With several series set to take place during this month and the next, Calgary’s elite have been hard at work during practices, getting prepared to face-off against their Alberta competition as well as playing a couple series against Eastern teams. One of the designers behind the Calgary RATH’s practices, Barb Bautista, assistant coach and veteran player, shared her experiences about coaching in the NRL.
Barb has been playing ringette for 29 years and coaching for 23. When asked what her favourite part about coaching was, she replied “I love the game. I like learning new things about it.” She expressed that she is thankful for what the game has taught her, and hopes that the players she coaches can experience the same benefits that she did. That being said, it is in no way an easy job, and, like many things, it does have its challenges. Barb gave what she thinks are the two biggest challenges of coaching elite ringette in today’s league: encouraging athletes to step out of their comfort zones and finding strategies to keep the financial expense to athletes down. Of the former, Barb wants seasoned athletes, who may be set in habits formed from over a decade of playing ringette, to step out of their comfort zones and try new ideas or methods of executing the various aspects of the game. As for the latter, she said that it is challenging to find creative and innovative ways to keep the expense to athletes down.
Neither of these challenges can deter Barb, however, as she holds coaching positions on two teams this year: assistant coach for the Calgary RATH, as well as the head coach for the Senior National Team competing in the World Ringette Championships. Barb has previously played on both of these teams, which adds to the interesting experience it is to be coaching two high-level teams in one season. “I think the fact that I was an athlete on these teams gives me a different perspective,” she said, adding that it allows her to approach the role in a strategically different way.
With November and December set to be action-packed for the Calgary RATH, who will be playing a total of 12 games in 5 weeks, Barb and the rest of the coaching staff have been preparing their athletes for the up-coming competitions. The Calgary RATH is grateful to have a coach as experienced as Barb helping them out this season, and wish her and the rest of the National Team athletes the best of luck in Helsinki.