National Coaches Week celebrates the tremendous positive impact coaches have on athletes and communities across Canada. From September 19-27, there’s an opportunity to recognize coaches for the integral role they play by simply saying #thanksBCcoach. Additionally, events are being held across the country to celebrate coaching and provide coaches with the recognition they deserve. For more information on how to get involved in British Columbia, visit!

Check out the coaches we have selected to Highlight this year!


Christine Yamaoka

About Christine: Christine Yamaoka has been coaching since grade 12.  She was an assistant coach at her high school during her senior year with the track team.  From that point she was hooked; coaching volleyball, basketball, badminton, rugby, track and teaching Step Aerobics.  She also has worked in two weight rooms, adding to her knowledge around biodynamics.  Currently she coaches with the Kamloops Track and Field Club as the Sprints and Hurdles Coach, while teaching at Valleyview high school.

1. What got you into to coaching?
Christine: When I started teaching over 20 years ago, I decided I wanted to make a different connection and give back to my students. I remembered how much I loved sports, the connections I made and how important it was for me while going to school. With a background in sprints and hurdles, coaching seemed like the natural fit. Since then, I have coached basketball, volleyball, badminton, rugby, all aspects of track and field, and now more specifically, sprints and hurdles in track and field.

2. What do you love about coaching and what do you find challenging?

Christine: I enjoy working with and teaching people, so coaching felt like a natural fit. I find it’s another way to give back to my community through the joy of physical activity. It’s always exciting to see my athletes reach their goals and feel like they were successful in their season. Assisting athletes in understanding that success is a process and a journey that may take some time, can be challenging. I work at helping athletes understand that the challenge of not reaching your goals can create a more purposeful and authentic training process if there’s reflection around what they need to change the next time around. 

3. Who has made an impact on your coaching journey and how have they impacted your life?

Christine: Every single coach I have had, positive or negative, has made an impact on how I coach. The coaches who made the most positive impact on me took the time to understand what made me tick as an athlete and truly focused on how they could use my strengths to my benefit and help me work through my weaknesses. As an adult coach, I greatly appreciate all of the coaches I have met along the way who I have had honest, reflective, and transparent conversations. No coach is perfect, and I highly respect the ones who have used their struggles and downfalls to better themselves and build up the coaching community. 

4. How would you describe your coaching style?

Christine: I strive to create an inclusive and welcoming environment where all athletes feel empowered. I coach holistically, meaning I coach to all aspects of the athlete – their physical, mental, emotional, etc. – working with athletes to overcome any obstacle. Leading with respect and kindness is paramount. I am also a lifelong learner, so I continually take courses or read articles to better myself as a coach. I enjoy it when an athlete comes to me with a challenge that I need to research and do a little more reading on; making me a better coach. Every athlete is different and that’s what makes coaching so exciting.

5. Any coaching tips & tricks you would like to share on how to coach the variety of individual personalities of your participants/athletes?

Christine: I tend to approach coaching like I do teaching. By getting to know my athletes, and what makes them tick, I can reach more of them and see greater success. Having an open and honest relationship with your athletes means that they can come to you with any issues, aches, or pains, and trust you to truly hear them. I also start off my season by going over expectations so that I’m setting my athletes up for success. Additionally, early on in the season my athletes write down their goals for the year. This allows me to have constant conversations with them on what they want to accomplish for the season and keep them on track. I also give them surveys around how they deal with stress or competitions and continually educate them on different aspects of being an athlete. Having a good sense of humour and being able to roll with the things that just don’t matter, also helps!

6.  Has there been a special moment that has moved you in your coaching career?
Christine: I have been fortunate to be with the same group for around 7 years. It’s always amazing to see how they grow into wonderful young people. One moment that was truly heartwarming was when one of my athletes told me, “You know, I trust you.” I think that is the pinnacle of what I want my coaching and teaching careers to be. I want to be a trusted and respected coach. I want my athletes to feel confident coming to me and know that they’ll be heard. The fact that they trust me to have their best interest at heart confirms that I am doing what I set out to do.

