Speed and Power Conference Speaker Derek Evely gives interview

Derek Evely was the development coach for several Canadian Champions and is currently coaching the Canadian Hammer 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Sultana Frizell. Derek is a volunteer coach, interested in educating coaches and sharing his knowledge and experience with training methodologies.

Derek currently lives in Pinantan Lake British Columbia Canada, and finances his passion to coach athletes through his participation at conferences for speed and power sports.

When Derek is not working he and his wife Jody are raising 3 young children under the age of 10.

I asked Derek to answer a few questions I had regarding his career as a coach. He quickly got back to me and here is what he said. Thank you to Derek Evely for this brief interview.


List three personality traits that lend themselves to making you an effective coach?

I recognize three traits within myself that have always been an asset in my coaching:

  1. A creative personality that is not afraid to experiment and explore.
  2. An obsessive nature that is always watching for and assessing patterns and reactions, along with an unwillingness to compromise when it comes to athlete preparation.
  3. The ability to filter out non-essential pieces of information and act upon only what is relevant to my athletes’ progress. At times this “filtering out” includes people…

Share with us the two of your favorite ideas you are always trying to get your athletes to understand?

  1. That training is a long-term process, and with a rational, systematic and consistent approach to training one can adapt quickly, regularly and effectively to a given training program and therefore expect long term and consistent growth. Included in this is the idea that your health and the ability to recover are the crucial elements that enable this to happen.
  2. I am in this to be successful, and to that end I am prepared to make the requisite sacrifices in order to succeed, despite operating in this less-than-ideal sporting environment we call Canadian Athletics. Therefore if they are not prepared to set up their lives accordingly and make the equivalent sacrifices then I have no interest in working with them.

What one piece of advice would you like to offer other less experienced and less successful coaches who might be just starting out?

  1. Develop a system of training that your environment complements. To do this, you must study and explore various methodologies and systems of training and shape one of your own that makes sense to you. Deal in facts and look for proof; just because something exists in text does not mean it has been proven to be effective in training or competition.
  2. If working with young athletes, understand that being specific and specializing are not the same thing. You can be specific (and successful) with young, developing athletes without maximally exploiting all of their abilities prematurely. If they are talented, look down the road to what they may be doing under the guidance of a quality HP coach and then prepare them for this accordingly… this is a coaching skill that is so often undervalued (and under-practiced) in our sport. Check your ego and do the right thing.

Do you spend any time teaching your athletes a tools or a skills that you feel might not be paramount for their careers as athletes but essential to living well post athletics?

This is a very hard question to answer! I think the secret to coaching athletes successfully is similar to what it takes to properly raise children: provide the right environment for them, give them the tools they need to succeed and then get the hell out of their way. So in that sense, I simply try to provide a place where they can grow and be successful and if I have done my job right they should be bulletproofed for the real world and able to excel because they can think and act for themselves. There was a time in my career when I did not fully understand this and therefore tried hard to make everything happen for everyone through sheer white-knuckling effort. But I think I am a little wiser now and have learned that mindful education and guidance in key places and at key moments can go a long way in helping an athlete learn to drive their own success and accomplishments, both during their active competitive career and post-competing.

Final question? Do you want to share with us two or three goals you have as a coach either personally or professionally? I think who you are as a person has a great deal to do with your short and longer term success in all things and sharing your goals with us helps others understand where your priorities are.

More than anything right now I am trying to maintain an effective environment for my athletes to train in despite some pretty big obstacles like weather, support, dealing with bureaucracy, etc.… and along with this give my wife and three young children the attention they need and deserve. Not an easy task because as we know, coaching and a deep commitment to athlete development can become all consuming. As your late husband once said: “you are your own support system in this country” and so the demands for me in terms of being a father and a volunteer HP coach with 3 talented women under my charge is, at times, colossal. However, I take this responsibility very seriously and therefore I have learned to be selective and resourceful in how I have created our training environment and I think I have made the negatives actually work for us. I have learned things that I may not have learned in a more dependent setting. And while I believe in the value of working in a team atmosphere with strong leadership such as I experienced in the UK, I treasure the autonomy I am currently enjoying… I like swimming alone.

Thanks for the opportunity to share, Ange. Charlie was there for me when I asked him to share and I will always remember him for that.

( Derek,  I think Charlie would be proud of people like yourself that are not afraid to ally themselves with his life's work. The history of www.charliefrancis.com was created to teach others like yourself the essential components to coaching successfully. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments up to this point and I wish you success in what you choose for your future both professionally and personally as a husband and father. You are juggling a great deal.. THank you for taking the time with us Derek. best, Ange)  

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