Schmidt is a native of Beaverlodge, Alberta and comes to SFU after five years as the top assistant coach for the University of Montana Grizzlies. She was also the Grizzlies recruiting coordinator. In her five years at Montana, she helped the Grizzlies to a 45-35 record in league games and three Big Sky Conference tournament appearances. Prior to joining the Grizzlies, Schmidt played professionally in Europe for six years in top divisions in France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, and Finland. She played both as a hitter and a setter during her professional career.
Gina was good enough to sit down with Winthrop’s managing editor, Ryan Matthews, to discuss positivity, work-life balance, and opponent scouting, in addition to the success she and the Simon Fraser have had on the on the court.
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What advice would you give to a talented young person interested in coaching that you wish someone had given you before you started coaching?
I was lucky to have several coaches as friends and mentors growing up and they all painted a very realistic picture of the coaching profession for me. So far, everything they told me has been 100% accurate. I think the most important thing for any coach is maintaining balance in life. Coaching can be a very consuming profession with the long hours and all the travel. To avoid burnout, it is vital to put aside time for family, friends, and yourself each day.
How would you describe your coaching philosophy in a sentence?
My goal is to provide a positive learning environment that inspires and empowers athletes to pursue excellence on a daily basis, while developing the skills and confidence to reach their full potential both on the court and in life.
What has been the most critical decision you’ve been responsible for?
Deciding who I want to be part of our program, in terms of both players and staff. Making cuts or letting go of an assistant coach is the toughest part of my job, but it is a necessary reality when rebuilding a program and/or trying to create a new team culture.
How has more information/data helped achieve strategic goals and helped you in your role as a coach?
I like statistics and believe they are a valuable evaluation tool in determining the strengths and weaknesses of our team. I also believe that opponent scouting has become much easier with the growth of online video sharing and editing programs. But it still comes down to how one uses all of this information and data to their benefit that really counts.
What is the aspect of your work that you’re most proud of?
I like to believe that it is being a positive role model to my players. I hope my athletes leave our program knowing what it means to act with class, treat others with respect, be accountable, and demonstrate a competitive spirit because it is skills like these that will allow them to be successful long after their playing days are done.