Behind the scenes look at the preparations involved in the Coaches Meeting

By Marie-Pier Charest, Ph.D. – Director, Training and Development Programs


Preparing for the Coaches Meeting is one of our most exciting challenges. From selecting the conference’s theme to D-Day, Aurore and I work closely with the speakers to offer a unique experience to coaches in Quebec at every gathering. What’s our secret? Listening and cooperation. For those who are interested in the details, this is what we do!


Create a general program

The first Coaches Meeting was organized more than 5 years ago, under the leadership of André Fournier. After more than 10 editions, the phase involving the selection of conference content has become increasingly easier. To create our initial list of topics, we analyze the recommendations made by coaches through satisfaction surveys related to other training activities. Then, through discussions with our stakeholders, medical and scientific experts, and resource people, we determine: have we already covered this topic? Is it actually interesting for coaches? Do they need to discuss this topic? Which angle should it be approached from? Will it be a full session? A workshop? A conference? Who is the best person to discuss the topic? In what order should the day’s presentations be held? A host of questions and just as many lively discussions! Once we believe we have found the right answers, we approve the first draft of the schedule with the INS Québec management team. In early winter, we are generally ready to contact the resource people to confirm their interest and availability.


Conference development

In the spring, Aurore begins to work with the resource people identified to determine the content. Many discussions are held by email, telephone and online. Whenever possible, Aurore meets with the speakers to offer assistance in preparing their work. When two conferences touch on similar themes, the speakers will discuss with one another to plan the content. About one month prior to the event, the conferences’ major points and summaries are finalized and the resource people fine-tune their presentations, always in cooperation with Aurore.


From left to right: Marie-Pier, Aurore and Nicolas Gill working on the content of this year’s edition.


Final adjustments

Once we have all the speakers’ presentations in hand, I begin to prepare the “pre-conference.” This event is limited to the speakers and it serves to make the Coaches Meeting a coherent set rather than a succession of conferences. I will prepare for this event in the same way I did last year… Much to the dismay of my colleagues (but also in their interest!), I will use all the tables available on the 2nd floor of INS Québec to spread out as many sheets of flipchart paper as there are conferences. I will try to summarize in a few points the entire day’s content. In the afternoon of September 30, all the speakers will come together for the fun task of listening to me summarize (reasonably well!) their presentation without having taken part in it. Their job: to ensure that the major points of the content of all the conferences are clear, and to ensure that as a team, there is a common thread to the day. It is during this meeting that the speakers will make final adjustments to their presentations, taking into account the information conveyed by their colleagues presenting before and after them.


Every Coaches Meeting has its share of surprises. But every time, I am amazed to see how experts from such a wide variety of fields manage to work together to make this one-of-a-kind multi-sport meeting more enriching.


About the Training Department

In order to contribute to the training of high-performance coaches and service providers, the Institut national du sport du Québec offers a variety of programs including the Advanced Coaching Diploma (ACD) and the formation pour l’intervention et l’innovation en préparation physique (FIIPP) program. In an effort to provide relevant information toward the professional development of high-performance coaches and service providers who are active in sports excellence, INS Québec also offers complements to training in the form of various gatherings and communications such as Question-Sport, Ateliers [Workshops], and the Coaches Meeting.



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