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My Motivation. My Passion. My Story.

Updated: Jan 12, 2018

In 2015, I had decided to stay at Brock University following my undergrad to pursue my masters degree in youth sport coaching for a couple of reasons; the main being that Brock would be resurrecting our men’s volleyball team for when I was going to be in my second and final year of my masters’ program. I coached volleyball for five years with the local organization (since we did not have a men’s team) - picking up numerous experiences, interactions, and life lessons that have led me to working with the club currently today. The most I had played was a couple years of club volleyball as a kid in high school and men’s leagues around Niagara during my undergrad; meaning my route to being a varsity athlete was not what you would call the “common” journey.

Where it Began

It was February 2016 when I found myself standing in the Bob Davis Gymnasium (Varsity Gym) on a Friday morning. There was no one in the gym, no equipment or nets set up, and the bleachers were fully pulled out (I’m sure there was an event going on that night/weekend). I walked into the gym and knew that the volleyball team was coming in just over a year and a half. I was hungry to play. It was driving me nuts with the thought of being on a varsity team; something that most University students don’t get the chance to be a part of in their time as a post-secondary student.

I walked over to the baseline line of the volleyball court, looked up at the score board and the Canadian flag hanging on the wall, and smiled. That day, I promised myself that I would do whatever needed to be done - however I needed to push myself – to be standing on that base line with the team on home opening night. I looked around ... saw the pulled-out bleachers that would be full of people; the cheering, the atmosphere, the culture. I wanted all of it.

I immediately set goals for myself both short (monthly) and long (year) term goals. I amplified my personal motivation and believed in a system where it was one day at a time and had to buy into the process and mindset of success. Some days were tough, some easy, and some so motivating that I had to take time to relax and enjoy the moment a bit more. I worked hard. I saw gradual improvements over time - the feeling of small successes kept pushing me forward towards the first day of tryouts.

Ultimately, I lost almost 40 pounds, spent almost every day on court or in the gym working out, and established myself on the roster as not only a starter, but the captain of the team in our inaugural return to the OUA (Ontario University Athletics) and U Sport conference. The work had been put in and I was firing on all cylinders - athletically and academically.

The Result

Opening night: Friday, November 25th, 2016 - a night that included over 1000 in attendance, my closest friends, young athletes that I coached during my years in school, and, most importantly, my parents; watching me play competitive sport for the first time in almost eight years. As the national anthem began to play, all I could do was look up and smile. To take in the moment, the experience, and what hard work can get you in life. The realization that a year and a half ago I was standing in this exact spot in an open, silent gym - you can't make up these moments.

Moving ahead to my senior’s night and final game - a night I will never forget. As they recognized myself and four of my teammates and the national anthem began to play, I looked at the ground where I stood almost two years prior and could not contain my excitement. I was almost in a state of shock that my dream had come full circle. As soon as the final point ended the game, I shook hands, spoke with the team, then made my way over to my parents – where I immediately burst into tears when hugging my mom. The feeling of hard work, of passion, of what it truly meant to achieve a goal you set two years prior swept and took over my emotions. To this day I couldn’t tell you what the power of sport and goal setting meant without telling this story and reflecting on a journey I went through to get the chance to pursue something I truly wanted.

Niagara Youth Life Coaching

Niagara Youth Life Coaching is focused on working with kids to encourage personal motivations, self-confidence, life skills, athletic performance, and overall youth development; as it is a career that I truly have a passion for day in and day out. Those who care about their clients invest their time, their passion, and their best intentions to see others around them succeed; in all environments.

This program covers children engaged within and out of a sport sporting context. Motivation, social skills, leadership development, and life skills such as time management and mental toughness are all part of growing up. Life coaching does not always mean kids are in trouble or struggling - many kids are just looking for ways to get from GOOD to GREAT!

Why do I Love What I do?

As a life coach – I guide my clients to identify their strengths and the future, not weaknesses and the past. It is a commitment to forward thinking and forward actions. They learn to build confidence and social skills. They get the opportunity to talk about difficult subjects, such as bullying and social inclusion. They will leave with a new sense of motivation and boost of inspiration. There is no one cookie cutter approach – every single kid is different with unique experiences, motivations, and goals; something that makes working with them all amazing!!

If you are interested in more information, the program itself, or wanting your child to share their story, visit the contact page and let's get started!

Thanks for reading!

Matthew Ragogna

Certified Life Coach

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