Mapping a Future in Coaching

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Claire-Louise Bode appreciates the convenience and flexibility of Ohio University’s online MCE program.

A spatial analyst combines data and measurements to find exact locations for placements on a map. Often used in geographical planning, spatial analysis involves scrutinizing the characteristics of, and relationships between, places — for instance, high crime areas in a city or locations prone to auto accidents. The results can be used to address a range of complex issues.

When spatial analyst Claire-Louise Bode decided that she wanted to make a career change and focus on coaching, of course she thoroughly mapped out all of her options. And the option she found to be the best fit was a Master of Coaching Education (MCE) from Ohio University.

Originally from South Africa, Bode was recruited in 2010 by Ohio State University (OSU) to join the school’s rowing team. During her time there, she earned a bachelor’s degree in climatology. After graduation, she pursued a master’s in applied science at the University of Louisville (UL). While attending UL, she was a graduate assistant with the rowing team, an experience that made her realize that she had the desire and skills to become a full-time athletics coach.

“In the beginning, it was me just telling people about my experience,” Bode says about her time with the UL team. “And then, at the end, it became, ‘I think I’m actually good at this.’ And ‘I can see that I’m starting to make a little bit of a difference.’

“I could see that some people were starting to have that little bit more of an improvement or that little bit more of a lightbulb moment as I was working with them.”

When her job as a spatial analyst led her back to Columbus, OH, Bode followed her passion for coaching and signed as a volunteer coach with the OSU rowing team. And as if her day was not full enough, she enrolled in the MCE program at Ohio University.

“There have been no downsides besides me having a full-time job and coaching and doing school at the same time,” jokes Bode.

Bode is quick to mention that the convenience of the online MCE program makes working toward her degree manageable, despite her packed schedule. The flexibility of scheduling classes and workload around everyday life is all about being able to pick your best time to get work done, according to Bode.

“I know there’s still deadlines for projects and stuff, but you can plan your day a little bit better,” she says.

Bode’s current job requires her to travel a little, and she also makes trips home for special occasions. Ohio University’s online format helps her meet these travel needs and still work toward her degree.

“Being able to access it from anywhere is probably the best thing ever because I went home for two weeks at the beginning of the year,” says Bode. “It’s not like I could go to campus, but I could open up my computer and get online and see what I needed to do. So that’s a very good thing about it.”

She also sees the faculty’s diversity of experiences as a positive. “They’re all from this wide variety of backgrounds,” says Bode. “No one is just rowing or just rugby or just soccer or just football. Everyone’s a little bit different and they all have had their experiences that everyone gets to share.”

Bode recommends that anyone going into coaching consider pursuing a master’s degree after earning a bachelor’s.

“It’s more streamlined. It’s more to the point,” Bode says of the advanced studies. “You get to interact with professionals who actually do this for their daily lives and they enjoy doing it.

“This is very specific. It’s the classes you want to learn. It’s things that are really interesting. It’s things that you will need to use.”

The lessons Bode is learning from the program are helping her draft her personal strategy for coaching — and the principles she hopes to pass on to her student-athletes.

“I was an elite athlete before I came to Ohio State. I used to row for my country,” says Bode. “I just try to take that elite level and make them understand that no one’s really Superman or Superwoman. It’s just how you approach things a little bit differently. Once you demystify what your sport is actually about and what it takes to actually be the best, it’s no longer a secret.”

Bode hopes to continue to grow her coaching skills as she finishes the program at Ohio University, and hopes she can pass along her drive to succeed to young athletes.

“My coach always used to say, ‘Be excellent,’ meaning, ‘Don’t just apply it to sport or school. Be excellent at home and be excellent in class. Be excellent in training. Be excellent in racing,” says Bode. “That whole coaching philosophy of applied excellence is what I’m going to be running with for the rest of my life. Because if I can be excellent, or at least attempt to be excellent, in every way possible, it will leave little room for error at the end of the day.”

About Ohio University’s Master of Coaching Education (MCE) Online Program

Ohio University’s online Master of Coaching Education program includes curriculum on management, psychology, and leadership. Students are offered the skills and abilities to focus on the future of coaching and develop new competencies.

The program’s convenient online format means students can avoid the career disruptions that may come with a traditional classroom setting. For more information, visit Ohio University’s MCE page.

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