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Meet Jackson

OVALHP Strength & Conditioning Coach

Tell us about your athletic background:

I participated in the school track and field team from elementary up to secondary school. I picked up an event group in grade 8- sprint hurdles- and began training for it specifically. I started in weight training when I was 15 and quickly saw an edge to be gained in using resistance training not just for general fitness but for athletic development. I did all the core speed/power events in track and field up until grade 12. After high school I went on to attend school and train with the Gryphons at the University of Guelph and began specializing in the 110m hurdles. I’ve been on a national junior team and won Canada Summer Games in 2017.

How did you get started coaching?

I wanted to coach soon after my first year in university. At the University of Guelph, my personal coach, Jason Kerr, showed me all the pieces that went into coaching. Un-tethered pieces of workouts and exercises, were finally pieced together at my time in Guelph. I had planned my own training before that successfully and unsuccessfully but under my coach’s plan I became awakened to how many variables and strategies you could use to train and compete. Watching the planned training year unfold like a symphony from September to competitive season in March made me interested in having others join this dance with the training program. I worked briefly and intermittently with a couple high school teams but I gained my first long-term coaching position as a sprints and hurdles coach at the Kajaks Track Club and S&C coach here with OVALHP.

What is your dream team/athlete to coach? 

Outside of the Oval I am also a technical coach for track and field. Anything faster than 10.8s in the 100m for males I consider very good. My goal is to develop fast athletes, both male and female. Athletes I enjoy working with are those that are seriously balanced in all areas of life. They will not just be good in sport, but are also great people socially and academically. They are kind and respectful to coaching staff, colleagues and family. They also have intense and strong interests about something in the world. The youth developmental athlete with all those qualities are the most enjoyable athletes to work with.

Coach or mentor you look up to?

All of my personal coaches I have worked with in the past are formative to my development. They are people I look to as good people and coaches. But it is one coach that has made the most influence to my current thinking and coaching development. Derek Evely is a world class track and field coach in Kamloops. His conceptions of training theory, data monitoring, and common- sense recommendations mixed with his intensity and intelligence has really transformed my approach to training.

What do you enjoy doing outside of coaching?

A couple of things I really enjoy are coffee, books, and films. I have an Aeropress at home which give a super-engaging process in making really black coffee. I also like books. I can’t help myself from thumbing through books in curated collections inside clothing stores and even IKEA. I also spend sometime watching films. My favourite film is probably ‘About Time‘ by Richard Curtis.

Advice/Tips for Athletes?

My advice for the athlete is to maintain open communication with the coach. Open communication means that everything can be discussed, including the uncomfortable topics. Nothing is more disastrous to the coach-athlete relationship than silent judgments’ about the other’s role. Maybe it’s thinking one training exercise is not too useful and shirking on it. I would like athletes to feel like that have an open platform in which feedback about the training or coach can be made without repercussion.

As an athlete, you should be able to bring up any complaints that are sensible so that both coach and athlete can address it together. Never let doubts about the training program figure from either side.