When Rideau was searching for a new Head Coach, several members of the board attended the CKC Club Summit during the AGM weekend. We listened to Mike Robinson speak about recruitment and retention, what we heard Mike say left no doubt that we wanted someone like him leading our team. He spoke of making sure that every person who walks down to that dock to paddle leaves with a smile on their face and that we are building great people through the sport of paddling. Mike lives those words each and every day at the club and as a result of this our sprint programming has more than doubled in the three years he has been with us.
Mike brings a huge amount of skills to his team as a technical coach. He is someone who is always learning. Mike not only works hard at developing a strong sprint program for athletes at the club but also for the coaches. He has brought in specialists to work with club athletes and coaches in a technical capacity and makes these technical workshops open to all club coaches from the U13 to High Performance to the Masters level. Mike has instituted a seasonal “RCC Coaches Week” every summer before the beginning of the full time summer program to ensure the coaches are ready to take on the competitive season with session in program writing, technique, anti-bullying, sun smart and boat repair. This past fall Mike was able to secure a grant to allow us to bring in Imre Kemescy and Tamas Budday to hold a week long technical camp for both coaches and athletes and opened up some sessions to our partners in EOD. He is always looking for new ways to teach and bring the best out in everyone. Being in the nation’s capital Rideau often has paddlers attending University in Ottawa and who are looking for a place to train. When they ask if they can train with our group Mike always asks ‘will we be better for having you with us?’ Mike does not question coaching athletes who race for another club, provided they bring their best to our team and work with us in a positive environment. Asking this question has never failed us. Mike realized early on that in Ontario not all athletes had the same opportunities to attend the same Spring Camp and it was split up into High Performance camp and a development camp. Mike wanted to keep his Rideau team together and is now working on the third annual RCC Spring Training camp. This camp has grown each year and with our growing team we expect the same this spring.
Mike sits on the CKC High Performance Committee as the Coaches Representative. He is a Level III coach and an NCCP Coach Facilitator and evaluator. Rideau has recognized that our most important job is to develop coaches as without a great coaching staff it is difficult to create great paddlers, Mike has made it his mission to develop a strong coaching staff, building new head coaches for this sport he is so passionate about. This winter, due to the persistence of Mike, the club is sending one of our developing female coaches to New Zealand to work with Poverty Bay Canoe Club to help develop her skill as a coach.
Mike as a coach himself has proven his skill and strength by the results of the club and some of his individual athletes. Most notably is the clubs performance at the National Championships this season when Rideau came from 6th place in the past few years to an outstanding 2nd place, well ahead of our 4 year plan! On individual levels our paddlers are thriving under Mike’s guidance. The results of Mike’s athletes speak to his skill as a coach: Kate Braddon who is on the Jr Development team represented Canada at the Olympic Hopes this year and won a silver medal, the Ontario Canada Games team had 5 of Rideau’s paddlers on it and were in 40% of the winning crews for Ontario. Madeline Schmidt had an outstanding season winning a bronze medal at the Jr World Championships, three gold medals at the Pan Am Championships, and 5 gold medals at the National Championships