7. What if your ultimate goal for yourself related to coaching?

Christine: My ultimate goal in coaching is to have athletes reach the highest level in competition that they can. If that means they solely compete in our indoor meets or make it to high school Provincials or even onto a National team, I am going to support each athlete in their endeavors. I always say, “Coaching is my retirement plan.” What I mean by this is, coaching is such an extension of what comes naturally to me and who I am that I can’t imagine my life without it in some way,  shape or form.
Natasha Little
About Natasha:
Natasha is an experienced multisport athlete and coach. She currently coaches the Junior Development (9-13 year old) Program with the Kamloops Track and Field Club where she has the opportunity to nurture the love of sport in the next generation of athletes. She is passionate about using the role of coach to empower others.

Natasha’s athletic achievements include Team BC Wrestling, WolfPack Women’s Soccer, and BC Scottish Highland Games Heavy Events Women’s Champion. Her coaching experience includes everything from recreational sports camps to kids heavy events (Scottish Highland Games) to TRU WolfPack Women’s Soccer to TRU Law’s competitive mooting program where she coaches TRU’s Jessup International Law Moot Team.
1. What got you into coaching?
Natasha:  Both of my parents were (and are) coaches, so coaching has always been a part of my life and family culture. For us, coaching is part of participating in sport: it is a way of giving back to and building up our communities and provides both continuity in sporting community between past, present and future athletes and a more complete perspective/understanding of sport itself.

2. What do you love about coaching and what do you find challenging? 

Natasha: I love that coaching is a position where I can build others up. Coaches have the opportunity to empower others to be holistically well, to achieve their best, to express themselves as individuals and as a team, and to connect with others through sport. Getting to come alongside other humans and support them in developing their wellness, knowledge, skills, community, positivity/thankfulness, and confidence is something I genuinely love.

I think one of the most constant challenges coaches have is providing each and every athlete with the particular support that they need – delivered in the way that they need it – each and every day, while simultaneously coaching the entire team toward set, seasonal goals. But what a wonderful challenge it is: learning how to support all of your athletes and your team as holistically as possible.

3. Who has made an impact in your coaching journey and how have they impacted your life?

Natasha: My parents have been a huge, positive impact on my coaching journey. They are both fantastic and dedicated coaches who model coaching as lifestyle and as a part of life-long participation in sport. I have had the privilege of learning from and with them throughout my life, and continue to find their support and insight invaluable as we continue to grow together as a family of life-long coaches and athletes. Thanks mom and dad!

I am also immensely grateful to the Kamloops Track and Field Club for giving me opportunities to coach throughout my life, and for their unwavering commitment to providing quality coach education. It is their commitment that enabled me to attend the Pacific Sport VI Coach Academy which provided the environment, instruction, and mentorship to deepen and implement my coaching philosophy.

4. How would you describe your coaching style?

Natasha: “Coach” isn’t something I do, it’s something I am. Coaching is a lifestyle – an every-day commitment to empower others and to model and grow the ideals of sport and wellness.

5. Any coaching tips & tricks you would like to share on how to coach the variety of individual personalities or you participants/athletes?

Natasha: I find that regularly pausing to ask myself “how can I support [athlete name]?” is a helpful way of maintaining an athlete-centred coaching practice. As often as possible, I invite the athletes to answer that question themselves. Three things that I find solicit particularly informative answers from athletes are: (1) incorporating SMART goalsetting practices; (2) having intentional conversations with each of my athletes (that means planned in advance and subsequently noted down); and (3) listening to my athletes with purpose.

6. Has there been a special moment that has moved you in your coaching career?

Natasha: For me, coaching is about all the little moments – the times you get to share in your ahtletes’ victories.

7. What is your ultimate goal for yourself related to coaching?

Natasha: My ultimate goal is to be a positive, supportive, and empowering person working in and striving toward a positive, supportive and empowering environment. 


We’re giving away $1000 to celebrate B.C. coaches for National Coaches Week! Enter to win $500 for your sport team/club/association and another $500 for your coach(es)! #thanksBCcoach #coachesweek

All you have to do is post a photo on social media that includes your coach(es) and why you appreciate them:

  1. Follow/like viaSport BC on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram
  2. Post a photo that includes your coach(es) to Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. Also include:
    1. The name of the team/club/association you’re a part of
    2. The name of the coach(es)
    3. Why you appreciate them
    4. The hashtag #thanksBCcoach
  3. Tag @viaSportBC in the post
  4. Ensure your Facebook/Twitter post and/or Instagram profile is made public so that your photo is viewable
We would like to thank viaSport, the Province of British Columbia and our Regional Alliance Partners in each municipality for their support of National Coaches Week in BC!