Please tell us a little bit about yourself. 


Hi there!! My name is Alyssa Lamanna and I am currently starting my third year studying Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto! I am currently a research student at a pediatric rehabilitation hospital working in a lab that focuses on improving the accessibility of physical activity for children with disabilities. I have been a supervisor of a summer sports camp, have been a head skating instructor and currently coach multisport classes for children ages 1.5-5 years old.


Growing up, I played a variety of sports that include soccer, swimming, volleyball, gymnastics, basketball, and track and field. My main and competitive sport was ringette, and I played on the provincial ‘A” team for the Markham Bears. Throughout high school I was a part of the varsity girls field hockey team and was grateful to have been the team captain in my senior year. I love running and have participated in the Shoppers Run for Women’s Mental Health for the past three years. Recently I have taken up yoga and kickboxing and have continued playing field hockey in university.


I have received a few awards that include: varsity field hockey MEP, the female fitness award, the fitness leadership award, the athletic inspiration award, and the Michael Carnovale Trustees Award as a model of hope to other students in my classes. I also won the TD Achieve the Dream Scholarship Award which I was able to put towards university.


How has sport helped you be a better leader? 


Being the team captain of the varsity field hockey team pushed me outside my comfort zone and showed me the importance of teamwork. One of my favourite quotes is: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”  Being given this leadership position in sport helped me to become more outgoing, more empathetic and understanding to other’s needs, and more willing to help others grow. It also helped me to become more responsible and independent, as I was responsible for facilitating team warmups and many duties.


Sport has also helped me become a better leader of my own life. Through sport I learned the importance of being physically and mentally healthy and the importance of social bonds/community. All of these things are things that I incorporate into my every day in order to live a healthy life.


What do you do to give back to your sport community? Why is it important? 


I give back to my sport community through coaching skating, multisport classes, ringette camps, through supervising a sports summer camp and through running charity runs. The reason why I stayed in sports growing up and excelled in them was because of some of the phenomenal coaches I had who inspired and motivated me to push myself and be better every single day. This taught me how crucial it is to have positive role models to look up to, especially as a child/young adult. Through coaching, I hope that I can make a difference and inspire others the way that my coaches, teachers and trainers have done for me.

I also am such a strong believer that regardless of your position – athlete, coach, trainer, parent – where there is sport there is community, family, and a sense of belonging. Sport was my home away from home and I was always surrounded by constant support for whatever I needed. Sports connect us to something so much greater than the game itself, so no matter how you are involved with it I believe you are part of something so much bigger and are having everlasting impacts on others – even impacts that you don’t even know about! For me, a quote that helps me remember the importance of giving back to sport and inspiring others is: “You can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” Even if it is just one athlete that you reach or inspire, you can change their life forever!


What advice do you have for parents, coaches or sport administrators to encourage or improve sport for females?


One piece of advice I would have would be: do not give up on the athlete when they experience failure. In a world dominated by male sport this is so crucial for female athletes. One quote I live by is: “Starting again is always easier than starting.” I think that giving constructive criticism instead of harsh words in times of failure is key for growth and being able to bounce back from failure.

Failure is a normal part of life and there is no straight path to success. I am also such a strong believer that you are who you surround yourself with, and if a parent or coach does not believe in their athlete, they will not believe in themselves either. This doubt can have a detrimental effect on their sport participation, health, and relationships with others. I was able to excel and continue in sport because of the coaches around me who would work with me (not against me) to give me constructive feedback to become the best athlete I could be. As a coach, I have implemented constructive feedback into my practices and have seen how children flourish when they feel supported, and encourage all parents, coaches and sport administrators to always try and be as supportive as they can be


What is a song that motivates you? 


A song that motivates me is “Going Home” by The Score. It is definitely an energy booster and I always listen to it when I need an extra bit of motivation.