On June 25th, 2018 Powering Podiums explored how other sport-centric nations develop their high performance athletes and what we could potentially learn from the philosophies and practices they have in place. We were joining by Dean Murten, Senior Manager, Growth & Development at BC Rugby and Anders Hestdalen, General Manager at BC Alpine, along with our moderator, David Hill. Please see attached PDFs for all the presentations. You can also click on the recording to view the YouTube video to the workshop.

The Objectives:

  • What can we learn from other sport-centric nations to better develop our Canadian athletes?
  • What are the major similarities and difference between how Canada structures it’s sport system compared to other leading nations?

Dave Hill: Setting the Scene

  • Can we grow bananas in Canada?
  • Seeds = Genetic Potential
  • Soil = Sport System
  • Methods = Coaching (creating conditions for deliberate practice
  • Climate = Culture (Birthplace affect or gold mine affect)
  • Harvest = Investment/ Development (De-selection, transfer, relative age affect or reversal)
View Dave Hill’s Presentation

Dean Murten, Senior Manager, Growth & Development, BC Rugby

Dean Murten is BC Rugby’s Senior Manager, Rugby Growth & Development and leads BC Rugby’s High Performance youth programs. Murten has also coached in Canada’s U17 program for four years working on skill development and took over as head coach of Canada’s U18/19 men’s program in 2015 where he continues to work on core skills development. Murten will provide some insight into Irelands academy structure and what Canadian athletes and coaches can learn from these environments.

In his presentation, Dean explored how the Long Term Player Development (LTPD) differs between the Canadian and Irish in the sport of rugby. While the Canadian LTPD has a more participation orientation, the Irish LTPD focuses on performance. Dean took us through how the two nations differed in the age brackets in the stages of development and the statistics around participation in the sport. The most interesting take away from Dean’s presentation was the story he told explaining how valuable contact time with quality coaches was to success in the Irish system.

View Dean Murten’s Presentation

Anders Hestdalen, General Manager, BC Alpine

Anders Hestdalen is the General Manager of BC Alpine where he started his role in September 2017. Hestdalen is from Norway and possesses experience as an elite athlete and has worked at the National Sports Organization level in two different sports. Most recently he served as Director of Sports for the Norwegian Wrestling Federation and led the team in achieving a number of significant goals. In the six years’ prior he was employed by the Norwegian Alpine Ski Federation as a strength and conditioning coach with a special focus on high performance athletes. Hestdalen will share some of his observations of the Norwegian system in comparison to his recent experiences in Canada.

“Skiing is a team sport except from the two minutes you´re on the course” Aksel Lund Svinda, Norwegian Olympic Downhill Gold medalist, 2018

While often individual sport athlete doesn’t put much emphasis on the team they below to, the Norwegian Ski Team has taken a different approach. Anders shared the philosophical perspective the program used to unify the athletes to create a collective culture around excellence. “´We´ is more important than I; the National team model builds the community culture. No one becomes a World Champion alone”. The Norwegian’s unique approach did not go unnoticed, the New York Times wrote, “In an era in which every world-class athlete seems fixated on personal brand-building and competing for the most Facebook likes and Twitter followers, the Norwegians embrace an altogether different approach to success. It is a contrarian mix of humility, egalitarianism and basic”. Anders also shared how the quality of the daily practice, relationships in the team, and quality of competition performances were the main focus.

View Anders Hestdalen’s Presentation


What can you learn from the best practices in other nations? Can any of the tools, philosophies, or ideas be applied to the Canadian sport system and more specifically your sport and program?

Save The Date!

Our next Powering Podiums will be on October 4th (location to be determined) when we will explore how to “Keep coaches happy & healthy”. We will hear from leaders in the sport world, who go to great measures to ensure their coaching staff are well supported and maintain a work/life balance that suits their needs. Attendees will be encouraged to share their best practices and share tools they are using to support coaches.