CLOVERDALE — As a competitive curler growing up in Winnipeg, Paul Tardi figured it’d be relatively easy to coach his two sons the sport. But once he travelled down the road of being a certified coach, he realized he needed a lot more than just technical abilities and skill.
“It’s all the other stuff that’s so important – you know, resolving conflicts, sports psychology, nutrition, off-season training,” Tardi said with a smile. “When I was playing, there were no coaches, so you just played. But now there’s so much more to it, you have to have more knowledge.”
Tardi, a Cloverdale resident, has been working with junior and adult teams and individuals at Langley Curling Club since 2006. He’s become what’s known as a National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) competition-development curling coach, and many of his players – including sons Tyler, 18, and Jordan, 20 – have competed at the BC Winter Games, Canada Winter Games and national curling championships.
This week, as British Columbia Coaches Week is celebrated from Sept. 17 to 25, Tardi has been named a Coach of the Year by viaSport, a provincial agency tasked with the development and promotion of sport and physical activity. The other award winner is LaVerne Howard, a longtime figure skating coach in 100 Mile House.
Last weekend, Tardi was at Cloverdale Curling Rink with his sons and their teammates, Sterling Middleton and Nicholas Meister, as a junior-team entry in the Cloverdale Cash Spiel. The World Curling Tour event, eventually won by the Rui Liu-skipped squad of Harbin, China, saw Team Tardi fall in the quarterfinals to the eventual finalists, Team Cseke of Kelowna.
CLICK HERE for tourney results and team information.
CLICK HERE to visit Team Tardi Curling website, with team bios, photos, list of sponsors and more.
In Cloverdale, before his team’s Friday-evening draw (Sept. 16), Tardi talked about how a curling coach typically prepares his players.
“I’m not on the ice with them, so my work is done beforehand, which is a little different than most sports,” Tardi explained. “We have a 10-minute meeting where I’ll go over some technical things and then I give them 10 minutes on their own, to warm up.… It’s very early in the curling season, so wins and losses aren’t as important as trying to build something over the next few months.”
In junior curling (Under-21 level), two timeouts are allowed per game.
“There’s still those interventions at the junior level. I don’t use those much anymore, I’ll let them call them, but in their earlier years I’d see things going awry, I’d call a timeout to get them on track,” Tardi explained. “I’ll be upstairs and signal to them, call a T, and if they see it and they call it on the ice, then you get the timeout. If they see you and ignore the T, then you don’t get the timeout. Someone on the team, one of the players, actually has to signal the T for a timeout to happen.”
Every year, the provincially-funded viaSport and its partners train close to 10,000 coaches in B.C. through NCCP programs, and Tardi said he greatly benefited from the training, much of it online. Topics include effective coaching methods, child development, nutrition and ethical decision-making.
“It’s all very helpful, those resources,” Tardi said. “When my sons wanted to do the competitive side (of curling), they needed a certified coach, so that sort of forced me to get all that, the certification to be out on the ice. There are a lot of parent-coaches in curling, like myself, because it’s not always easy to find certified coaches.… And it’s been an exciting run. They’ve done really well over the last four or five years.”
For more details about the NCCP, launched in 1974 and now considered the largest adult continuing-education program in Canada, visit the website Coach.ca.
In B.C., viaSport is marking National Coaches Week by offering reduced-rate courses and contests, and is encouraging the use of #ThanksCoach and #CoachesWeek hashtags on social media. For details, visit Viasport.ca/coachesweek.