As part of Coach New Brunswick’s Leave Your Mark Coaching Awards series, the Grassroots Coaching Award was designed to showcase the dedication of a volunteer coach whose main objectives include introducing children to a sport and developing the fundamental skills necessary to play the game. We spoke with last year’s recipient, Paul Woods, about his passion and philosophy for coaching youth sports.
A coach never forgets the moment they pick up a whistle and begin their coaching journey. Paul Woods fondly recalls a summer evening spent watching his son’s soccer practice from the sidelines. While setting up a drill, the two coaches set up three different groups. At that moment, Paul jumped into action, volunteering to man the third group and metaphorically picked up the whistle that he has yet to put down. Now, sixteen years later, Paul has become one of the key leaders of youth sport associations in the Moncton community.
Paul has dedicated countless hours to his craft with teams in the Greater Moncton Football Association, Codiac Soccer and the Moncton Kiwanis Minor Basketball Association; often coaching numerous teams at once. “I’d rather be on the bench with the children than sitting in the bleachers” said Paul. “There’s more fulfillment and enjoyment for me to be there.”
When asked about being the inaugural recipient of the Grassroots Coaching Award, Paul said, “It’s a souvenir I will always carry with me and it will always be a great reminder of the years I spent with the kids.” However, despite the recognition, the biggest coaching reward for Paul is far from tangible. “That moment when you see the joy come out in them, where they begin to feel like they are part of the team and playing the sport. You feel like you’re succeeding in something, you feel like all of the time you’re putting into it is worthwhile” said Paul.
Coach Woods’ coaching philosophy mirrors that of the ideal candidate. By focusing on creating a safe and positive environment, Coach Woods identifies a base level of skills for his young athletes and develops them as a group. “Whether they win or whether they lose it doesn’t matter” said Paul. “We could lose by a mercy rule or win by twenty points, it’s all about enjoying the game and always building on the skill levels that we decided as a team that we are going to try and achieve.”
No child forgets the coach who first teaches them how to shoot, kick, or pass. Grassroots coaches like Paul have built the foundation of core values that children will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Stayed tuned for more coach profiles highlighting last year’s Leave Your Mark award winners!