From the Daily Training Environment to the 2019 Pan Am Games and Beyond: A Look at CSIO’s Impact on High Performance Coaches

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO) is proud to support athletes and coaches throughout their careers and celebrate their successes along with sports fans everywhere. 

How does CSIO work with coaches? The staff at CSIO work in collaboration with high performance coaches in the delivery of sport medicine, sport science, and program support.  Coaches also engage with CSIO to continue enhancing their knowledge through participation in many professional development opportunities, coach roundtables, mentoring or engaging in more formal coach education associated with the NCCP Advanced Coaching Diploma Program, or one of the many NCCP Competition Development workshops hosted at CSIO.    

While the sport community is celebrating the success of the Canadian athletes before, during, and after the Pan Am Games, it is important to recognize the daily support of the coaches that are often working behind the scenes to provide the environment for the athletes to develop. Coaches inspire, motivate, develop, and nurture athletes throughout their careers. 

We are excited to see that many of the coaches that CSIO has engaged with over the past few years are participating in the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima. Below we are highlighting three coaches that are currently in Lima continuing to bring their best-self on a daily basis, to their work and their athletes. Please enjoy the following profiles on Ryan Blair (Canoe Kayak), Carol Love (Rowing), and Don Burton (Swimming).

Congratulations and thank you to all the coaches that are participating in Lima!  

Ryan Blair, ChPC
Technical Director, Canoe Kayak Ontario
Canoe Kayak Sprint Coach, 2019 Pan Am Games

What has been your coaching journey to get to the Pan Am Games?
I started coaching full-time 19 years ago. Since then I have had the opportunity to work at multiple canoe clubs, as well as in my current role as Technical Director for Canoe Kayak Ontario Sprint. I have been fortunate to coach many different levels, from the novice paddler to athletes who have reached international podium successes. 

Why did you get in to coaching?
Coaching provided an opportunity for me to stay involved in the sport I love and share my experiences with the next generation of athletes.

What does it mean to you to be coaching at the Pan Am Games?
This will be my first international multi-sport experience; I am very honoured to be part of team.

What do you hope to learn / experience at Pan Ams? 
How best to support our athletes within the overall Games environment.

Favourite moment coaching your sport?
The moment an athlete is able to complete a new skill that had been difficult to learn. 


Take 5 with… Ryan Blair

  1. What are you most excited for at Pan Ams?
    Being part of Team Canada and cheering on all Canadian athletes.
  2. If you could share one piece of advice to a young coach wanting to work in high performance sport, what would it be?
    Take a moment everyday to reflect on the impact you have on the athletes you coach and how great it is to be a positive influence in their lives. 
  3. Where do you draw inspiration from?
    Family, friends, coaches, and of course, the athletes.
  4. What impact has CSIO had on your career?
    CSIO has played a key role in my coaching development. I started in an apprentice role through CSIO’s OHPSI program, then completed my Advanced Coaching Diploma at CSIO, and now work with CSIO to support Canoe Kayak’s targeted athletes. All along the way, I have continued to learn from their expert staff and improve my skills.  
  5. Describe CSIO in 1 word.


Carol Love
NextGen Coach, Rowing Canada Aviron
Rowing Coach, 2019 Pan Am Games

What has been your coaching journey to get to the Pan Am Games?
My journey has been a circuitous one. After retiring as an athlete, I started coaching and was supported by a Sport Canada grant whose aim was to increase opportunities for women to be coaching at a high performance level. When my family grew in numbers, I had to put my coaching on hold for a number of years. I have come full circle and have spent last ten years working with Talent Development and Next Gen athletes.

Why did you get in to coaching?
I was asked by a men’s crew for help as they were getting ready for Olympic trials.

What does it mean to you to be coaching at the Pan Am Games?
It is an opportunity to be engaged in a multi-sport event. We seem to spend too much time in our own sport silos, so engagement with other sports and athletes is always stimulating and exciting.

What do you hope to learn / experience at Pan Ams?
There are always things to learn and put in one’s “tool box”. Experiencing the cultural diversity of sport in other countries.

Favourite moment coaching your sport?
I don’t have one specific favourite moment. I am excited every time an athlete performs well on the international stage because I watched them take their first strokes as they were learning to row.


