Mark LeBlanc

[:en]Mark LeBlanc was recognized as the 2015 recipient of the Good to Great Coaching Award. As part of Coach New Brunswick’s Leave Your Mark Coaching Awards, this award highlights a coach who has made significant progress in their National Coaching Certification Program (NCPP) pathway while constantly seeking to further their coaching abilities.

Coach New Brunswick had the chance to speak with Mark about the importance of coach education and what it meant for him to be recognized as last year’s recipient.

Mark picked up his whistle ten years ago when his children began to get involved with the Fredericton District Soccer Association (FDSA). Since then, Coach LeBlanc has cemented himself as an integral member of the soccer community in New Brunswick.  In addition to his current head coaching position for the Under-16 premiership girls of the FDSA, he is also the head coach for the Under-15 Provincial Team and was just recently announced as an assistant coach for the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds Women’s Team. Having coached a wide range of athletes from the grassroots to premiership levels, Mark understands the importance of continuous coach development through NCCP education.

“You can’t hurt yourself by becoming more educated, [coaching] is all different, so energy, passion and positive attitude can only go so far,” said Mark. “If you want to truly improve and get better, you need to take it upon yourself as a coach to educate yourself and that’s through formal training, which is a big piece of it.”

Mark began his formal education with the NCCP three years ago. In that time, he has made tremendous progress towards becoming a Competition Development Certified coach, in addition to working towards his soccer Sport-Specific certification.

Last year’s Good to Great award winner was honoured to be recognized; if not pleasantly surprised. “I wasn’t aware that my name was put forward. I think it’s always nice to get a pat on the back as coaches, it’s not the reason why I do it, but recognition is nice” said Mark. “I think it’s also validation of the support around me that I receive from other coaches, players and my family.”

When asked about the value of recognizing coaches, he stressed the importance of setting the bar for others coming up through the system by putting an onus on coaches to continue their training. “I think it’s an extra little motivator. For me personally, it builds on the sense of responsibility that I already have as a coach to continue along the path of improvement” said Mark.

Setting the bar is just what Coach LeBlanc has done. In order to help his athletes excel on the pitch, Mark has put in the work off the pitch by going from “Good to Great.”

Stayed tuned for more coach profiles highlighting last year’s Leave Your Mark award winners!