsti Lay, Alister McQueen, Mike Sametz and Ashley Steacy

Comeback from Injury: Two notable athletes that are making a comeback for the 2016-2017 winter season are alpine skier Dustin Cook, who tore his ACL/MCL in 2015 and speed skater Denny Morrison, who narrowly survived a motorcycle crash in 2015 and a stroke in 2016.

Talent Transfer: Kate O’Brien and Kirsti Lay both transferred into cycling from other sports, both qualified for Rio Summer Olympics with Kirsti winning a Bronze medal in the Team Pursuit.

Luge Podium Sweep: Alex Gough and Kim McRae won Silver and Bronze at Lake Placid World Cup, followed up by Gold in the Team Relay.

Historic Biathlon Bronze: The men’s Biathlon team won Canada’s first ever World Championship Relay medal in the heartland of the sport in Oslo, Norway.

Assistant Chef de Mission: Carol Huynh, CSI Calgary Next Gen Wrestling Coach and 2008 Olympic Champion, joined Team Canada in Rio as an Assistant Chef de Mission.

CBC All Stars: Six CSI Calgary alumni were broadcasters in Rio: Blythe Hartley, Clara Hughes, Kyle Shewfelt, Mike Smith, Mark Tewksbury and Kelly VanderBeek.

Humphries’ Podium Streak Continues: Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz won Silver at the Bobsleigh World Championships.

New Bobsleigh Star: Cynthia Appiah set a bobsleigh start record at her first ever World Cup with new partner Kaillie Humphries.

New at the CSI Calgary in 2016

Game Plan Networking Events: CSI Calgary held two Game Plan networking events, at Crescent Point Energy with more than 75 current and alumni athletes attending each event.

Sharing Knowledge: 15 CSI Calgary professionals presented at the 2016 OTP SPIN Conference.

Concussion Research: Launch of the KINARM robot, research by Dr. Brian Benson, CSI Calgary’s Director of Sport Medicine, supported by CSI Calgary, OTP, WinSport, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Mitacs Acelerate-OTP post-doctorate scholar research award for Dr. Tara Whitten.

Education: Strength and Power Performance Course delivered in May.

Coaching Support: CSI Calgary became a regional hub for coaching delivery with a new D2L platform.

New Lead: Tanya Dubnicoff, one of the most decorated cyclists in Canadian history joined CSI Calgary in January 2016 as CSI Calgary Cycling, Athlete Development Lead.

Recognition: CSI Calgary staff recognized for their achievements – Phil Abbott wins a Petro Canada Coaching Excellence Award for work with Paralympic cyclist Mike Sametz; Kelly Ann Erdman, February 2016 position paper titled ‘Nutrition and Athletic Performance: Position of Dietitians of Canada’, published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine.

Practicum and Internship: CSI Calgary supported 13 practicum students and one internship position, working to integrate CSI Calgary knowledge and experience, teaching students, coaches and sport science professionals in the fields of Strength and Conditioning, Sport Science, Biomechanics and Nutrition, to help put Canadians on the podium.

Technology: CSI Calgary launched Edge 10, a web-based platform to capture, monitor and store daily training environment and para medical information. Users include NSFs, athletes, coaches and Service Providers.

New Programs: NextGen programs for Ski Cross, Freestyle Park and Pipe.

Partnerships: ASDC & CSI Calgary partnered to support a new Para Sport Training Program.

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto
16/12/16

The Future of Triathlon: Emily Wagner

Emily Wagner did not always have her heart set on becoming a triathlete. The 18-year-old Calgarian grew up playing a wide range of community sports including ringette, soccer, and gymnastics. However, it was her prowess in competitive swimming and cross country running that prompted someone to suggest she test her abilities in a triathlon at the age of fifteen.

Three years later, the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary (CSI Calgary) athlete has been named Junior Triathlete of the Year. Wagner admits, “I really was not expecting it! There were a lot of other strong junior triathletes who had a great year as well.”

Wagner has been supported by the CSI Calgary since September 2013, only three months after she competed in her first triathlon. She was seen as an athlete with great potential by the CSI Calgary’s Lead of Athlete Development Paula Jardine and became part of the Talent Lab program. Wagner says the program has been “a great platform that provided me with the resources necessary to initiate my triathlon career. The services have been a great help to my success thus far. Testing in the Sport Performance Laboratory has helped my training, giving me a base line to work with and improve on throughout the season while allowing exercise physiologists to monitor and plan my program.”

Jardine notes, "The CSI Calgary recognized Emily's potential right away and we have been working with her since she started her triathlon career to build up her structural tolerance for training. Many good female triathletes are prone to overtraining injuries and fail to sustain their performances. We put in place a long term program for Emily designed to help her make the transition from Junior athlete to Olympian by making her a more resilient athlete."

Funding provided by B2Ten helped to support the CSI Calgary Talent Lab Project in 2015. Thanks in part to their support, up and coming athletes such as Wagner have had access to strength training and physiology support, as well as medical and paramedical services through the Talent Lab. For Wagner, meeting with Registered Dietitian Kelly Drager about questions or concerns regarding her diet, working on strength training with coach Anna Aylwin, and paramedical treatment with Shayne Hutchins have been crucial.

Wagner says, “The services provided from the CSI Calgary have allowed me to grow and develop as an athlete.” Moving forward, Wagner is looking to improve on her eighth place result from last year’s Junior World Championship by finishing in the top five in Cozumel, Mexico. Next season, she will advance to the Elite category and begin training for the 2020 Olympic Games.

For more information on the Talent Lab Project, please contact Paula Jardine at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Institut canadien du sport de Calgary : @csicalgary
Rédigé par Brittany Schussler: @BSchussler
Photo de Dave Holland: @CSICalgaryPhoto

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