The Locker Room with Tonya Verbeek and Tara Hedican

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

This month The Locker Room welcomes Wrestling Coaches Tonya Verbeek and Tara Hedican.

Tonya has recently made the transition from athlete to coach following the London 2012 Olympic Games. A three-time Olympian and a three-time freestyle wrestling 55kg medallist (silver in Athens 2004, bronze in Beijing 2008, and silver in London 2012), Tonya was Canada’s first-ever female Olympic medallist in wrestling. With hardware from her medal winning performances at the 207 and 2011 Pan American Games, 2010 Commonwealth Games, and countless World Championships, she is officially the most decorated Canadian wrestler of all-time. As a coach, Tonya has immersed herself in working with the next generation in her role as Wrestling Canada’s talent identification coach.

Tara is also a former athlete turned coach, and in 2001 was the first Canadian woman to win a world junior wrestling championship. Throughout her career Tara represented Canada on the world stage including winning medals at the Pan American Championships (gold), Commonwealth Wrestling Championships (silver), and placing 8th at the Senior world championships twice. A two-time Canadian junior national champion and two-time Canadian senior national champion, Tara was also named an alternate for the 2004 Olympic team. In 2001 Tara won the Tom Longboat Award as Canada’s top female Aboriginal athlete. Since retiring from competition, Tara has turned her attention to coaching and is a leader in the aboriginal sport community, with the 2017 North American Indigenous Games on the horizon.

Both Tonya and Tara and have recently begun the Advanced Coaching Diploma program offered by CSIO. The ACD program is a two-year journey of coach development and is the pinnacle of a coaches’ education in the National Coaching Certification Program.

Find out more about Tonya and Tara in the The Locker Room:

Name: Tonya Verbeek
Sport: Wrestling
Hometown: Beamsville, ON
Team/Club: Wrestling Canada
Twitter: @TonyaVerbeek  

1. How did you get started in your sport?
I started in high school. I was curious and wanted to try it.

2. Who has had the biggest impact on your career in sport?
All of my coaches.

3. How long have you been coaching?
8 years – 3 years in my current job.

4. What is your favourite exercise/drill/activity to have athletes do?
Chicken in the hen house game.

5. Do you have any superstitions?
No, I do not. 

6. Do you have any hidden talents?
Jump roper!

7. What was the last book you read?
Open Heart, Open Mind by Clara Hughes

8. What is the last movie you saw?
The Intern

9. What is your favourite competition city?
Gotzis, Austria

10. What is your most embarrassing moment in sport?
My underwear being captured on the front page of the Star during the Beijing Olympics.

11. What was the last picture you took on your phone?
The team training in Cuba.

12. Who would play you in the movie of your life?
Sandra Bullock

Name: Tara Hedican    
Sport: Wrestling
Hometown: Whitedog / Guelph, ON
Team/Club:  Whitedog WC

1. How did you get started in your sport?
I started wrestling in junior high school, in gym class.

2. Who has had the biggest impact on your career in sport?
My coaches have been really amazing people, especially my high school coach Mark.

3.How long have you been coaching?
I have been coaching for 15 years. 

4. What is your favourite exercise/drill/activity to have athletes do?
Speed drills / situation drills.

5. Do you have any superstitions?
No, but I am picky about my socks.

6. Do you have any hidden talents?
I speak French.

7. What was the last book you read?
One Story, One Song by Richard Wagamese

8. What is your favourite competition city?
Gotzis, Austria. I love the refreshing atmosphere.

9. What is your most embarrassing moment in sport?
I showed a move to my students a few times and did it wrong and I have tripped on the mat a few times.

10. What was the last picture you took on your phone?
My kids.

11. Who would play you in the movie of your life?
Ronda Rousey

 

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