“He’s taken me from one of the slowest [athletes] in NB to the fastest in a span of two years and that’s all him. His vision is clear and to the point and he obsesses over his job and career and that’s awesome for his athletes” –Artabaz Nazari (3rd year UNB Track Athlete).
Jason Reindl has been the head coach of the UNB track and field team since the program was reinstated in 2010 and is also the head coach of Athletics with Team NB. He was the recipient of last year’s Sport Champion award for his achievements as a high performance coach. Coach NB had a conversation with Jason to discuss the Leave your Mark awards and about his specific coaching philosophies.
Coach NB: What inspired you to pick up a whistle and begin coaching?
Jason: As a former competitive athlete who was raised in a house of coaches, both my parents were competitive track and field athletes and pretty high level coaches, Canada Games, University level. The fire was lit, it seemed like the logical way to give back to the sport and pursue a profession that doesn’t seem like a profession.
C: How has NCCP coaching certification helped you develop as a coach?
J: It’s provided an immense foundation for me. The NCCP is a world renown program and a national organization so being able to start my formal coaching education with the right foundation and knowledge in terms of coaching skill set and best practices, really developed my initial coaching skills and abilities.
C: What did it mean to you to receive your Leave your Mark coaching award last year?
J: Humbling, might be the quick word, pride. It meant a lot to be recognized for work that I’ve done. Not just me, but it shows recognition for the club, the province, the sport organization and the athletes, and their parents who support. It’s not just me making things happen. It’s a nice pat on the back.
C: Do you think it’s important to recognize coaches in this way?
J: 100% yeah. Coaches are for the most part volunteers. It’s the lucky few of us who get to call it a profession. I just think it’s really important to recognize the number of hours the coaches put in. Coaches can impact more individuals than people understand. A coach can work with 500 athletes and young children in a year and provide a positive experience and be a role model, someone they can look up to.
C: What has it been like growing the UNB track and field program from the ground up?
J: Very Unique. In the sense that being able to take a program without a strong foundation and its own cultural legacy, has really allowed us to develop it and make those big jumps and those strides and also learn along the way sometimes. It’s a little trial by error, but it’s been a positive experience so far.
C: What is like managing a program that is spread across two cities? (Fredericton and Saint John).
J: Organizationally it is sometimes quite difficult, but thankfully I have a very supportive coaching staff on both campuses and the Athletic Directors and staff at both campuses have really made it feasible and I think the athletes are thriving and the results continue to improve. Everyone makes it easy on me to make sure that everything happens the way we need it to be done.
C: Is it difficult balancing the UNB teams and Team NB?
J: At times the schedules are in conflict and makes prioritizing certain actions within the season not as streamlined as we’d like but again, were a small province with a lot of similar people in supporting roles. Through positive team work with staff, coaches, administrators, trainers and athletes we can all make sure that our goals are aligned to get the results on the track that we want, and that’s the bottom line.
C: Why are you so accommodating to training walk on athletes who have no prior track experience?
J: I think it’s the nature of the sport is that we are open and accommodating. There’s a lot of diamonds in the rough that haven’t been exposed to track and field and by keeping the door open we allow ourselves the opportunity for success but also give them the opportunity to really fall in love with the sport and hopefully give back in years to come because they’ve had positive experiences and were able to participate.
C: What motivates you to put so much time into individual athletes by coming up with personalized plans for them?
J: I had a fairly successful athletic career as an athlete but at the same time I have some reservations. At times I think I could have achieved more, so there’s a passion to make sure the athletes I have the privilege of working with get to achieve all their goals and really reach their maximum potential.
C: UNB had great results this year and had its first ever CIS medal winner (Grace Annear), what do you attribute to this?
J: The right athlete. Sometimes it’s just a matter of their genetic potential is more developed. Speaking about Grace, she comes at it with a number of years and experience. From Hampton New Brunswick, all the way up to Victoria, she’s won national medals, she developed and she was able to get in a situation and we supported her and gave her what she required. I think it proves that any athlete can be successful so long as they have a program that gives them that basic level of requirements to achieve success.
It’s been a steady rise of athletes going to nationals competing at events, qualifying and also climbing the ladder there. We’re providing more opportunity for our athletes to compete in competitions throughout the season and throughout it all, they’re achieving better results. Not that they are fully correlated but we’re doing better things in the program and our athletes are doing better, so everyone’s happy.
Look out for more coach profiles in the coming weeks and get ready for the Leave your Mark coaching award applications!