Performance Coaching: Providing Better Support to OSS Coaches & Teams

 In News, Parents, Players, Training & Conditioning

In the fall of 2018, the Shooting Stars Basketball Club engaged a local Mental Skills Performance Coach to work with teams to provide better support for both coaches and players. Under this pilot-initiative, Ms. Kelly Adams is working with a number of OSS teams.

Ms Adams has a unique background in Applied Performance (B.Music), a Masters in Counselling (M.Ed Psych), a Masters in Co-Active Coaching (ACC), and more than 25 years working with youth and those in leadership positions. This includes many years of working with sports teams and coaches at the college and elite levels.

In 2017, Kelly Adams wrote a book entitled: “Mindful Team Making: a Guide for Coaches, Athletes and Parents.” The book highlights the importance of building trust as a foundation for high-performance teams. Other elements are needed, such as leadership, purpose, and connection, but Adams writes that the six elements of a “mindful team” rest on a solid foundation of trust.

In addition to her education and professional experience, Adam’s understanding is also informed by what she learned as the Mother of a former Shooting Stars player. He daughter, Carolyn Adams, enjoyed a full-range basketball roles, starting in a junior skills programs, joining OSS club teams, and advancing to elite programs, and 5 years of basketball at Memorial University. In between, while coping with an injury, Carolyn gave back by certifying and volunteering to a coach an OSS boy’s team.

Kelly Adams brings to the Shooting Stars not only this broad and first-hand experience, but also a passion for being in gym to support coaches and teams. This made her an especially good fit for OSS as the sport of basketball takes off.

The contribution of volunteer coaches is key to the success of the Ottawa Shooting Stars Basketball Club. The rapid growth that our club has enjoyed is fuelled by the increasing popularity of basketball. But it would not be possible without the efforts and dedication of individuals who step-up to coach our teams.

We benefit from the involvement of coaches who bring diverse talents and experiences. Some are former university players, and high school coaches with impressive pedigrees. Many more played and enjoyed the game at the school or recreational levels. But all share a strong commitment to spreading the joy of basketball through opportunities to play and develop skills in a safe and healthy environment.

All Shooting Stars coaches get opportunities for technical training, certification and access to resources on the skills and drills of basketball. But we ask a lot of our coaches in the form of time and energy commitments. In a climate of changing sports cultures and team dynamics, we want to give coaches more support.

That is why we welcomed Kelly and hope that her expertise adds to existing support and training we get from top area coaches, such as Dave Malowski, who is the lead coach trainer for Eastern Ontario.

To date, Kelly has facilitated a series of workshops with 12 OSS teams, with athletes ranging in age from 12 to 18. These workshops have taken place at Lisgar Collegiate on Saturday mornings, in concert with on-court training sessions.

During the performance sessions, Kelly asks individual teams to consider what is meant by the term “team culture”? It’s a chance to think and elaborate on the essential qualities of a learning culture that promotes growth in both coaches and teammates.

In facilitated group discussions, Kelly helps teams to focus on specific elements that can form part of their own team culture. In brainstorming sessions, teams are encourage to develop and take ownership of team culture; it’s not just the coach’s responsibility! The responsibility for the health and high functioning of the team belongs to all its members.

During the months of February through April, Kelly will follow-up with teams she worked with in the fall. In facilitated sessions, they will work on how to prepare for game performance, how to use the stress response to the athlete’s advantage, and other topics selected by the OSS coaches.

Once the season is over, we will check-in with athletes, coaches and parents to assess the pilot and continue to look for ways to support OSS athletes and coaches inside and outside of the gym.