The text that follows is an unedited excerpt from our hour long conversation. The full video interview can be found on our YouTube channel and by the link here. The full audio can be found by vis the Spotify link below
And that's where my French kind of ends right now because out of practice. So how are you doing this one? Really good. Thank you. And you, how are you? Thank you for accepting the invite and, and whatnot. And, uh, um, hopefully, I mean, as with everybody else, we've had a year of unprecedented disruption.
So I want to talk a little bit about that later on, but, uh, maybe just share a little bit about, uh, you know, current thoughts and feelings on, you know, like this disruption, we're all kind of dealing with it. Yeah, it was, you know, as everyone, uh, you know, the last year we thought it's only, uh, you know, two weeks locked down and everything will be back normal.
And we never had that experience. And one, everything was like postpone console and things, and, you know, we're like, oh, Okay. What, how we can deal with that. And, uh, you know, uh, talking to other coaches and listening to some podcasts, like, you know, we learn a lot and we just, um, you know, figure out that it's, um, it's an opportunity for us to have an extra year to prepare for when I pick trials or, uh, or H group programming or, uh, uh, build the program or just, you know, having like that extra.
Time to, to, uh, build or rethink or review what we are doing and was I think, uh, you know, a good process, but I, I will say that take, take us. Around like three weeks to, um, to accept the reality. But I think once we accepted, uh, with the coaches, they did really a amazing job, keeping parents engaged. And you know, now we can see that we can, you know, we are looking for the end of the tunnel.
Yeah, fair enough. And, um, it's certainly great way in great process, um, to kind of initiate, to get that that going. And the time really has been a silver lining. Like once you kind of get through the shock and, you know, kind of, you know, the waves of frustration, cause it kind of keeps coming back every time there's a new version of lockdown, but you know, uh, great advice and great decorating insights.
So I want to start, um, just, uh, by developing the story of, uh, You know, where, how you, how you got, how you got into coaching, how coaching brought you to Canada and how coaching and Canada brought you to Regina. Cause there's, I mean, there's a long process. There there's a lot of development and the overarching theme that I really want to hit on and develop here is that, um, like if you go through your track record and if you go through sort of the activities you've taken on over the last, you know, 20, 30 years, you've never missed an opportunity to improve.
Whether that's through, uh, institutional education or through, um, you know, uh, internships or apprenticeships and stuff like that. So I want to go through all that and see how that has all led you here. And maybe, you know, uh, go into a little bit of what the future holds. So background. So tell us where you're from, how you got into coaching, how you came to.
Yeah. So I used to swim before, not really a higher level, but I used to swim, like, let's say a national level and. And, uh, let's say like 90, 95 and 95, 96. I was like looking for something I, you know, uh, to do in my future, you know, uh, it's, it's little bit different than now that the people, they even go in university and they have no idea what you were doing as a job in the future.
But I was like feeling that I really want to help people to achieve what they want to. Uh, I felt that in my time I had great support with my coaches and teammates, but I felt that if I am inside, I feel what the athlete needs. I feel what. Uh, support mean and performance. I, if I become a coach, I will maybe have that better understanding of the athlete and more I can, uh, understand athletes more.
I can help them to achieve their best. So. In 96. I started my education in Algeria about, uh, sports, uh, science and, uh, specific to swimming. So we did the three years university study about that. And I start with learn to swim. So, uh, the education, if they give you, uh, in practical side, they give you a group, uh, like zero, they are scared about water and you have to figure out and to build your confidence, to teach them or to put them in, you know, comfort and how they can learn to swim.
So I already start with zero level zero. I coach I coach learn to swim program. And, uh, two years. And after that, the head coach left in, in the team in Algeria. So my teammates, they asked me to take over and they are like same age or older. So I take over and I took over the, the program and there was really a, you know, uh, happy.
I build that, uh, you know, um, relationship with athletes in the pool. I will be the coach and outside the pool. I still friends and worked really well. And in 2008, when I went to a friends in Paris and they start working in, uh, in a club, in a scoop in, in Paris. So I worked for two years. And it's funny because we went to the nationals in 2002 and they gave away a videotape about kinesiology.
So, and I was the consolidate about swimming movement and everything. And I was like, wow, I really want to do that. So I Googled, uh, Kenny zoology and I found like university of Montreal and, you know, a program in scholarship program. So I applied and I saw the. Teachers was, uh and, uh, and nuclear is the guy, uh, created the beep test.
You know, there'd be like the VO to, uh, measure. So I was okay. I have to go there. So I applied and I went to university of Montreal and the first two weeks. So circle K. It's not what I'm looking. So I want talk with John. Mark Lavoie is a physiologist. He used to be a swim coach and really a good coach.
And he said, no, it's not what the kinesiology meaning. You're up here. It's completely different. I said, okay, I'm in the wrong spot. And they said, okay, I will come back to France, but let's try coaching here and see if I like it. So I applied to longer and Martin gen GRA, uh, higher B and they start with, he gave me a really, you know, a group that they don't want to swim.
They th it's not, they don't want, they want, but they are not. Swimming for something. So I really, uh, worked with that group. And after one year, like they, they were all approving and they had like, you know, club nationals at that time. And I really like it because I, my philosophy is how I can help the athletes to get better.
And do you know, to improve. So after that, I started coaching with Martin and, uh, I did one year with, uh, Alessandro in 23rd, 2003, 2004, 2005. And after that, they went as my first head coach position in center stash. When I spent three years there, I learned from, you know, it's my first experience. I learned a lot.
