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In 2002 Allison Dobb (now Allison Ray) took one of her first steps on her pathway to becoming an award-winning and well respected coach. Allison had been coaching for about four years when she took the opportunity to coach for Zone 3 – Fraser Valley at the 2002 BC Summer Games.

“The opportunity came at the perfect time in my development as a young coach. I was new to running a club and being a leader to young athletes. I was starting to develop my own philosophy about coaching, athlete development and performance. In the context of the BC Games role, I was tasked with selection, communication about that selection, developing a plan for training and racing, and creating a team culture very quickly. I worked with the provincial coach (Craig Pond) a lot during that time and had observed him doing those apects of coaching. I enjoyed the supportive environment that the BC Games experience provided me to practice what I had learned.”

Allison built on her experience at the BC Summer Games when she was Head Coach of Team BC at the Canada Games, the Canadian Men’s Team Coach at the 2007 PanAm Games, and the Men’s 2x Coach at the London 2012 Olympic Games. “While each of those stages was more challenging both in competition and in how to best lead in those roles, I maintained the foundation that I learned at the BC Summer Games.”

Allison recognizes that it was Terry Paul (now Rowing BC Director of Performance) who encouraged her to apply for the PanAm Games coach position and continued his mentorship through her Olympic coaching experience. “Having Terry’s support led me to take advantage of opportunites to progress my coaching.”

Multi-Sport Games are different from rowing-only events. Allison believes that every coach should work to be in positions where they get to observe coaches in other sport contexts. She says, “It is how it deepens our collective experience in sport and what makes it all so incredibly special.”

Allison’s advice to the 2024 BC Summer Games coaches: “Learn from everyone! The coaches, the staff and especially the athletes! Every phase of your development as a coach builds towards the next.”

Currently, Allison is Head Coach of the Varsity Women and Director of Women’s Rowing at Oakland Strokes, a community rowing club in Oakland, California. She has led her team to multiple Youth National Championships, but is most proud of the culture and team enviroment she helps foster within her athletes.

Allison with her son on the water in Oakland.
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