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Catholic Coaching Program

Special Education Resource Teacher Reflection

"Taking part in the Catholic Coaching Program has allowed me to receive my coaching certification with the Coaching Association of Canada. But more importantly, it has helped me remember what it is about coaching that is, and always was, most important to me: the children. As a teacher-coach in the elementary panel, having the opportunity to share my love of sport with the students in my charge, and giving all of them, regardless of their background or experience level, the chance to participate with their peers and learn about and further develop their own skill level has been a wonderful experience for me. Modelling proper attitudes, behaviour, etiquette, skill and sportsmanship for my little athletes has always been important but now I realize even more how important it is for the integrity of the sport and the attitudes towards sport that we help to develop in those little athletes. I also realize how inter-connected such modelling is to what our faith teaches us and what we strive to teach in our Catholic schools everyday and how the two, taken together, make not only for better experiences in sport, but also for better, more well-rounded Catholic students and citizens."
Nominate your Catholic Secondary School Coach Today!

Nominate your Catholic Secondary School Coach Today!

The Wismer Award for High School Coaching Excellence is presented annually to a currently active high school coach in the city of Hamilton, Ontario who best personifies the attributes of John Wismer-teacher, coach and friend.

John Wismer was a talented, innovative, spirited teacher and coach, who for more than thirty-three years, inspired student athletes to do their very best at all times in all facets of life. Coach Wismer knew high expectations, meant high achievement, and he dared his student athletes to believe in themselves and to set lofty goals. Winning in life and in sports was important to him.

The Wismer Award for High School Coaching Excellence enables the Hamilton high school community to honour the many talented and dedicated coaches whose efforts are truly inspirational. The Award recognizes coaches who make significant contributions to the growth and continuing development of students and athletes, and as well, fosters the highly regarded and vital role of Hamilton area high school coaches in the development of our community. Please note-we select two winning coaches- one from the HWDSB and one from the HWCDSB.

Nomination Criteria and Requirements
- Develops trust and a mutually respectful relationship with students and athletes
- Leads by example - is talented, spirited and innovative
- Emphasizes the need for fairness in sports and life
- Provides support and encouragement to enhance life skills and abilities
- May or may not be a teacher, must have coached a minimum of five years and have coached, in the 2016/2017 school year, any sport at the high school level with the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board or the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board
- Coaches cannot nominate themselves
- Nominations received by Tuesday, April 25th, will be considered for the Tuesday, May 30th 2017 Wismer Award. Nominations received after April 25th, will be considered for the Tuesday, May 29th, 2018 Award
- Nominators, nominees, and references may be contacted by the Selection Committee to verify nomination information
- The Selection Committee will select six finalists for the Wismer Award for High School Coaching Excellence. Finalists will be informed by Wedneday, April 26th, 2017.
- The six finalists will be invited to a Media Conference at Tim Horton’s Field on Tuesday, May 9th and introduced to the public. Two winners will be announced-one from the HWDSB and one from at HWCDSB at the Wismer Foundation Golf Tournament and Award Presentation Dinner, Tuesday, May 30th 2017, at Carlisle Golf and Country Club, Carlisle.

Coaching “with the mind of Christ”

Coaching “with the mind of Christ”

Coaching “with the mind of Christ” is transforming the playing field for coaches and student-athletes in the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board.

It’s expanded the coaching role from the rudimentary functions of skill development, goal setting and game strategy into that of role model and mentor, building on the rich tradition and selfless service of teacher-coaches throughout the board’s history who have influenced students through word, attitude and deed.

“It’s the difference maker when it comes to coaching and it is what makes Catholic educators and coaches distinct,” said Superintendent of Education Morris Hucal in welcoming newly certified coaches to the wrap up session of the 2015 Catholic Coaching Program on May 28th.

The Catholic Coaching Program is a unique program offered by the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board to ensure that Catholic values "extend beyond the classroom" and onto the playing field. In addition to earning their Level A NCCP coaching certificate, program participants receive a religious renewal credit – a requirement to teach in a Catholic school.

