B.C. ringette coach Leigh Robinson will have a hand in selecting players to move up to the next level of the sport during the upcoming national championships on Prince Edward Island.
With nearly 20 years of combined experience both as a player and coach in ringette, and a tenure as a high-level baseball player in her home province of Alberta, Robinson is no stranger to the sporting world. For the past six years she has served as a coach and is currently president of the Shuswap Ringette Association, making her home in Sorrento near Salmon Arm.
During her most recent coaching certification, she took part in a mentorship program, making a connection that put her on the path to become a high-performance scout for Ringette Canada.
“I’ve got the chance to be part of the selection committee with the U16 and U19 division,” she says. “We did some training this year when I did my coaching certification to recognize and evaluate players, who will move on to a prospect camp in the summer which then selects national players.”
Throughout her time spent as a coach, Robinson says one of the most rewarding parts of the experience has been the chance to see young athletes grow and excel in sports they become passionate about.
“Working with young athletes, first and foremost, is enjoyable because I am watching them develop,” she says. “Coaching in a small association like Shuswap Ringette, I have had the privilege of being able to coach these same girls through their whole lives, I’ve been able to watch them grow and watch them develop from being non-skaters to skilled athletes and that has been great.”
She also thinks the opportunity to further hone her coaching skills with training from Ringette Canada will be a benefit for the local association in the Shuswap.
“Here I think I have a good opportunity to bring some of those strategies and understanding of the sport back to the Shuswap. B.C. has not seen a lot of athletes play ringette at the national level, so anyone we can get involved from the province is good,” she says. “I am looking forward to being around that high level of play; being able to watch and be involved in some of the highest level ringette is amazing.”
The players Robinson helps select have a chance to make the Canadian national team after a prospects camp over the summer, getting the chance to travel and play teams internationally while representing Canada.