Take 5 with… Carol Love

  1. What are you most excited for at Pan Ams?
    I’m looking forward to arriving in Lima and enjoying being a part of getting outfitted for the Games. That’s when I feel we are truly joining Team Canada and it becomes real. And that will generate the excitement amongst my team, which we can feed off of for generating great performances. We are in a satellite location so it will be a bit different for us but it becomes real when we get to don our kit, seeing and feeling the excitement of joining Team Canada.
  2. If you could share one piece of advice to a young coach wanting to work in high performance sport, what would it be?
    Demand of yourself what you ask of your athletes… continually striving to excel. Have the greatest respect for the athletes you get to work with and in turn, they will give it to you.
  3. Where do you draw inspiration from? 
    Surrounded by coaches and athletes who are inspired by a shared experience and continually challenging each other.
  4. What impact has CSIO had on your career?
    CSIO gave me the support I needed to take my coaching career to the next level. Individuals at CSIO gave me insight into the latest knowledge, keeping me abreast of new thinking, and encouraging dialogue across sport to learn best practices.
  5. Describe CSIO in 1 word.


Don Burton
Head Coach, Ontario Swimming Academy, Swim Ontario
Swimming Coach, 2019 Pan Am Games

What has been your coaching journey to get to the Pan Am Games?
For my first senior team, I was a member of the staff to go to the World Championships in Barcelona. I also attended the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games, where I had an athlete make it on to the Team.

Why did you get in to coaching?
After I finished my swimming career, I began working in the corporate world. One of my younger cousins was swimming at the time, and I was asked to mentor him which got me involved in coaching and it morphed from there.

What does it mean to you to be coaching at the Pan Am Games?
It’s an honour! It is wonderful to be part of a big team going. Swimming is an individual sport, so to be part of a bigger team; it’s a wonderful opportunity. It’s been nothing but exciting times since Madison [Broad] qualified for the Pan Am Games. The Pan Am Games are a benchmark for the Olympic Team the following year, so I am proud to have an athlete that qualified for the Games.

What do you hope to learn / experience at Pan Ams?
I appreciate what other athletes do to prepare for competition, whether it’s the warmup or before the warmup. I want to learn from how other athletes handle a bad result, especially when they have to get prepared for the next race. There is no recipe for this, so soaking up the atmosphere and seeing this firsthand is always interesting and a learning experience. I am curious to see how our own preparation goes. The United States is always the strongest team there, so I look forward to seeing how Canada stacks up across the board.

Favourite moment coaching your sport?
During the past trials, several of my athletes made the various team being selected - Junior World Championships, Senior World Championships, and Pan Am Games. It was a great 6 days.

One of my other all-time favourite moments was when I had my first athlete won a national championship in Calgary in 2007. The World Championship team was off competing, so it was a weaker pool of competitors, but the athlete was only 17 years old, and he managed to pull it out.


Take 5 with… Don Burton

  1. What are you most excited for at Pan Ams?
    I’m excited to see Lima, Peru and to see what the Closing Ceremony is all about. To see how the Athlete Village works. I am excited to check out Machu Picchu afterwards.
  2. If you could share one piece of advice to a young coach wanting to work in high performance sport, what would it be?
    Stop being intimidated. Make a plan and do the best you can, you can make changes along the way – that’s okay! If you’re prepared and calm, you’re going to be okay. You don’t have to be from a certain country or organization to be successful as a coach.
  3. Where do you draw inspiration from?
    Athletes, coaches, other sports’ athletes, inspirational quotes, and learning from other people. When someone wants to do something, it doesn’t matter what obstacles were in their way, they were still successful.
  4. What impact has CSIO had on your career?
    I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of great, interesting people and lucky to have the support of CSIO staff and practitioners. It’s a unique group of people who make sport successful. There are no guarantees in sport, there are so many variables that can easily mess up the performance of an athlete and a group of athletes. CSIO has a team of experts to solve many of the potential issues before they happen and who work to find a solution when they do. The office and staff allow for real dialogue in a light, but collaborative atmosphere. Enjoying the process is important.
  5. Describe CSIO in 1 word.


About Canadian Sport Institute Ontario
Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO) is a non-profit organization committed to the pursuit of excellence by providing world-class programs, services, and leadership to high performance athletes and coaches to enhance their ability to achieve international podium performances. CSIO offers athletes a range of sport science and sport medicine services including nutrition, physiology, biomechanics, strength & conditioning, mental performance, sport therapy and life services. CSIO also delivers programming and services to National and Provincial Sport Organizations and coaches to work towards building a stronger sport system in Ontario and Canada.

CSIO services approximately 700 high performance athletes and 250 coaches, at its main facility at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, its satellite location at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, and in daily training environments across Ontario. CSIO is part of a larger network of 4 institutes and 3 multi-sport centres across the country known as the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network, working in partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee. CSIO is further supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Sport Canada, Own the Podium, and the Coaching Association of Canada, along with the National and Provincial Sport Organizations within the sector.


Media Contact:
Laura Albright, Manager, Communications & Events
Canadian Sport Institute Ontario
Tel: 416.596.1240 Ext. 238

Don Burton: Swim Ontario
Ryan Blair: Canoe Kayak Canada
Carol Love: Clifford Skarstedt/Peterborough Examiner/Postmedia Network

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