Joel Skinner
High School Teacher

Athletic Background:

Joel attended the University of Windsor and competed on the Varsity Track and Field team.  He won numerous provincial medals and was a part of winning multiple team championships.

Experience in coaching:

Joel is the Head Coach of Sarnia Athletics Track and Field Club and has some of the highest levels of national and global coaching certification available in the sport of track and field .  This includes 
NCCP level 4/5 and IAAF level 5 Jumps and is currently working on attaining level 5 certification in combined events.  Although Joel has coached Corunna, ON native Derek Drouin to a bronze medal at the London Olympic Games, he realizes that he hasn’t even scratched the surface on how much he knows about the sport of Track and Field.  He has branched out with Sarnia Athletics Southwest Track and Field Club in order to create an “Elite” team that he trains with on a continual basis. Currently, this elite group of three athletes are all working hard to live out their Olympic dreams.  Although he has seen success at the elite coaching level, Joel has never stopped passing his knowledge onto all ages of athletes, and still coaches at the High School and the developmental club levels.


EP:  Have you seen any athletes fall through the cracks in the system because of a financial barrier?

Joel:  I have tried my best to not allow that to happen.  I have always attempted to make sure everything will be taken care of in that way.  Not a lot of other coaches have time for that.  I don’t believe it’s as much as the kid making the commitment to coming out and trying the sport, and then quitting because they don’t have the money.  I believe it is more that the kids don’t even try the sport because their parents don’t have the money for them to participate which has just basically been the norm for most of their lives.  The most important fact is that the kids and parents are aware that there is funding available for them to participate in a sport at a young age so that it is just second nature and not something they need to fight for.

EP:  How much of a role do you think that money plays in the participation of youth in sports?

Joel:  It’s all in how you look at it.  It varies with sports and we always say that with Track and Field that all we need is a pair of spikes, but that’s very untrue, when it comes to equipment, travel and other fees.  It plays a massive role and it is all on how you look it, and I think with organizations such as yours, athletes can look more toward excelling in the sport, rather than how they are going to pay for it.

EP:  How accessible are current financial programs for athletes who already participate in a sport, and have the potential to go further in their careers?

Joel:  Accessible is a great word.  It is available, but it’s definitely not accessible.  I coach some of the best athletes in the country, and I have a hard time finding accessible money for them.  There is probably money out there, but nobody knows how to get it-accessibility is key in many different avenues and branches.  Something like hockey costs big bucks and even people who make good money struggle to put their kids through a season.  How about somebody who doesn’t have the money, but possibly does have the talent?  The problem is the kids are never pushed through the camps and teams that allow them to get the opportunity to make it- because they cannot afford it.

EP:  What is the opportunity cost associated with training?  Ie. The amount of money that isn’t earned while training, the social life and other events that you are missing by being an athlete in training.

Joel:  My three elite athletes are lucky to have very flexible jobs that can be modified for their training, but they have to work.  They need to train in the morning, train at night and they can work in between.  I think there is a significant commitment away from work, weekends at meets, training camps, and being away from family at important times of the year.  It is tough.

EP:  Do you think that if we can take away some of the costs associated with training and allow them to eliminate a certain amount of hours that they need to work, will they become better athletes?

Joel:  Absolutely.


The most important fact is that the kids and parents are aware that there is funding available for them to participate in a sport at a young age so that it is just second nature and not something they need to fight for.

Joel Skinner
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