Gail Niinimaa Hosts Coaching Course in Fort Smith


Gail Niinimaa's time spent in the North on the weekend of November 24th was valuable. As a professional instructor she was able to offer a multitude of training opportunities for everyone from 8 year old Bears to rookie coaches to our most experienced biathlon leaders


As planned she delivered the Gold level course to a group of community coaches including 5 who drove from Hay River and 7 from Fort Smith. It was a positive experience for the individuals and for our clubs. Both Hay River and Ft. Smith have a waiting list of youth who want to do biathlon but we required more coaching support and now with this new fleet of certified coaches we can include them.

On Sunday Gail provided in the field training for the new coaches at the local Bears workout. Both the children and the coaches benefitted.
The secondary purpose for Gail's trip North was to provide a refresher and mentoring for our most experienced coaches. What I called the OFRC or Old Farts Refresher Course. Don True and Patti-Kay are certified at Level 3 with several Level 4 tasks and have been coaching since 1989.
Brenda Johnson is a level 2 coaches with extensive experience locally and at Arctic Winter Games Brenda has been a coach and official since 1995. Chuck Lirette is a Level 2 coach with experience at many competitions including AWG's and Canada Games. Pat Bobinski is our most experienced biathlon leader.
We are a long way from the "Biathlon Community" and often feel out of the loop. Gail was able to renew our skills, introduce us to some new techniques and philosophies and most importantly restore our enthusiasm for our sport.
She spent many hours with several of us working on the NWT long term plan and with individuals interested in more information on developing training plans for HP athletes. From morning till the evening. From the breakfast table to the range to the Nordic Centre, Trails and at evening gatherings Gail continued to provide us with information, answer our many questions and help us build a tool box of skills.
During one early morning session we cooked up a plan for what could be a certified northern coaching manual which could be used by Pat when he travels into remote villages, for other northern regions and even AWG hosts such as Greenland who may be introducing snowshoe biathlon for the first time. The GNWT sport and recreation division is enthusiastic about the possibility and we hope Biathlon Canada will support it as well. Pat would be the lead developer of the program and Gail would provide the finishing touch to ensure it is recognized as a certified course within Biathlon Canada's programs.