Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! I am Chynna Ho-Young Cadogan and I am currently an assistant coach for East York’s Competitive girls under 10 team. I have been coaching these girls since May and I have been loving every moment of it. To see the passion and love that these girls have for the sport is not only inspiring for myself but also a motivator for me to give my 110% every time I step on the pitch. I am also a wellness coach for Mission Elite which supports professional tennis players, NCAA and OUA athletes and up and coming elite youth tennis players. As their wellness coach, I help bring a holistic way of helping athletes get 1% better so that they can optimize their performance on the court and in their lives. A bit on my background, I graduated from York University in Psychology and Kinesiology and recently graduated from Humber College in Wellness coaching and hope to continue my education with a master’s degree in Sports Psychology. During my undergraduate degree at York, I played for the Varsity Women’s soccer team, a great memory was when we won the OUA championships in 2019. I’ve played soccer ever since I was 3 years old, and always found the value in team sports and being a leader in my own way. When it came to being a leader, I found that the most important thing is to be your authentic self and let your actions on and off the field speak for themselves. I went to Monarch Park High School where I was Junior female athlete of the year and 2x Senior athlete of the year, I also played, ice hockey, volleyball, basketball, and even swimming, I loved trying new things and pushing myself in different ways! Some of my interests include training my body and mind, as I will always consider myself an athlete, reading a good book, and spending time with my loved ones. I am passionate about female empowerment, and psychological safety in our sports environments as I integrate my passion for sport psychology into the work I do. I am in the final stages of publishing a book that I am co-authoring with Sophie Lazarou, an amazing certified Life coach here in Toronto, called ‘I Am Brave and I Know It’ this book was created with 12-17-year-old’s in mind. It explores the meaning of bravery and how we can recognize that we all are brave in our own ways. Look for it on Friesen Press, coming this fall!
What is an issue or topic you are passionate about or would like to see changed?
A topic that I am passionate about is athlete mental well-being, I feel that there needs to be more support for the mental and psychological side of the athlete, especially injured athletes. When athletes feel valued and supported, they flourish. That is why I am passionate about athletes’ mental well-being as it can help athletes discover their strengths, aid in psychological recovery from injury and helps athletes reignite their motivation and rekindle the meaning of sport to them. After having to end my playing career due to concussions, finding meaning after the sport was and still is a challenge. But it also gave me the choice to become observant and see where I can make a change in the sports environment. Creating environments where athletes feel safe, mentally, physically and psychologically can greatly impact their performance and enjoyment of the sport. As a coach, this gives me a great opportunity to impact the lives of young girls so that they feel supported, safe and inspired to achieve their goals. By checking in on my athletes before every practice, and being aware of their concerns, emotions and energy levels I can create a meaningful experience where they can develop as players, enjoy the sport and also be leaders themselves!
What specific strategies would you like to see parents, coaches or sport administrators do to improve diversity in sport or progress your cause?
I would like to see more education, and training around the importance of mental training, and athlete mental well-being. The mind is a powerful thing and can be used to help an athlete in many ways, we often forget how powerful we really are! I encourage and challenge institutions to think of their athletes as people before the athlete, and have systems in place for athletes’ mental-wellbeing that are supported, funded and made a normal part of the institutions’ culture. When we normalize psychological safety and view athletes as holistic beings, we can create a meaningful impact on their lives and further deepen the athlete’s connection to the team/institution, dedication and love for the sport.
The parents at East York are wonderful, supportive and invested in the culture that my head coach and I are creating for this team. From my time coaching this team, I have seen great elements that the parents bring that only support their daughter’s mental well-being and psychological safety. Whether that’s cheering them on from the sidelines or asking self-reflective and engaging questions after practice, it all makes a difference.
What is your favourite leadership quote?
My favourite quote is: “Not all those who wander are lost” said by the one and only Gandalf the Gray from the Lord of the Rings books. Fun fact I also have it tattooed on my arm in Elvish! This quote is not directly related to sports but it is my favourite quote and has had the biggest impact on my life. We all move at different paces in our lives, as our lives may look different for our friends, teammates and others but that doesn’t mean that you are less deserving and that you are not capable of achieving greatness. Follow your path, stay true to yourself, enjoy the journey and trust yourself.
If you had 25 words worth of advice to share, what would you say?
“Never let the word “No” stop you from achieving your goals, when things don’t go your way, reflect, reset, and go again.”