Say hello to Lauren Hale-Miller. She is one of the two women selected to represent New Brunswick at the Canada Games with the Women in Coaching (WIC) apprenticeship program. Currently a volunteer volleyball coach for Leo Hayes high school, Lauren has been hired to coach the UNBSJ Women’s Volleyball team this upcoming fall.
Hale-Miller is a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Recreation and Sports Studies program at UNB and is pursuing a professional career as a volleyball coach. Coach NB sat down with Lauren to ask her why.
“There’s nothing else I like to do,” said Lauren. “I really like coaching. I probably spend 20 to 30 hours in the gym [per week] right now, just as a volunteer and it would be nice to get paid to do something that [I] love. At the same time, when I do get paid for it, it doesn’t feel like a job, it’s still a passion.”
That passion, along with the glowing recommendations of her mentors, athletes and former coaches, helped cement her spot in the apprenticeship program.
“I have mentored Lauren for the past three years and have had the privilege of watching her transform into a pillar of strength,” said Mike Gallagher, Lauren’s high school volleyball coach whom she holds in very high regard. “She pays great attention to detail and has a knack for coaching the technical skills of our sport.”
“Her style of coaching pushes athletes to get better physically but more importantly, mentally,” said one of her current athletes, Ty Poore. “She gets to know all her athletes and bonds with them so that the team comes together as one.”
The Women in Coaching apprenticeship program was started to recognize up and coming female coaches like Lauren and to fill the gap amongst the underrepresented coaching population of women.
“I find coaching to be a male dominant [profession) and I’ve been kind of laughed at when I’ve told people I want to be a professional coach,” said Lauren about the underrepresentation of women in coaching.
Currently, the ratio of men to women coaches in New Brunswick is about 6:4 in favor of men.
Lauren however, is positive about the future. “It’s nice to be recognized [through the WIC program] and now that I’ve taken a step forward and become a part-time professional coach, I’ve realized that this is something women can do and be successful at.”
For her apprenticeship at the 2017 Canada Games, Lauren will be teaming up with Monette Boudreau-Carroll, current head coach of the UdeM Women’s Volleyball team.
“I’m really excited to work with Monnette,” said Lauren. “I’ve worked with her in the past and it just opened my eyes. She’s someone I really look up to because she is a professional coach herself.”
Lauren will begin her training for the program November of this year when she attends the Petro-Canada Sport Leadership Sportif Conference in Richmond, British Columbia and will continue to train until August 2017 when Team NB heads to Winnipeg, Manitoba to compete in the next Canada Games.
The future looks very bright for Lauren and other young coaches in the province and with the help of programs like WIC we hope to see many of these coaches achieve their dreams and become certified coaches who positively affect their sports and most importantly, their athletes.