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3 Lessons Every Young Coach Learns

Most coaches at the beginning stages of their coaching careers go through a transitional period from playing and being “the guy” to starting over and having to work back up again. This can be a tough transition for some and others fully embrace the change from playing to coaching. Many coaches would argue that they learned more their first year coaching than any other year. Young and/or beginner coaches will go through changes and learning experiences that are generally beneficial and ultimately help to mold them into the coaches they will eventually become. Coaching is always changing but there are some principles in place that remain constant across all sports and all levels. These are the three lessons that every young coach tends to learn rather quickly as they venture into their new career.

Lesson #1: You Really Don’t Know It All

Whether you just finished playing or maybe never even played the sport you are about to coach, you probably think you have a good understanding of the basic rules, fundamentals, skills, etc… needed to coach your respective sport. While this is probably true, there will be many things that you learn as a coach from other coaches that you literally had no idea about. There will be topics of conversation that come up and you may have no idea what the heck is being discussed, and that’s okay! Almost all experienced coaches know that their younger coaches on staff do not know everything and won’t know everything right away. Everybody had to start somewhere and even the best coaches in the world had to start from scratch just like you. One of the biggest piece of advice that a young coach can learn is this; it is perfectly okay to ask questions. In fact, it is usually encouraged! Coaches want their staff members to be confident about whatever it is they are teaching their players and because of this, questions are absolutely essential for young coaches to feel comfortable coaching players directly. One of the biggest pet peeves most coaches have about some of their young coaches on staff is that they think they know everything when they walk in day one. Know your role early on and ease into the staff as seamlessly as you can. Ask questions, be open about what you know and what you don’t, and ultimately learn to be a great listener because this will translate into making you a great teacher and coach!

Lesson #2: Different Players Learn in Different Ways

Young coaches will learn early on that all players learn better in certain environments and certain circumstances. It is the old “carrot vs the stick” analogy. Young coaches need to learn early on what motivates the players that they coach. Not all players will respond or learn in the same way. Coaches have to be able to adapt to different players and different personalities. There are always going to be “tougher” players to gain respect from but if you learn what gets to them and what truly motivates and moves them then you will find success in helping them reach their full potential.

A great tactic for young coaches to speed up this process is to have individual meetings with all of the players that you will be in direct contact with throughout the season. Set up these meetings and truly get to know your players on a personal basis. This will allow you to create a solid base for the relationships you are about to build with your players and it will also allow you to ask questions that will help you better understand what kind of personalities you are about to encounter and also allow them to ask you questions so that a trust is formed between you. Be honest with them when answering questions and they will respect you to an even greater degree.

Lesson #3: Suck It Up: Stay the Course

The last lesson that all young coaches learn very quickly and early on in the process is that some days you just have to suck it up. There will be days that challenge you and truly will reveal your character. There are hard decisions that have to be made as coaches and young coaches will continue to get better at making decisions quickly and efficiently. There will be issues which will be time sensitive and will not allow you to fully evaluate or research a perfect answer. Coaches learn to stay the course and just trust their instincts. Coaches that are selfless and willing to do some of the dirty work early on will reap the benefits of their sacrifices later on in their coaching careers. When young coaches are asked to do tasks that they are uncomfortable with or unsure how to do it, ask for help. Any and every new experience that is presented to you, you should take advantage of. Coaches that can build a resume of varying experiences and skills will succeed much greater than those who rely on a limited repertoire. On the days that are tough, confide in your mentors and former coaches. Most of them have probably been through a similar situation and will be able to help you through it. So just remember, suck it up and stay the course! Whether you are a young coach, an older coach starting a new gig, or someone who is just thinking of becoming a coach, remember these three lessons and learn them as quickly as you can to ensure that your career is started with your feet on the ground running! Don’t be afraid to ask questions, get to know your players on a personal level, and stay the course when things get tough!

Rising Stars


RS Technical Director

Brock University, NCCP Level III


*Soccer Development
*Sport Promotion


RS Technical Director – Athletics

Waterloo University, BA

Lakehead University B.Ed, M. Ed

NCAA: Referee/Official

High Five: Principles of Healthy Child Development
Sport for Life: Physical Literacy for Early Childhood


RS Regional Director – Athletics & Education

Waterloo University, BA
Lakehead University B.Ed, M. Ed

NCAA: Referee/Official
High Five: Principles of Healthy Child Development
Sport for Life: Physical Literacy for Early Childhood


Sport Development 
Youth Development


RS Technical Director – Play & Recess

NCCP: Coaches Physical Literacy Training


Play & Recreation
Recess Programming

High Five: Principles of Healthy Child Development
Sport for Life: Physical Literacy Instructor Program
Sport for Life: Physical Literacy for Early Childhood
Member of the US Play Coalition (Since 2011)
Founder of the Canadian Play Network
Creator of the PlanetPlay Stencil line


Regional Director

Lakehead University, B.A.
University of Newcastle – Australia, B.Ed
Specialist PE & Health


*Indigenous Education
*Youth & Sport Development

As a Regional Director with Rising Stars, Matt coordinates and facilitates various programs across both our athletics and education divisions. He currently serves as the Director of Rising Stars Basketball Academy Six Nations.

