Tip of the Month – December

Coach Monika Says…

Dealing with Pre-Christmas Stress

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” but also a time when stress levels tend to soar. While Christmas is known as “the season to be jolly,” it can be a significant source of stress for athletes as pressure from family members, studies, semester exams, and other conflicts rise. Some athletes or even coaches may feel overwhelmed by the excess and organizational expectations and therefore become depressed. Most of us are aware of the adverse effects that stress can have on our body as it impacts our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. The holidays may seem more like trying to meet a high-pressure deadline than having a ‘happy’ time!

Try these ‘Christmas stress-busting strategies’ to ease the strain, and help stress melt away:

Taking Time out:
  • Carrying the world on your shoulders and trying to achieve everything alone during the holidays can take its toll on mind and body. Enlist some help in accomplishing some of the tasks on your list, and take personal ‘time out!’
  • De-stressing can have many benefits. Focus on doing something that you find relaxing to recharge your batteries such as reading a book, watching a Christmas movie, listening to music, or treating yourself to a massage. In essence, ‘pamper’ yourself!
  • Starting the day with ‘good vibes’ in your inbox may be just what is needed. Enjoy a humorous cartoon, personal joke in your email, or a picturesque christmas desktop picture…I have a beautiful advent wreath on my desktop screen, showing 4 advent candles. It makes me feel good, lifts, my spirit, and I play the jazz version of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
  • Do a different workout activity away from your regular training routine.
  • Take a ‘break’ from social media! Facebook tends to have a negative effect on your happiness… so, log off and enjoy life outside your cell!
  • Spend time with a ‘furry’ friend or someone’s pet…pets only care about being loved and putting a ‘smile on your face’ … watch an animal documentary or movie!

The Power of Transformative Leadership

Ever wonder about the state of excellent leadership skills nowadays, as it seem to be getting more and more scarce? Actually, the current state of affairs is discouraging, dispiriting, and almost depressing – at least for me!

Leadership means different things to different people around the world, as well as different things in different situations. It can bring to mind a variety of images: relating to community, religion, or politics; and in our case, to sport organization in general or national coaches, who have demonstrated lack of moral character and ethical behaviour?
Doesn’t society keep perpetuating the myth ‘sports builds character?’

In the past years several International bodies were or are involved in:

  • Corruption: FIFA/soccer
  • Lacking long-term vision on rule changes: FINA/swimming as top swimmers challenge FINA with lawsuit
  • National governing bodies such as the US Gymnastics Federation and horrendous sexual abuse of female athletes having to file for bankruptcy
  • Canadian National Director of women’s gymnastics presently in court, accused of inappropriate behaviour from 2000-2007 (Sarnia, Ontario, reported December 14, 2018)
  • Alpine Canada facing suit for failing to protect female athletes from sexual, physical, and psychological abuse
  • Hazing scandals during 2002-2003 in Canadian Junior Hockey in Sarnia, Ontario, whereby the coach apparently was also involved spanking the naked buttocks of a new player, and senior players urinated on newcomers (reported December 13, 2018)

The words “leader” and “leadership” are often used incorrectly to describe people who are actually managing. These individuals may be highly skilled, good at their jobs, and valuable to their organizations – but that just makes them excellent managers, not leaders. We need to be careful using these terms and avoid assuming that people with “leader” in their job titles, people who describe themselves as “leaders,” or even groups called “leadership teams” are  actually in roles of leadership. A particular danger in these situations is that people or organizations that are managed by such an individual or group think they’re being led, but they’re not. There may actually be no leadership at all, with no one setting a vision and no one being inspired. This can cause serious problems in the long term.

Leaders help themselves and others to do the right things. They set direction, build an inspiring vision, and create something new. Leadership is about mapping out where one needs to go to ‘win’ as a team or an organization. It is dynamic, exciting, and inspiring. Yet, while leaders set the direction, they must also use management skills to guide their people to the right destination in a smooth and efficient way. The process is referred to as Transformational leadership, defined as a leadership approach that causes change in individuals and social systems. In its ideal form, it creates valuable and positive change in the followers with the end goal of developing followers into leaders.