They're great people, great board support. They helped me to grow. They helped me to learn, and it was really fortunate to have those people. And in 2008, a long game called again. And I accept the position as head coach. I went for six years and after that, I. The opportunity to hear in a vagina. Uh, I was looking for a club plus university, or do you want to see how, you know, a university is?
And if I can bring something to university level, because I already believe that sport it's not on at seven. I really believe that, uh, you know, you know, the varsity program is the best part of your career and maybe it would extend. And after you graduate maybe for two or three years, depending where you are in your level, if you will, if you are in Olympic level or at a national level, or even, you know, doing something great after that.
So, and my English was really bad and I, I said, okay, let's go and learn. Uh, you know, and they came here and you know, now he's seven years. Yeah, absolutely. And you touched on some really interesting points there that I wanted to go back and kind of expand on it a little bit. So the coaching development process in Algeria, it's quite different from what we have here in Canada and quite different, what exists in the U S like it's integrated into the school system and, and sports specific.
So, um, I'd like to know a little bit more about that. Can you expand on that? Like what, um, what advantages do you see in the system? Yeah, I think it's, uh, Eastern Europe, uh, kind of vision program and, uh, talking to the people that program exists here in Canada, maybe in the city. So, uh, was, you know, a program the first year you study old sports physiology, psychology, uh, bio mechanic, like everything, like all sports.
And after that, you, at the second year, you choose your, uh, your sport and. And the G teaching was how, uh, the impact of swimming exercise on the physiology, swimming exercise on psychology, bell biomechanic and swimming. And it's really, I thought, I think I had really, really great, um, You know, uh, education in Algeria with, uh, you know, uh, really specific to, to the sport.
And after that, I think, uh, everything, you know, was really, uh, clear for me and it, this is what I want to do. I really like it. And, uh, paradise. That's fantastic. Um, so given that set and then building on that question. So, um, your take on theoretical versus practical experience, cause what you just talked about, um, you had like, your, your journey started with was very heavy on the theoretical side in terms of, you know, the conventional or institutional education, but when you came to Canada yeah.
The opportunity and you dove into the exercise of coaching, the experience of coaching and just learned from experience. So, um, I mean, what are your thoughts on, uh, you know, theoretical versus practical experience when it comes to learning? Yeah, I think it's, uh, you know, depend people, uh, uh, depend the coaches, how they like it, how they learn in my situation.
I really like to see the theoretical parts of, uh, of the reality. And after that go and see, you know, the real life, how that work in the field. And for me, it's completely different. And, um, you know, like I, I will say. Mid when I took over longer. And, uh, after maybe three years, I felt that. I did a mistake in my coaches progression that I didn't spend enough time with, uh, you know, uh, coaches as assistant coach with, uh, you know, I was, um, I was like thinking, oh, I should do like, you know, uh, go apply for a job to work with a good coach for three, four years for I'm pick cycle.
See how they work as an assistant. I was doing that with, uh, Paul Berg. And in that time he was in a. In Montreal and, uh, Try to learn from different coaches, you know, uh, around, but it's not as you learn from someone every single day and you can watch him to do things and, you know, and learn, you know, different, you know, scenario because, um, you know, every day when you have 10 workouts a week, Can many things can happen.
And, uh, you know, I started going to the conference. I thought the conference was a great way to learn about when I started doing a visit for week. I said, okay, I was doing completely wrong going to the conference because when you visit someone, um, you know, week you will learn a lot. You will learn a real, uh, you know, the practical side of the, of the job.
And I remember when I asked you, when you went to Australia, I ask you, uh, you know, what's the experience. And, you know, it gave me a lot of, you know, thoughts, but the experience was to be. It's not what they are doing. It's just to be there at, you know, uh, 4:30 AM or 5:00 AM or when we think it's too early, but you go the other side.
It's not that tough that we think. And. I try to do some more education, some more workshop, you know, uh, I did my certification in UVC about, uh, uh, you know, high-performance and technical leadership, try to compensate that lack of, you know, I didn't spend time, but again, I think, uh, you know, the coaches. Uh, should spend more time as an assistant, you know, maybe three Olympic cycle or foreign Olympic cycle to be ready if they want to oddly to adult level, because I really want to help AKI to achieve their best.
I want to help oddly to achieve the highest, you know, step into podium in Pixar, internationals. Yeah, brilliant. And, you know, very well thought out answer. Um, so leading into, I guess, you know, I've got two questions I want to kind of dive into on philosophy and pursuit of excellence and there, in some ways they, they kind of inter intermingle, like they're, they're almost the same.
So, um, I want to talk to you about what your philosophy is now and how that has developed over the years. How has that changed over the years in terms of what you bring. Yeah. My philosophy as a coach is, um, just helping athletes to get better. So, uh, just teach them, try to teach, you know, uh, I start telling people what they have to do in my early coaching career.
And they felt like this is what they have to tell them, but now it's okay. How I can teach them to do that, how I can, uh, convince them to do the work, how I can sell that. This is the way. What they need to do to achieve their best. And I always try to start from their goals from their, um, uh, thought or, uh, dreams, uh, before it was more mine.
When I started coaching, uh, if you do this, you will make this team. Or if you do that, you will make this time. But they, I didn't know if they want or not. So now I'm more, I w I am more how I can educate oddly to see better, to see better their future, because some people, they don't think they are good, but if they work, they will, they can expand.