Matt King grew up as an all star athlete. He played NAIG for Team Ontario, and represented Ontario at National Aboriginal basketball camp, where he was selected MVP. Matt competed as a varsity athlete for the Mens Basketball Team at Laurier and Lakehead Universities, and went on to coach U Sport at both Lakehead and Guelph. Matt continued his education and began a professional career as a certified teacher. After ten years of dedicated service as a teacher, coach and Athletic Director (Chair) with the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, Matt embarked on a new professional adventure, while continuing to compete in triathlons and Iron-Man races. As a Regional Director with Rising Stars, Matt coordinates and facilitates various programs across both our athletics and education divisions. Matt specializes in facilitating programs and instruction for youth, students, and athletes, both on and off reserve. He currently serves as the Director of Rising Stars Basketball Academy – Six Nations.


RS Associate Director

Laurier University, B.A.
Queensland University of Technology – Australia, B.Ed,


*Basketball Development
*Indigenous Education

As an Associate Director at Rising Stars, Dee coordinates programs both in the athletics and education divisions in support of youth, students, and athletes, both on and off reserves.

Delicia Channer competed as a varsity athlete for Laurier University Women’s Basketball Team, where she was the team captain and a division all star. Dee continued her education and began a professional career as a certified teacher. Dee now serves as an Associate Director with Rising Stars. She is a LEAD Facilitator for Indigenous projects, programs, and services. In this role, Dee facilities creative programs and workshops that promote Indigenous awareness and empowerment. As Rising Stars most Senior Programs Instructor & Facilitator, Dee coordinates programs in both the athletics and education divisions. Dee specializes in facilitating programs and instruction for youth, students, and athletes, both on and off reserve. She currently serves as the Head Coach for the Conestoga College Women’s Basketball team.


Senior Vice President, Director of Programs

Spring Arbor University, BSc Concurrent Education
Specialist Sport Science


* Female Empowerment
* Sport Development

As the Senior Vice President at Rising Stars Athletics & Education, Erin serves as the General Manager of the Education Division. Erin facilitates Advanced Programs and Instruction for administrators, coaches, and teachers. Erin develops and designs programs and curriculum for student engagement and athlete development.

Erin Forman is former member of both Softball Canada’s National team program and Baseball Canada’s National Team. She played in the 2004 Women’s World Series in Japan, and the 2006 World Cup in Taipei. Erin was named All American, All Conference, and Player of the Year, while playing on a U.S. Softball Scholarship. She was recently  inducted into the hall of fame for her achievements in sport. Though Erin’s sport specific bio clearly demonstrates an extensive combination of all around athleticism and personal achievement in softball that very few athletes can claim, equally impressive is her continued commitment to helping others achieve their goals through sport and education in her professional endeavours. Erin serves as role model in her trade and community. She demonstrates an unwavering commitment to making positive differences in the lives of others.

Erin continues to use sport as a vehicle to empower others in the work she does in coaching, and also in her professional endeavours. As a founding partner and Director of Softball Development at Rising Stars, Erin has become one of the most highly sought teachers and coaches of the game. Erin is on the cutting edge of instructional techniques, tools, and theories for optimal development. She has worked with countless local and regional athletes, supporting aspiring student-athletes as they continue in their positive development and successfully pursue opportunities to play college or university ball in Canada, and/or secure U.S. softball scholarships, with many advancing to become provincial and national calibre softball players.


Founding Partner, President & Chair

McMaster University, B.A., M.A
University of Western Ontario – Ph.D


*Leadership & Empowerment
*Youth & Community Development

As the original Founding Partner of what would eventually become the Rising Stars Group of companies, Dr Peters has been instrumental in the continued expansion and reach of positive sport, youth, and community development programs and special projects.

From early beginnings as a competitive student athlete in the Hamilton region, and many local achievements and recognitions at the secondary level, Dr Peters went on to compete as a varsity athlete for McMaster University, winning numerous regional, provincial and national medals as a member of the Men’s Basketball Team. Dr Peters earned both a B.A., and M.A. at McMaster University, and went on to acquire a teaching certificate from D’Youville College, and a Ph.D. at the University of Western Ontario. These formative years laid the foundation for what would eventually become Rising Stars Athletics and Education.

He continues to serve as the conglomerate’s most senior executive, with 25 years of success in youth and community development through athletics and education. He continues to leverage his passion and extensive experience to engage youth and community in a positive and healthy development.

Dr. Peters devotes his time and energy to creating and partnering with stakeholders in the facilitation of innovative student and athlete development programs. Through strategic partnerships with national, professional, and elite athletes, coaches, sport science professionals, and educators, Dr Peters continues to collaborate with local organizations and expand through offering a variety of programs designed specifically for the benefit of athletes, students, schools, and communities.