According to the idea of transformational leadership, an effective leader is a person who does the following:

Basic Elements of Transformational Leadership
  • Idealized Influence. Transformational leaders act as role models and followers seek to emulate their behaviour
  • Creates an inspiring vision of the future
  • Inspirational motivation
  • Motivates and inspires people to engage with that vision
  • Intellectual stimulation
  • Manages delivery of the vision
  • Individualized consideration
  • Coaches and builds a team so that it is more effective at achieving the vision
Seven Transformational Leadership Qualities
  • A clear vision: Transformational leaders have a vision of what they want to achieve and the ability to clearly communicate this vision so that everyone in the organization/parents/athletes understands what is needed to achieve this vision. …
  • Courage
  • Self-motivation
  • Inspiration
  • Know your people
  • Set a company standard
  • Follow through

The impact of transformational leadership reaches every level of an organization. At the team level, you can find members that care, stimulate, inspire and motivate each other. Upper-level transformational leaders set an organization’s direction and vision, influencing the way the lower levels of an organization operate. Excellent leadership brings together the skills needed to do these things.

Foremost, courage is needed, as it is an important trait for change agents. Being ‘competently courageous’ can create the right conditions for action, whether the goal is to implement a new team selection process, or deal with team management issues. The key to success is a set of attitudes and behaviours that include building a ‘good’ reputation’, becoming a master of good timing, choosing one’s battles, and following-up.

To You ALL!


Associated Press (2018, December 5). USA Gymnastics files for bankruptcy in wake of Larry Nassar scandal. Retrieved December 14, from: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/dec/05/usa-gymnastics-files-for-bankruptcy-in- wake-of-larry-nassar-scandal

Barnes, D. (2018, December 13). Alpine Canada faces suit from three former skiers. Officials allege to have known about coach’s abuse but failed to protect athletes. The Calgary Herald, A6.

Conn, D. (2017, November 6). How the FBI won ‘the World Cup of fraud’ as FIFA scandal arrives in court. The Observer. Retrieved December 14, from: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/ nov/06/fifa-scandal-fbi-new-york-trial-chuck-blazer-sepp-blatter

Malone, M. (2018, December, 13). Ex-Sting coach should step away from hockey amid allegations, Carcillo says. The Calgary Herald, B9.

Reuters (2018, December 9). Top swimmers challenge FINA with lawsuit. Retrieved December 14, from: https://www.euronews.com/2018/12/09/top-swimmers-challenge-fina-with-lawsuit

Thompson, N. (2018, December 14). Coach denies naps with gymnast. The Calgary Herald, NP7.

Tip of the Month – November

Coach Monika says…



Warm-up and Cool-down: Common Mistakes

Recently, I observed a group of athletes in their Warm-up and Cool-down activities. I could not believe that coaches were standing around, talking, sipping from their water bottle and slurping Starbucks coffee. It is time to provide some guidelines in order to prevent potential injuries due to lack of effort or improper technique of exercises.


  • Practice starts the minute athletes come through the door and they should demonstrate motivation and positive attitude to learn and improve daily performance
  • During Warm-up and Cool-down exercises, attention needs to be paid to the body, rather that chitchatting and catching up with the latest news.
  • Exercises have to be performed with full range of motion (ROM) rather than superficial, offhand, random, perfunctory, sketchy, desultory, brief, careless, fast, or half-baked efforts.


  • Body position and alignment have to be correct for whatever exercise – otherwise, injuries may occur
  • Athletes can risk back injury if they arch the back while doing planks or push-ups; knee injuries are possible if athletes bend too deeply in a lunge or squat
  • Traditional ‘Jumping jacks’ are outdated – replace them with forward- backward lunge jumps
  • Sideways stretches need to be executed to both sides with equal effort
  • Forward-downward stretches for toe touches should be performed to the L foot, to the center on the floor, and the R foot
  • Hopping and jumping exercises are performed wearing tennis shoes NOT Flip flops (!) to prevent foot, ankle injuries and shin splints
  • The Warm-up consists of general exercise components (all muscles – while raising the HR) and specific ones (those muscles needed in the upcoming session)
  • The Cool-down has a psychological component with the role of lowering the HR
  • Muscles used in the prior session are addressed, and depending on need, exercises are tailored to the individual athlete: flexibility; flexibility and strength; agility, balance, etc.


  • For Warm-up and Cool-down – rotate among athletes, correct improper technique, encourage, and motivate… that is your active role rather than standing around, being passive, and seemingly less involved!

Get Concussion Smart: Making Headway in Sport

The topic of Concussion has been at the forefront of news coverage for some time, whether in Professional or Amateur sports. While most incidents occur in team sports, there are instances in individual sports as well. Cheerleading, gymnastics (fall from High bar, uneven bars, balance beam, vaulting (landing), swimming (slipping on deck, crashing into pool wall), diving (High-Tower), trampoline, racquetball, tennis, etc.

