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Coaching with XC Ottawa

Article by Kevin Shields

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I feel that coaching with XC Ottawa will be an excellent opportunity to combine my learning through twenty-eight years of coaching skiing and for implementing new learning and coaching approaches from my Master of Coaching degree I am completing through U of Alberta. With XC Ottawa, I want to create a training group that offers flexibility for individuals while connecting them with an excellent training environment and training partners. XC Ottawa has been co-operatively operated, and that is a feature we want to continue. This model allows responsiveness to the group and individual needs and is conscious of the costs to athletes. This team structure, therefore, is ideal for supporting ongoing or sustained participation in competitive skiing.

My coaching experience of 28 years has included club coaching in four major Canadian ski centres: Gatineau-Ottawa (Nakkertok), Thunder Bay (Lappe Nordic), Québec City (Kastor-Kanik), and Waterloo (Waterloo Region). In these positions, I have designed programs to engage and challenge individuals to be better athletes and find joy in their sport participation. In addition, through coursework and projects in the Master's program at U of Alberta, I have been integrating approaches and strategies within my training plans and individual practices that are (hopefully) effective in engaging athletes in their athletic and personal development.

Mount McKay, Thunder Bay, ON

There is more than one path to the top of a mountain, and you will make many choices along your route. By adapting programs to personal interests and capacities and customizing training for a local context, we can create spaces for more people to remain active in sports. There are two significant transition points that the XC Ottawa team can assist athletes with. The first is the transition to post-secondary sports. For example, XC Ottawa can connect people to other skiers through University skiing or its Jr-Sr training group. The second is transitioning from a university team to a senior racer team. Flexibility and balance allow individuals to navigate these transition points with sport and school/life balance, creating your route to the top of the mountain.

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Transitions, Flexibility and Balance

  • How much do you need to be doing?

  • What do you most enjoy? How do I include these or accommodate these things to make my sports participation sustainable and healthy?

  • What is your budget? Step 2: Customize your training, race schedule and coaching.

Key Detail

  • Although XC Ottawa will have an Ottawa-Gatineau-based training group, the team is open to people living in other regions. Athletes living outside the region can connect with the team for training camps, weekends, and race trips. Further, these athletes may have a personal coach or receive remote coaching through XC Ottawa and Canadian Wintersports/The First Lap Coaching.


Interested? Please Get In Touch!

If you want to join or discuss the team more, don't hesitate to contact me. We are looking for the following:

  • Athletes graduating from high school,

  • Current varsity skiers,

  • University graduates and

  • Senior skiers.


Kevin Shields

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