Hitting it with Jess Bandit, Team Canada Coach

April 28, 2017

Team Canada’s head coach talks about coast to coast to coast team unity, the will to win myth and playing against her favorite guys.

You’ve played 2 world cups before taking on the head coach position. How will your experience as a Team Canada player help your coaching?

Since there is not one athlete that competes only for Team Canada, training for a World Cup can be grueling. My experience has helped me set realistic, yet challenging goals for the team. As an athlete, I knew first-hand what I felt was beneficial to the team, and what was not. From my athletic experience and my experience in education and mental preparation, I built a season plan. There is never a moment with the team that was not carefully thought out.

How do you work on a coast to coast to coast team unity?

Before the tryouts began, the coaching team discussed qualities that we wanted the team to instill. We wanted Team Canada to be a ‘Team First’ kind of team. We celebrate camaraderie so every time we meet we do a team cohesion activity. At practices, we intentionally match certain athletes up to ensure that everyone is working with someone new.

Is there a Canadian way to play roller derby?

In my years on Team Canada, I have never seen a team that is pushing each other in such a positive way. We are focused, open-minded, and ready to give it our all at any moment.

What’s your plan in order to bring Team Canada to the next level?

Preparation! You cannot walk into the World Cup and hope for the best. Just as Bobby Knight put it “The key is not the ‘will to win’ … everyone has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” Winning means competing at our fullest potential.

Friday, you’ll be playing against the Mont-Royal, which you also coach. What will you be focusing on?

Team cohesion. This is also a perfect opportunity for us to practice on our focus and our ability to stay in the moment: process over outcome. The Mont Royals are a physical team that has a lot of heart and determination. We need to focus on our game….even though I love those guys! Haha.