There have been significant strides in the management and care of concussed athletes; however, there continues to be a lot of confusion among athletes, parents, and coaches regarding the proper management of an athlete with a concussion, particularly in the pediatric population.

The University of Calgary is one of the leading institutions on Concussion Research. The Integrated Concussion Research Program (ICRP) is a university-wide initiative to study concussion, which has brought together experts from the Cumming School of Medicine, Faculty of Kinesiology, and Faculty of Arts, with support from the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI) and the Calgary based Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI).

The Problem ICRP is addressing

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), including concussion, is a common occurrence. In Canada, approximately 250,000 concussions occur per year. However, concussions can be difficult to detect and diagnose, and can result in long-term problems. The ICRP was developed to address the growing concern about concussions, improve the lives of those who have experienced these injuries, and prevent concussions for upcoming generations.

The University of Calgary is leading a national study examining concussions and head injuries in high-school athletes in a $12-million project financed by the National Football League. The research effort, overseen by Calgary’s Dr. Carolyn Emery, involves 6,000 high-school students from across Canada who compete in rugby, hockey, football, lacrosse, wrestling, soccer, basketball and cheerleading. Thirty-five researchers, including the University of Calgary, monitor students over a three-year period before producing its findings and recommendations.

It is part of the NFL’s US$100-million Play Smart, Play Safe initiative that was organized in 2016 to improve player safety and has since expanded to include all levels of football as well as other sports. The NFL announced that it was paying out US$35-million for neuroscience research to five North American institutions, with the U of C being the only one in Canada (Calgary is coordinating its study with eight other Canadian universities from the University of British Columbia to McGill and Laval in Quebec).

According to Dr. Emery, there are three targeted areas to her latest study:

  1. An examination of rules and policy changes
  2. Equipment recommendations – proper-fitting helmets, mouth guards
  3. Training strategies, particularly when it deals with athletes new to a sport

“In rugby, we know a lot of players – particularly female players in high school – have often not been exposed to a contact sport before they engage in rugby in Grade 10.” Dr. Emery notes. “So we may be looking for things in terms of preparation for contact in games.”

Retired U.S. Army general Peter Chiarelli, chairman of the NFL’s Scientific Advisory Board, is a supporter of what the league has done after settling a class-action suit that will pay US$1-billion to thousands of former players who said they were suffering from football-related concussion issues. “I think we’re going to have a huge impact in reducing the burden of concussions in youth sports,” said Dr. Emery, who first pitched her study plan to the NFL’s Scientific Advisory Board in September 2017. “And I think we’re well-positioned to be a leader in this field internationally.”

Dr. Emery was celebrated for her work compiling and analyzing injuries in minor hockey over a five-year span. She conducted a comparison between peewee-aged kids in Quebec (11- and 12-year-olds) who played non-contact hockey and those in Alberta who played full-contact games. After it was learned Alberta peewees suffered three times as many injuries as their Quebec counterparts – a number higher than anticipated – Hockey Canada chose to ban bodychecking at the peewee level starting in the fall of 2013. Four years later, Hockey Canada announced that the new rule had produced “a 50-per-cent relative reduction in injury rate and a 64-percent reduction in concussion rate in 11-year-old and 12-year-old hockey players in Alberta.”

The NHL agreed to a non-class settlement that would pay US$18.9-million to more than 300 retired players who accused the league of failing to warn them about the risks of head injuries. “What we were looking for was translation,” Chiarelli says. “What that means is we wanted research we believed – and researchers had proven – is going to help patients in the short order; not necessarily research that is going to spawn a lot of research papers. We were looking for translational medicine, from the bench to the bedside.” The NFL had also funded a study based in London, England, that focused on head injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in jockeys. The research began in horse racing but was adjusted to include athletes in contact sports. It is not known how much funding the jockey study has received from the NFL. Chiarelli says the issue of head trauma has focused largely on football when it’s very much a societal matter. “There are 3.5 million Americans who report to emergency rooms every year with head trauma. This is a public-health crisis.” According to additional reports, youth account for more than half of the three million concussions that occur annually in North America. An estimated 1.6-3.8 million sports (and recreation) related concussions occur in the United States each year. During 2001-2005, children and youth, ages 5-18 years, accounted for 2.4 million sports-related emergency department (ED) visits annually, whereby 6% (135,000) involved concussions.


