Coaches Week Spotlight: Kate Pasic
September 22nd, 2021
(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 Kate Pasic. Kate is involved with multiple teams. At the club level, she coaches for the Kingston Panthers and regionally coaches with the Eastern Ontario Rugby Union (EORU). Kate also coaches the St. Lawrence College Women's team and most recently coached high school rugby at KCVI (KSS) in Kingston. Read below to learn more about Kate!
How did you first get involved with rugby?
Kate: In grade ten a group of girls from my high school in Oakville approached the boys rugby coaches to inquire if they would coach a girls squad as well. The coach agreed that if we had enough girls committed they would run one, and that started the first girls program at White Oaks Secondary School!
What is your favourite rugby memory?
Kate: As a player, helping my university team qualify for our first national championship. As a coach, several special moments; winning the first medal in program history with the SLC team, winning Bronze with EORU at the ECC's or leading a wonderful group of hard working young women to a regional high school championship in Kingston.
What do you love most about the sport?
Kate: I love the camaraderie between players. Rugby is a sport where you can't have success on your own. Rugby also is a sport that welcomes players from all different backgrounds, so the sense of community amongst a broad group of people is what I love most about the sport.
What made you want to become a coach?
Kate: I wanted to help out with my high school program after returning from first year university as I loved the sport and had some neat ideas after doing a season of varsity wrestling. The love of coaching and teaching took off from there.
Growing up, who was your favourite coach and why?
Kate: My first rugby (and hockey) coach Bob Hepburn was my favorite. Bob had an incredible knack for connecting with young men and women, and was a fantastic role model. While I didn't know it at the time, Bob taught me endless lessons about athlete-centered coaching, how to teach and coach with integrity, and identifying your team and personal values and sticking to them. I am so grateful to have had him as a coach, and he's changed so much about my perspective of coaching and teaching.
What challenges come with being a coach?
Kate: When you're doing something you love it's difficult to say no, and managing time is a really difficult task for me. I love interacting with athletes and making connections, so it's easy to get overcommitted. Knowing where to focus energy so I can be my best self as a coach, teacher, parent, and wife is a daily challenge!
What challenges has coaching during the COVID-19 pandemic presented?
Kate: Coach-athlete, coach-coach and athlete-athlete connections are a critical component of coaching rugby. Not being allowed to connect face to face, it was very difficult to make and maintain those connections. Pre-pandemic we used to spend a lot of time connecting with high-fives, conversations, debriefs, dinners, and countless other activities that bring people together. The hardest challenge has been finding ways to develop meaningful connections and bring people together either virtually, or while on field in a physically distanced setting.
What have you learned during the pandemic that can help you grow as a coach?
Kate: During the pandemic we had to rethink how we communicate information to athletes, and what we prioritize in our planning hierarchy. I've spent a lot of time chatting with other coaches and reflecting on how we can maximize the short amount of time that we have with athletes in front of us. Specifically, I am learning to be more intentional about physical preparation for all athletes, both experienced and inexperienced, as well as incorporating fun and connection into every session.
What is your favourite part about coaching?
Kate: Not being able to be with athletes in person for long stretches the past 18 months has made me realize the amount of energy I get from the excitement and feedback from athletes. My favorite part about coaching is watching young women develop confidence and a love for not just the game of rugby, but all of the things that it comes with like physical, mental and emotional challenges and triumphs.
How have you changed as a coach over your career?
Kate: Over my career I've started seeing the big picture of coaching, and long term goals more than just the x's and o's of day to day training sessions. Setting goals or objectives to focus on over one or several seasons has really changed how I coach day to day, from grassroots to college or provincial level.
What would you say to someone who is considering getting into coaching?
Kate: What I say to most young women (and men) thinking about coaching is give it a shot! Coaching isn't for everyone but for those who are keen and have a love for the sport, you have lots to offer the future generations of players. Everyone started somewhere.
What are your goals as you move forward in your coaching career?
Kate: My goals are to help develop young athletes' confidence and love for sport and physical activity, so they are fit for life. I view success as the number of athletes who stick with the sport when they age-out of junior rugby and get into coaching, playing as an adult, refereeing, or managing.
Interested in becoming a 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.
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