OTTAWA- Phil Tomlinson (Trois Riviéres, QC) has joined an exclusive club in Canada by becoming only the second baseball coach in the country to achieve Level 5 certification. The 31 year-old joins Baseball Canada’s Manager of Baseball Operations, André Lachance (Québec City, QC) as the only Level 5 coaches in Canada.
“Phil has demonstrated exceptional focus, work ethic and desire required to achieve this certification,” says Lachance. “His ability to complete all of the mandatory courses while carrying on with other aspects of life will serve him well as his coaching career progresses.”
The process took Tomlinson over three years to complete which involved waking up at 5am and making the one and a half hour drive from his home in Trois-Riviéres to the Olympic Stadium in Montréal twice a week.
“The biggest challenge was the time commitment,” said Tomlinson. “Along with my own business and family life you need to patient because it is a lot of work.”
Tomlinson’s business is operating a ‘Sport Etudes” program at Lafleche College in Trois-Riviéres where student athletes have the opportunity to combine academics while playing baseball at an elite level. Four years ago, the program began in collaboration with a new indoor baseball facilities built in Trois-Riviéres which gave the program a year-round training home. Today, the program includes high school and CEGEP players, a girl’s program and a brand new sports program for elementary school children.
“We have 200- 300 kids that go through the baseball school each year,” added Tomlinson.
Tomlinson first became interested in coaching after his college playing career ended. He then decided that he wanted to get ‘sport specific’ training in baseball and knew who to contact right away.
“I contacted André Lachance because I knew he had gone through the certification process. Throughout the process André was always available to help me with any questions that I had.”
The relationship with Lachance grew to a point where Lachance invited Tomlinson to be a guest coach with the Women’s National Team in 2005.
“When André asked me to be a guest coach I said yes right away,” said Tomlinson. “I jumped at the chance to represent my country and wearing the Canada jersey was a great experience.”
Tomlinson’s involvement with Baseball Canada and the National Team’s took another positive step when he was invited by Greg Hamilton (Ottawa, ON) to be a coach with the Junior National Team. Tomlinson was involved in a two year cycle (2008-2010) with the program culminating with a 4th place finish at the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championships in Thunder Bay. The opportunity to work with the best players in Canada and learn from Hamilton was an invaluable experience for Tomlinson and something that has changed him as a coach.
“He taught me a lot and I’m a better coach because of it,” said Tomlinson of working alongside Hamilton. “Baseball-wise, coaching with the Junior National Team was the best experience of my life!”
When Tomlinson is asked what his plans are for future coaching endeavours and what his new certification might afford him, he says he’s open to anything but it must be the right opportunity.
“I’m always looking for new goals that will advance my career,” continued Tomlinson. “It would have to be the right fit for me and my family, but I’d like to see where coaching could take me.”