Injury Rate per 1,000 Athletic Exposures

Women’s ice hockey                         0.91
Men’s spring football (American)   0.54
Men’s ice hockey   0.41
Women’s soccer   0.41

Concussions among US High School and Collegiate Athletes

Despite researchers reporting in 2007 that an estimated 300 000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States, progress has been slow. Sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of traumatic brain injury among people aged 15 to 24 years, according to researchers Gessel, Fields, Collins, Dick and Comstock.

The 6 Steps: Return to Play Guidelines Following a Concussion

The Canadian Coaching Association has provided its Guidelines for Concussion Protocol management. Although these are directed toward team sport athletes the 6-step guidelines can be applied appropriately to individual sport athletes.

Step 1: Symptom-Limited Activity

After an initial period of short Rest of 24-48 hours, light cognitive and physical activity can be initiated as long as they do not worsen symptoms. A physician, preferably one with expertise in managing concussions, should be consulted before beginning a step-wise return to learn and sport strategy

Step 2: Light Aerobic Exercise

Someone who can help monitor for symptoms and signs should supervise the athlete. The intensity and duration of aerobic exercise can be gradually increased over time if no symptoms or signs return during the exercise or the next day.

Step 3: Sport-Specific Activities

If team sport athlete – there should be no body contact or other jarring motions such as high-speed stops. If individual sport, avoid jarring motions. If symptoms or signs appear, return to the previous stage and only engage in activities that can be tolerated.  

Step 4: Training without Contact

If symptoms or signs return – return to the previous stage and only engage in activities that can be tolerated. If no symptoms or signs return– the time needed to progress from non-contact exercise varies with the severity of the concussion and with the individual athlete. Proceed to Step 5 only after 100% medical clearance.

Step 5: Training with Contact

If symptoms or signs return – return to the previous stage and only engage in activities that can be tolerated. If these persist consult the physician. If no symptoms or signs return, proceed to Step 6 the next day.

Step 6: Game Play or Competition

If the all-clear has been provided by a qualified health professional, the athlete can return to participation in gameplay or competition.


Canadian Coaches Association (2018). Inside Coaching. 6 Step Return to Play Guidelines Following Concussion. Ottawa, ON, Canada.

Gessel, L.M., Fields, S.K., Collins, C.L., Dick, R.W., & Comstock, D. (2007). Concussion among United States high School and collegiate athletes. Journal of Athletic Training, 42(4), 495-503. Oct-Dec.

Maki, A. (2018, November 15). University of Calgary launches study on concussions with funding from NFL. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 20, 2018, from: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/ alberta/article-university-of-calgary-launches-study-on-concussions-with-funding-from/

Patel, D.R., Fidrocki, D., & Parachuri, V. (2017). Sport-related concussions in adolescent athletes: a critical public health problem for which prevention remains an elusive goal. Translational Pediatrics, 6(3), 114-120. July.

University  of Calgary. Integrated Concussion Research Program (ICRP). Retrieved November 26, 2018, from: https://icrp.ucalgary,ca

Tip of the Month – October

Coach Monika says…


A Country Going to Pot

Implications of Legalization of Cannabis for Canadian Athletes

Canada became the second country to legalize cannabis on October 17, 2018 (after Uruguay in 2013). The question now arises: how is this going to impact Canadian athletes in terms of performance, potential health issues, travel to the US where cannabis is still illegal in the majority of States, and other countries? How is the IOC going to deal with this phenomenon as the drug is still on the banned list? According to SIRC (Canadian Sport Information Resource Centre, Ottawa) “legalization of cannabis will have significant implications on the Canadian sport system, ranging from doping policy, to athlete and staff safety, to risk management for organizations” (SIRC release, October 10, 2018).

Findings of British and Portuguese researchers show that there could be serious implications for ‘casual pot’ users as well as those who use pharmaceuticals containing cannabinoids (the chemical compound in the plant) – although their studies are based on mice.

According to their findings, mice exposed to cannabis had ‘significant’ mental impairments and difficulties distinguishing between familiar and new objects. Additionally, imagination tests revealed cannabis harmed the rodents brain regions responsible for learning and memory.

Dr. Neil Dawson, lead researcher from the Lancaster University in the UK says, “the work offers valuable new insight into the way long-term cannabinoid exposure negatively impacts the brain and the risk of developing mental health issues and memory problems.”

Dr. Ana Sebastião, University of Lisbon states, “Our work clearly shows prolonged cannabinoid intake does have a negative impact on brain function and memory.” Any lengthy exposure appeared to compound the problem as it also hindered the ability of those areas to communicate with one another.

