Coach Spotlight: Jocelyn Poirier

September 21, 2020


Coach Spotlight: Jocelyn Poirier

September 21st, 2020

(Whitby, ON) - National Coaches Week is an annual campaign lead by the Coaching Association of Canada. Coaches week is an opportunity to recognize coaches for the integral role they play by taking the time to recognize and thank them for all there efforts. Join in on the week by recognizing your favourite coach on social media using the hashtag #ThanksCoach. Tag Rugby Ontario in the post so we can recognize them as well!

In celebration of National Coaches Week, Rugby Ontario is profiling coaches from across the Ontario rugby community. Today’s profile is on Jocelyn Poirier. Jocelyn is a coach with the Kingston Panthers. Read more about Jocelyn’s story and stay tuned to Rugby Ontario’s social media channels for more National Coaches Week content!

How did you first get involved with rugby?

A: I started playing rugby in grade nine. The coach was my English teacher and he and some of the older girls I knew from other sports encouraged me to try it.    

What is your favourite rugby memory?

A: Hard to choose just one but qualifying and attending the CIS National Championships in my final year at Queen's is definitely up there. It was a first for Queen's and meant a lot to us to have finally achieved it. 

What do you love most about the sport?

A: I love so many things about rugby - the physicality, the camaraderie, the teamwork, the inclusivity. When rugby is done right, everyone is welcome, and anyone can play.

What made you want to become a coach?

A: Hard to say for sure. A big part of it was wanting to help give other people the same positive experiences and opportunities that I got through rugby. I started going back to help coach my high school team when I was in university and my sister was playing in high school. I wanted to be a part of her experience and get to spend time with old friends, teammates, and our coach. As I continued, I think my partner had a big impact because she was involved in coaching in our community and we started to coach together (and still do in most of our roles). I also had a lot of great coaches and role models over the years.

Growing up, who was your favourite coach and why?

A: As I said, I've been lucky to have a lot of great coaches, in rugby and in other sports, but my high school rugby coach, Jim Risk, was probably my favourite. He was dedicated, enthusiastic, and encouraging, and kept things light-hearted and fun, but he was also competitive and knew when to be more serious or demand more from us. 

What challenges come with being a coach?

A: There are lots of challenges at all levels of coaching from figuring out how to teach contact so that all players are prepared to play safely and confidently, to handling interpersonal issues, dealing with administrative issues, managing lineups and balancing playing time, and always keeping your ego in check and values in mind. 

What is your favourite part about coaching?

A: My favourite part about coaching is building relationships with the athletes and watching them fall in love with the sport, develop their confidence, and perform a skill or accomplish a task for the first time. Getting to see athletes grow on and off the field over the years is also really rewarding.

How have you grown during your time as a coach?

A: I think the biggest way I've grown is in my perspective. Having had more playing, coaching, and life experiences (including completing my MHK in Applied Performance Psychology and working as a Mental Performance Consultant) I have a more 'big picture' perspective. I worry less about the little details and more about the overall experience. I also have a better understanding of the game, having seen it as a coach for many years now, and have more knowledge and confidence in my coaching abilities.

What would you say to someone who is considering getting into coaching?

A: It might take over your life - but you'll love it anyway!

What are your goals as you move forward in your coaching career?

A: My main goal now is to balance coaching and parenting. I also want to continue working with young athletes to give them    a good start in the sport and hopefully plant the seeds for them to one day give back to the sport themselves.

Interested in becoming a certified coach? Visit our Becoming a Coach webpage for all coaching information. 

Visit the Rugby Ontario Coaching Corner page for coaching videos and other teaching materials.


The Ontario Blues program is the high performance representative program for male and female rugby players in Ontario. Rugby Ontario is represented at the provincial level by the Ontario Blues. The program includes representative teams from Under-15 to Senior in both Women’s and Men’s Fifteens and Under-18 Men's and Women's Sevens. Specifically, the program is designed to develop and showcase rugby players for Canadian representative national teams.


Rugby Ontario is the provincial sports governing body responsible for the organization of rugby in Ontario. Our mission is to establish a stronger identity for rugby in Ontario by promoting the sport’s core values and by fostering a culture of inclusiveness and excellence on and off the field of play.

To learn more, visit


Dalton Finkbeiner

 Communications and Marketing Coordinator - Rugby Ontario

    647-560-4790 x 1006