FOUNDER OF PODIUM PERFORMANCE TRAINING
INTEGRATED SUPPORT TEAM - STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING
Bachelor of Physical Education and Recreation - Coaching Studies Specialization (University of Alberta)
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (National Strength and Conditioning Association)
Certified Personal Trainer (Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology)
NCCP Level 2/Provincially Certified Coach (Skate Canada)
Sara Knowles is a program, performance and off-ice training specialist – she focuses on helping skaters train the body to maximize it’s on-ice potential as well as increase their program component and grade of execution marks. In 2013 she graduated from the University of Alberta’s coaching program where she mentored at the Royal Glenora Club for 3 seasons under numerous national and international coaches. Through her education Sara was also able to become both a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist; this began the start of a journey of studying not only the fitness requirements of the sport of skating, but also how to achieve them and avoid injury in the process.
Upon graduation she travelled to Uppsala, Sweden to coach both competitive and recreational skaters on a full time basis. She oversaw the off-ice training and planning of a multitude of skaters at various levels, as well as learning the European methodology of training. The unique blend of North American and European training styles in the small Swedish club saw a horde of personal bests, sectional championship winners in both StarSkate and Competitive, and a qualification to the National Championships in only 18 months.
Determined to bring the best parts of European training back to Canada, Sara returned to Alberta in 2015 with a new outlook. She noticed one of the biggest differences of training in Europe was the importance of off-ice training from the moment the helmet is removed; off-ice warm ups, cool downs, fitness assessments and training classes are mandatory - not a suggestion. Sara believes that this major difference allows for skaters to progress faster, have fewer injuries and ultimately stay in the sport longer.
Through these experiences the idea of Podium Performance Training was born – to give skaters access and an opportunity to participate in functional off-ice training programs at any level. She hopes it will become a national leader in off-ice training and standards, and through the use of the Integrated Support Team provide a complete toolkit of resources for the skating body to achieve a Podium Performance.
INTEGRATED SUPPORT TEAM - SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY
Bachelor of Science - Psychology Specialization & Industrial Internship (University of Alberta)
Master of Science - Counselling Psychology (University of Calgary)
Canadian Certified Counsellor (Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association)
Provisional Registered Psychologist (College of Alberta Psychologists)
Lauren is committed to ensuring that athletes have superior mental skills training and psychological supports throughout their journey in sport and into athletic retirement. As a Skate Canada Quadruple Gold Test Recipient and Skate Canada Certified Provincial Coach (formerly NCCP Level 2), Lauren has led skaters to pass hundreds of Skate Canada tests and earn numerous regional medals.
In addition to over 10 years of experience as a figure skating coach across Alberta, Lauren also holds a Bachelor of Science degree with Psychology Specialization and a Master of Science degree in Counselling Psychology. She is recognized by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association as a Canadian Certified Counsellor and by the College of Alberta Psychologists as a Provisional Registered Psychologist. Currently, Lauren is continuing to advance her education and is pursuing her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counselling Psychology. Her research at both the Masters and doctoral level has focused on the athletic career transition experiences of elite athletes and has been presented to researchers and practitioners at events including the Canadian Psychological Association Conference, the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association Conference, the CANNEXUS Career Development Conference, and the Canadian Mental Health Association Conference.
With her combination of education and experience in the figure skating world, Lauren has developed and facilitated mental skills training seminars specifically for figure skating athletes. Lauren provides a very unique blend of skating, coaching, and psychological expertise and is committed to helping each individual athlete find the psychological strategies and mental skills that maximize their success as an athlete and as a person.