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Coaches Week: Be the change you wish to see

Name: Lisa Davison
Sport: Badminton
Community: Prince George

Riiiiiiiiiiiing!

The lunchtime bell is a long-awaited sound for high school students. Instead of consuming knowledge, you devoured homemade lunches and socialized freely with peers. You even played badminton against the school secretary. Sometimes, even teaming up against her. (At least, that’s what they did in Prince George.)

“At the time, the high school team had disappeared. I realized it was phasing out, and would go out during lunch hour and play with students. They realized, ‘Oh my goodness, you’re good!’ All the boys would want to play me,” says Lisa Davison.

Her parent’s desire for sport and the outdoors trickled into her own life. Lisa grew up playing multiple sports - soccer, gymnastics, figure skating, basketball, and softball. At Kelly Roads Secondary School, she flourished as a badminton player.  

“We were always outdoors people. Living in this country, that’s what you do.”

Currently, Lisa’s spends the majority of her time at North Central Badminton Academy, where she’s both the Founder and Head Coach. Her dream to establish the only youth organized club in the area sparked after discovering an inherent need from the community. Fresh out of high school, Lisa stopped playing badminton due to an unforgiving injury. Soon after, she began to work as a school secretary, bouncing around from high school to high school.

Out of nowhere, Lisa received a call from a mother in Fort St. John. Turns out, she had gotten wind of Lisa’s badminton experience, and wanted to inquire about coaching opportunities with her son who was moving to Prince George. At the time, Lisa didn’t have any coaching certification. Any related mentoring experience was from casual lunch hours, smashing shuttlecocks with students. But the call from the community inspired her to learn more about coaching.

“People assume I’m a teacher. Essentially, coaching is teaching. You do need to be educated. That was my other drive to be educated better – so I could better deliver information. Build on the other aspects of coaching. Learn the mental aspects.”

And so that’s what she did. On top of taking NCCP courses, Lisa eventually began coaching at her alma mater. During her time at school, she had come to the alarming realization that kids would only play badminton during the high school season lasting 10-12 weeks. Fast forward to 2000, and Lisa had accumulated a wealth of coaching certification under her belt. Motivated to lengthen the badminton season, Lisa rented a gym through her local civic centre and started what would eventually becoming the North Central Badminton Academy.

Now, thanks to Lisa’s vision and execution, kids in Prince George can play badminton all year round. As the academy has expanded, so has Lisa’s role. In addition to coaching athletes, Lisa mentors other badminton coaches and has become both a Coach Evaluator and Learning Facilitator, contributing to the development of coaches during and after NCCP training. As part of her work with Badminton BC, Lisa identifies current gaps - how they can acquire more Learning Facilitators and Coach Evaluators and ensure all the coaching courses are delivered.

Having been involved with a multitude of coaching capacities for a number of years now, Lisa continues to find it rewarding.

“It’s an off court thing. There are kids who struggle with general life skills. For me, I do a lot of coaching that’s about life skills and how it relates to day-to-day life. And you might not find out about the effect until much later. One of the girls I coached, she’s now a movie star. One travelled a year in Paris. They’re always coming back – ‘Hey, this is what I did!’ You get invited to their wedding because you made an impact on their life in some form or fashion.”

Now that she’s formed long-lasting relationships with her athletes, Lisa hopes the same for other coaches.

 “Be proactive and look for that holistic approach. Whether they’re there to have fun or to be competitive, it’s important to know what your athletes are wanting. Take the time to reflect on what it is you want out of the program, and make sure it aligns with what your athletes want.”