Elite ringette coach Cathy Lipsett claims to be retired – except she’s currently coaching the Development team for Zone 1 of the BC Winter Games and the Shuswap Open A squad, she’s assisting with coaching the younger age girls, is the Okanagan Coaches Learning Facilitator to help train coaches and is a referee for ringette games.
“Besides that I’m retired,” she says with a laugh.
After coaching for more than 20 years and with her kids now grown, Lipsett says she still enjoys giving back to the sport that gave her own family so much joy.
Lipsett was in on the ground floor of Shuswap Ringette when her sister and sister-in-law saw the sport and started a program in Enderby.
At the time her oldest daughter was six.
“I knew nothing, I am totally self-taught. I read books, I observed other coaches, I just jumped in,” she says, citing the lessons learned from her basketball playing days as a Salmon Arm Jewel under coach Joe Kupkee as a model.
Lipsett has three pieces of advice for new coaches.
Make sure your players have fun, work hard and give up their cell phones.
Lipsett, who has coached every ringette level from age six to nationals, says athletes need to bond as a team, and it’s difficult to do that if everyone’s constantly checking cell phones or engrossed with texting others.
“I’m a bit old school. I say I’m the fossil of the sport,” says the coaching veteran. “I’m about respect, I’m about hard work, I’m about fixing the little things, learning to do it right so that it avoids problems down the road.”
Admitting she’s a yeller, Lipsett says she’s learned a lot about coaching and how to motivate the players over the years.
“I’ve toned it down some,” she says with a smile. “I used to yell at refs a lot, but that motivated me to become a ref. I figured if I was going to be critical, I’d better put myself out there and see. It’s given me a new appreciation.”
Ringette has truly been a family affair for the Lipsetts, both her daughters Alex and Erika played the sport into the highest levels, her nieces play, and she has coached with her sister, sister-in-law and her brother, partnering with him to coach a BC Winter Games team that won gold in a double-overtime game.
Lipsett was also a hockey mom to her son, who was coached by her husband for a number of years, and enjoyed the time he played for the Silverbacks.
“The sport has been good to me and my family. I enjoy giving back. I do get satisfaction in seeing my girls succeed, not just in sport but in life.”
Memorable moments in her coaching career include coaching her daughter on the B.C. team which knocked Alberta out of play in the Canada Winter Games, and winning the Nationals in 2012 with her daughter also on the team.
“Both those wins were pretty unheard of, so it was pretty rewarding as a coach.”
But another moment was simpler, and yet just as memorable.
“I had been knocking my head trying to teach a certain drill for several weeks and the girls just weren’t getting it. Then all of the sudden, right in a game, they did it, executed it perfectly, and I remember feeling such a thrill. I was jumping up and down because I had persevered and they pulled it off. I don’t even remember if they won the game, but it was a win in my books.”
As for when her official retirement will be, Lipsett laughs.
“Maybe next year.”