The Catholic Coaching Program was designed to shape coaching decisions in a Christian-Catholic context, enabling coaches to teach, as is stated in Philippians 2:5, “with the mind of Christ.” The program is taught by Jos Nederveen, a member of the board's Sports Focus Steering Committee and Faith Animator Jerry Creedon, for a perfect mix of coaching theory and Catholic sensibility.

Since 2011, more than 200 teacher- and volunteer-coaches have graduated from the program.

A new session begins in November 2015.

For more information, please contact Nadia Hryniewicz at 905-525-2930, ext. 2141, or

Catholic Coaching Program Flyer

Catholic Coaching Program Catholic Coaching Program

Catholic Coaching Program

Coaching “with the mind of Christ” (Philippians 2:5)

Coaching, by definition, is the ability “to instruct or train in sport” (Oxford). While this description may speak to the mechanical function of coaching – those functions we know as skill development, goal setting and game strategy – it fails to express the authentic opportunity for role modelling, mentorship and evangelization that are a natural extension of the coaching role.

‘Catholic’ coaching builds on the rich tradition and selfless service of teacher-coaches throughout the board’s history who have influenced students through word, attitude and deed.

The Catholic Coaching Program evolved from the board’s understanding of the coaching ministry as an extension of the classroom. Since the goal of the Catholic school is faith development, gospel values are therefore intrinsic to all school athletics program. The Catholic Coaching Program recognizes that coaches have an enormous opportunity to influence their student-athletes, as well as an important responsibility to witness, teach and lead in “the mind of Christ.”

In his book Coaching Catholic: Gospel Values in Youth Sports, Rev. Richard J. McGrath talks about the tremendous influence coaches exercise over their student-athletes. “How they treat them, the way they speak to them, the kinds of goals they place before them, and the manner in which they conduct their business leave profound impressions on young minds and hearts,” he writes.

The Catholic Coaching Program explores how that influence can be used to create a sports culture in schools that is built on respect, integrity, fellowship and self-esteem. The program is offered to teachers and educational assistants who are, or plan to, coach sports in Catholic schools. The program enables participants to earn their Level 1 National Coaching Certification (NCCP) while fulfilling the requirements for a Religious Renewal Credit.

The program follows the NCCP’s Make Ethical Decisions Learning Facilitator guide, which focuses on the core competencies of problem-solving, valuing, critical thinking, leadership and interaction, all within a Catholic framework. Using Scripture readings, the program examines how Gospel values relate to, and support, ethical principles of sport – essentially, care for the physical safety and health of student-athletes, coaching responsibility, integrity in relations with others, respect, and honouring sport.

More than 150 teacher- and volunteer-coaches have graduated from the program since its implementation in March 2011. The program is offered twice a year – in March and November.

For more information, please contact Nadia Hryniewicz at 905-525-2930, Ext. 2141 or


Testimonials from 2015-2016

"I would recommend the Catholic Coaching Program to anyone who’s even considered coaching before. Aside from being a great resource for both how to effectively coach a team, and how to make coaching an extension of the classroom, it also provided great insight for integrating our faith into the sports we coach. The instructor, Jos kept it very interactive and fun, and the course provided me with the confidence to coach multiple sports this year. I look forward to doing the same next year!"

"The Catholic Coaching Program gave me a good opportunity to reflect on my experiences with coaches, mentors and my parents over time in terms of ethics, athletics, and religious experiences. Combining the course with religious renewal was a great way to show how we can integrate our faith into coaching and demonstrate to children a model of Christ-like behaviour, interaction and point of view."

"I absolutely loved the course and I can’t wait to take part 2 with Jos!"

"The Catholic Coaching Program was an excellent learning experience. Led by a seasoned veteran of 45 years, Jos Nederveen shared many stories of winning and losing, problems and solutions, as well as team building, ethics in coaching, and faith formation. The amount of material we covered in such a short time span was amazingly insightful, always informative, but never overwhelming. I was actually sad when our time together ended. I’d take the course again in a heartbeat or recommend it to anyone whose intentions are to become a better person, coach and Christian."

"The Catholic Coaching course was very well taught and presented. It is obvious that Jos is passionate about coaching. Any student who has had him as a coach is very blessed. As for Jerry Creedon, it’s always a pleasure to hear his perspective. Thank you for the opportunity to attend."

