Coaching a college basketball team of young women is a perfect fit for new coach, Heather LaFontaine.
After a successful season with the Durham Lords, LaFontaine made a strong impression and was presented with the Coach of the Year award for 2014 by the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association.
LaFontaine says the transition to coaching a college basketball team was not so different from high school. “Coaching a team is coaching a team,” she says.
LaFontaine says the biggest change was being referred to as “Heather” rather than “Mrs. LaFontaine” and also making practice work around conflicting school schedules.
“In high school, class ended everyday at 2:40,” she says, adding the young women on her team do the best they can to make practice work around their different class schedules.
Aside from coaching in high schools, LaFontaine is apart of many basketball camps, including the Toronto Raptors Basketball camp and the Future Stars Basketball camp.
LaFontaine’s experience in basketball coaching has even rubbed off onto her two daughters. Her oldest, Kelly Kasper, is the assistant coach of the women’s basketball team and Kauri LaFontaine is a player.
As a coach, LaFontaine says she has never been the one to yell. She focuses on promoting positivity and building confidence among her players. To her it is important for the team to be able to gel together as a new group and communicate with one another.
“I like a give and take relationship, players need to come talk to me,” she says.
After her first season of college basketball coaching, LaFontaine says she looks forward to coming back next year to play with the Lords again.