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Coach Profile: Jennifer Callow - Volleyball

Author: BC Games Society/Friday, September 23, 2016/Categories: 2016 News, 2016 BC Summer Games, Alumni, Volleyball

Coach Profile: Jennifer Callow - Volleyball

National Coaches Week is September 17-25.  An initiative of the Coaches Association of Canada and the Provincial and Territorial coaching organizations, this week celebrates the tremendous positive impact coaches have on athletes and communities across Canada.  This week is an opportunity to recognize coaches for the integral role they play by simply saying #ThanksCoach.

The BC Games are part of BC’s athlete development pathway, but also provide an important opportunity for coaching development.  Organizations like Volleyball BC have seen the progression and success of their coaches through these programs. 

In honour of National Coaches Week, we are profiling some of our outstanding coaches who took part in the coach mentorship program in 2016.  This program pairs apprentice and mentor coaches for unique hands-on experience and training at the BC Winter and BC Summer Games.

Jennifer Callow has been involved in multiple BC Games as an athlete, coach and also as a volunteer organizer on the Board of Directors of the 2006 BC Summer Games.  She took on a new role this past summer as a mentor coach to her son Ethan at the 2016 BC Summer Games.

Jennifer Callow, Volleyball Mentor Coach (Lake Country)

1. Why did you choose to get into coaching?
I started coaching as a way to give back to the sport.  I had a number of influential coaches growing up and know the impact a great coach makes on the game.

2. What is your favorite thing about coaching? 
I enjoy meeting new athletes and teaching them new skills.  I love the moment when ‘it clicks’…when they have been working on mastering a skill and it all comes together.  I love celebrating individual and team ‘wins’ (on or off the court) and building young people who respect the sport whether they win or lose a game!

3. Do you have a particular coaching style?  
I use a democratic coaching style.  I like to have athletes participate in the process.  I like to teach them how to be self-aware during a game, understand consequences of their decisions on the court, and provide positive guidance.  

4. What multi-sport Games have you attended? 
Kelowna 1994 BC Summer Games -  Zone 8 Girls Volleyball Coach
Penticton 1995 BC Summer Games – Zone 8 Girls Volleyball Coach
Smithers 1994 BC Winter Games – Zone 8 Adult Volleyball Athlete
Kamloops 2006 BC Summer Games – Director of Promotions 
Abbotsford 2016 BC Summer Games – Zone 2 Boys Volleyball Coach

5. What was your favorite memory from coaching at the BC Games?
The BC Games experience is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity.  When I talk to parents and athletes about the BC Games, I get giddy.  I am SO excited for the athletes and coaches.  The Opening Ceremony is such an overwhelming experience.  One of the memories from this year was having the athletes in the holding area outside waiting to be marshaled into the Ceremony.  The athletes would keep asking me what we were waiting for…how much longer?  You know, questions teenagers ask. We were in the hallway downstairs and there was a curtain that opened up into the arena.  One of the boys had a peak and they said “Coach Jenn…it’s packed in there!”  The air of excitement was breathtaking.  As they started their walk onto the floor, the look on their faces, the energy and the excitement around them, truly amazing!!  I suggested the team follow the Zone 2 volunteer holding the sign.  The boys were right in the front of leading their Zone into the ceremony, the best view point!  The Games experience is unexplainable!  You have to experience it…the bus ride, the accreditation centre, the accommodation, the venue, the opening ceremony, the competition, the special events, the food…I can’t believe how many hours of logistics go into making every Games happen!! 

6. What did you learn from being involved in the coach mentor/apprentice program?  
The mentor/apprentice program taught me so many things.  The biggest was sharing my passion for coaching.  I had the unique opportunity in being a mentor coach for my son, Ethan.  Ethan has watched me coach, has been coached and has helped with many of my teams.  The program challenged me to reflect on how I coach and why I do the things that I do.  Having Ethan ask for clarification on drills or skill breakdown gave me the time to review how I explain things.  The best thing for me was to see the growth in Ethan over the program.  His confidence grew with every practice.  He started to feel he belonged to the team as a coach.  The athletes respected what he had to say and would come to them for clarification and help.  The program is such a great way to get young coaches involved in their sports in a learning environment.  It gave me an opportunity to pass along things I learned through coaching and sport.  

7. What has been your best success in coaching? 
Success is a funny thing.  I don’t always think it’s about the Championship or the last win.  I believe it is about the journey, the experience and the people.  I have coached SO many athletes, in SO many different programs and I still love being on the court.  The biggest reward is seeing athletes succeed in life!  We are teaching skills that translate to every aspect of their life.   Success to me is developing a love of the game in athletes!  The best moments are watching former athletes play at a University/college/professional level, coaching against a former athlete, and meeting up with coaches you have coached with and against for years! 

8. What are your next goals as a coach? 
I had the opportunity to complete the Level 3 coaching workshop this summer and work with some fantastic athletes.  I will continue to complete the requirements for that and would love to coach a U18 team maybe in time for the next Canada Summer Games.  Right now, I will continue to coach where needed and excited to be coaching some of my summer games athletes at George Elliot Secondary, Junior A team!

PHOTO: Jennifer Callow busy in a team building activity at the 2016 BC Summer Games


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