As part of BCWSA’s Seated Throws Week, we’re highlighting Coach Garrett Collier. With a wealth of experience as both an athlete and a coach in able-bodied athletics, BCWSA’s Provincial Seated Throws Coach Garrett Collier is excited to bring his skills and expertise to the para side and help BC’s seated throwers achieve their goals and reach new heights.
One of the most impressive throwers in Vancouver College history, Garrett shined as an athlete and attended the University of California Berkley where he competed as a thrower and stood out in the hammer throw. After his collegiate career, Garrett went into coaching and worked as a throws coach at the University of Hawaii for nine years before returning to BC and joining BC Athletics as a technical director.
It was through his work with BC Athletics, that Garrett was first exposed to para-athletics and seated throws and had a chance to try out a throwing frame at a coaching clinic with Lisa Myers - one of the founders of the BC Seated Throws Program.
“I got to get in the chair and throw and I was immediately intrigued by it, it’s a completely different throwing without legs.”
Over the next several years, Garrett continued to coach able-bodied throwers with Richmond’s Kajaks Track and Field Club where he’s also the head coach. During this time, he was able to watch some seated throws at meets and championships around the country and his interest and curiosity in the sport grew. This led him to apply to join BCWSA when a throws position opened up earlier this year.
“When the position came up, I knew it was something that I wanted to explore more so I jumped at the opportunity.”
Since joining BC Wheelchair Sports in February, Garrett’s been working with our athletes to help improve their skills and technique, navigating a new normal with coaching through the COVID-19 pandemic and learning the best ways to support different athletes.
“It’s been great to work with those guys. They’ve done everything I’ve asked and are starting to ask even more about questions and understand what we’re trying to accomplish.”
He’s been really impressed by the work ethic in training especially in recent months as they’ve navigated a return to sport.
“It’s inspirational to watch them throw, they’re an awesome and hardworking group that make coaching easy and they've really solidified my decision to get involved in para-athletics.”
Coaching is about learning as much as it’s about teaching, and Garrett says that he’s already learned a lot from his athletes.
“I’m looking forward to learning more about the para side. Obviously, there is a big learning curve with the para side, but I’ve got a lot of support so far from the athletes and BC Wheelchair Sports”
While 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic has put a hold on competition, Garrett is looking forward to the future and getting an opportunity to help his athletes compete.
“I can’t wait to see these guys in competitions. We’ve done a lot of work and we’re starting to see some great things in training. I’m really excited to go on trips with the team and get into some championship situations provincially and nationally.”
One of Garrett’s other goals with the seated throws program is to help improve the integration of seated throwers into able-bodied track and field clubs and grow the “throwing family”
“I’m hoping to integrate some of our groups so that our athletes can throw with the more able-bodied throwers and feel included in the throwing family.”.
BCWSA is always looking for more athletes to join our programs and Garrett believes in providing a welcoming and supportive environment for all athletes.
“There’s no expectation when you’re coming in for the first time; you’re going to come into a welcoming, fun and family-orientated environment.”
He adds that while trying a new sport can be a little daunting at first, you’ll never know if you don’t try!
“I think one of the biggest things is to take the leap, come out, get in the chair and give a try, you just might surprise yourself.”
We’re grateful to have enthusiastic and positive coaches like Garrett as part of our team who are committed to helping athletes achieve their goals no matter how big or small they may be.