In the face of the mounting complexity it is important to remember that in the world of Anti-doping in Sport the debate is not complicated – cannabis is still prohibited and on the IOC and WADA banned list!

Why Us ?

Shape Young Athletes
By Having FUN!


Physical Literacy For Children And Youth
Through Fun, Fitness And Fundamentals

Available NOW! – Instant Download or 2-Disk Set

Watch the preview video below!

You will be astonished over the athletic accomplishments of these young athletes’ strength, flexibility, balance, etc.

Click here to purchase your copy today!

 Dr. Monika Schloder Welcomes You To The Home of CoachingBest

Your one-stop for Coaching Tips, Training, and Information for the Athletic Coach

Years of teaching and coaching experience in several sports have provided me with the ability to understand the physical, mental, and emotional requirements for developing beginner to elite level athlete in several sports. The ‘knack’ to analyze sport movement, in essence, detect errors and then develop creative corrections and drills to improve, maximize, and optimize performance – no matter the sport – is one of my greatest assets.

Dr. Monika Scloder, Summer Swim Camp- Turku, Finland

Professional Activities:

  • DVD Production: Swimming; Developing Physical Literacy; Athletic Training
  • Learning Facilitator, Canadian National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), having educated nationally and internationally over 26,000 coaches to date
  • Certified Alberta NCCP Coach Developer (2016)
  • Speaker at International Congresses, Coaching Symposiums, and World Clinics
  • Master Coach in Residence, 1991-2004, for the Los Angeles based 84 Legacy of the Games (former Amateur Athletic Foundation or AAF), program developer for Inner City Minority Youth Education and Leadership
  • Author: Coaching Manuals in Swimming and Soccer
  • Co-author “Coaching Athletes: A Foundation for Success”


  • Alberta 2008 Coach of the Year
  • Recipient of 14 International Teaching and Coaching Awards
  • 3M Teaching Fellowship Award for Outstanding Teaching at Canadian Universities
  • Recipient of numerous Teaching Excellence Awards, University of Calgary

At CoachingBest.com we offer sport consulting and coaching education to organizations worldwide with an emphasis on current issues, physical literacy, athlete development, performance analysis, and improvement

Visit our Website CoachingBest.com for ‘Tips of the Week’ and sign up for the free Monthly Newsletter

Dr. Schloder has developed a series of Training DVD’s to help Coaches and Athletes
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ASCA Workshop Conference and Presentation

Happenings from November

With Coach Rebecca Atchley – Dr. Schloder was an External Committee Member for Rebeca’s Masters Project Dr. Schloder’s Workshop Presentation

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Conference Photos

Happenings from September

Latest Happenings!!

 Dr. Monika Schloder at the ASCA World Clinic for Swimming, Jacksonville, Florida, Sept 8, 2014 Presenting at the 4-hour Work shop “Dry-land School for Age Group Swimmers” Coaches participate in her workshops… they don’t just sit!

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Back Arch Demo

Coach Schloder in Istanbul, Turkey Swim Camp , June 9-15

Underneath the swimmer to demonstrate the back arch position after the Back Crawl start. Not too many coaches can do this perfectly!

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Developing Physical Literacy

This highly acclaimed presentation was given by Dr. Schloder at the Canadian Sport for Life Summit (CS4L), which will be available as a movie version. Watch for the up-coming DVD: ‘Physical Activities for Children and Youth. Fundamental Movement Skills in the Pursuit of Excellence and Well-being.’

View page »


  1. Michèle Boutin

    Dear Dr. Schloder,

    We are a small competitive swimming club in Beaconsfield, Quebec, Canada.
    We are interested in purchasing your DVD+Booklet called Fly Away but it is not available on your online shop.
    Could you please let me know how we could purchase it?

    Best regards,

    Michèle Boutin
    Beaconsfield Bluefins Swim Club

  2. Augusto Acosta

    I love your work!

  3. Kim Cox

    Super new front page on your website, very informative.

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Tip of the Month – December

Coach Monika Says… Dealing with Pre-Christmas Stress “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” but also a time when stress levels tend to soar. While Christmas is known as “the season to be jolly,” it can be a significant source of stress for athletes as pressure from family members, studies, semester exams, and other …

Read more

The Power of Transformative Leadership

Ever wonder about the state of excellent leadership skills nowadays, as it seem to be getting more and more scarce? Actually, the current state of affairs is discouraging, dispiriting, and almost depressing – at least for me! Leadership means different things to different people around the world, as well as different things in different situations. …

Read more