"Jos Nederveen was very knowledgeable about all aspects of the coaching context, including encouraging proper nutrition, team building, skill training, community building as well as helping us investigate and solve moral and ethical sports dilemmas. I thoroughly enjoyed this informative, practical and worthwhile course!"

Testimonials from previous sessions

"The Catholic Coaching Program was much more than lessons about sport. It was about the total impact of the coach-athlete relationship. With great coaches it's never been just about sport. Jos Nederveen exemplified this in his discussions on the importance of ethical decisions with proper athletic training, emergency protocol and follow-up to injuries. However, what made more of an impact was his coaching leadership and personal advocacy of athlete development that extends beyond sport itself."

"Great coaches give of themselves so that their players have the opportunity and the tools to excel in sport, in school and in their community involvement. What makes these coaches outstanding is the fact that they are not only a coach, but a teacher, a mentor, a guide that you trust. Coaches can have within them that mind of Christ, and that heart."

"It is uplifting to know that teacher-coaches can be impacted by the simple message of the Catholic Coaching Program - that you can make a difference in the life of a student-athlete. This is not measured by the number of medals won, but by being committed to caring for their athletes, on and off the field or court."

“The Catholic Coaching Program … is a chance to ‘recharge’ ourselves in the Spirit of God and see how we can bring Christ into the lives of children and youth through the ministry of coaching.”

“The Catholic Coaching Program has inspired me to take my coaching to the next level.”

“The Catholic Coaching Program was created to be much more than simply coaching development. The ethical issues tied in clearly with our faith beliefs. The effect we have on youth as coaches is profound. The tools we came away with were instrumental in further reinforcing our philosophies as a coach, leader and teacher.”

“The Catholic Coaching Program is a unique way of blending our faith with our passion for athletics. Developing the ‘whole athlete’ requires a coach who can not only help students hone their physical skills and talents, but also their spiritual ones.”

“I had not heard anything about this program prior to signing up … after a few minutes into the course, it was evident that it would be an intense and rewarding experience. The very first clue was the array of material and references made available to us. As we delved into the course, the scenario-based approach to learning assured that we became fully involved. However, for me, the most outstanding feature of this program was the integration of teaching/coaching with our Catholic faith. The course highlighted the fact that Catholic faith is an inherent part of anything we undertake as a teacher and coach.”

“I learned a great deal from this program. First it was beneficial as I got to create a practice plan and an emergency plan for my school. Secondly it allowed me to complete my Religious Renewal Program and lastly, I learned a lot from the other participants through sharing our different experiences. I would recommend this program to anyone and everyone in our system because it teaches you how to build self-esteem and confidence in the children you work with. If we can make a difference in even one child’s life …”

“This coaching program has allowed me to reflect on my past coaching experiences while at the same time prompting me to seek out areas in need of improvement. This course has also reminded me of the importance of faith in coaching practices and the need to serve as a positive role model for the children. I am so glad that I chose to enrol in this course and feel that I have greatly benefited from it. Thank you so much.”

“It was a fantastic experience. I enjoyed the connection we made between faith and coaching. It reinforced the relationship I can continue to build with my athletes and also share with other coaches. The NCCP program itself was a great way to observe and learn about the many responsibilities that are involved in coaching. It provided strategies and procedures to make the coaching experience a wonderful experience for both the athletes and coaches.”

“I feel that the Coaching Program helped unify the coaching spirit. We were able to share our coaching stories so that we can foster good practices and dispel the bad situations. The program enabled all coaches to work towards a common goal and to adhere to ethical standards and policies. (The facilitator) was able to impart his knowledge and guide us down an exemplary Catholic coaching path.”

“Made me reflect on my role as coach and educator and the impact I have on young people.”

“I feel more comfortable coaching a team. I am more organized and prepared. I appreciated the ‘What to do in the case of an accident’ part of the course. I was in a situation where an accident occurred during practice and knew what steps to take. Thank you for putting this course together, for making this course available for both full-time and part-time teachers, and for making it free for us.”