Behind the Podium with Erin O'Rourke
Fueled by her appetite for growth, CSI Atlantic’s Strength and Conditioning Coach Erin O’Rourke’s discipline and commitment to supporting her athletes is helping nurture their improvement at CSI Atlantic.
Born and raised in Tantallon, N.S., O’Rourke’s mother implored her to participate in sports early on. By grade five O’Rourke had found her sport for life, basketball, where she began developing friendships as well as discovering some prominent female role models in sport. Inspired by her grade 10 coach and Canadian women’s basketball star Kia Nurse, O’Rourke hunger for challenge and self improvement was well underway.
When it became time to move on to university, not only did she accept a scholarship to play on the Dalhousie women’s varsity basketball team in 2015, but she elected to undertake a degree that was heavily influenced by her love for sport. Enrolling in the university's Bachelor of Kinesiology and Exercise Science program, O’Rourke knew her excitement and sheer passion for sport could extend into a fulfilling career for her.
As she wrapped up her four years at Dalhousie and her career as a Tiger in 2019, O’Rourke found herself working for ProEdge Sports as a Strength and Conditioning coach. Here she gained valuable experience in her field of choice and got her certification as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. In 2020 O’Rourke began an internship with Dalhousie as the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the university’s varsity athletes. As a postgraduate, O’Rourke was working hard and putting in the time all over the HRM. “I want to do everything that I can,” says O’Rourke, “getting as much experience as I can and taking any opportunity to learn and get better.” She held additional positions with Accel Physiotherapy and Sport Performance Centre as a Student Athletic Trainer and with Fusion Athletics as a Strength and Conditioning coach with their hockey team, filling out her already impressive resume with exceptional experience.
Always keeping an eye out for an opportunity to get better, O’Rourke was intrigued by an opportunity brought to her attention by, now fellow Strength and Conditioning Coach, CSI Atlantic’s very own, Travis Dorsey. “What stood out to me about Erin was her willingness to keep learning,” says Dorsey, “Erin is a very eager individual who wants to keep growing.” Interested by CSI Atlantic’s unique services, the decision to apply was easy for her, “CSI Atlantic offers a multi disciplinary approach that very few organizations do,” says O’Rourke.
Now a full year into her role at CSI Atlantic, O’Rourke is coaching athletes in curling, freestyle skiing, snowboarding and more, watching them succeed in the gym and in their respective sports. But O’Rourke’s encouragement is not confined to the walls of the CSI Atlantic gym in the Canada Games Centre. Nothing makes her feel more accomplished than seeing her athletes succeed, “being a part of their journey makes me feel so proud, I love supporting them all,” says O’Rourke.
While freestyle skier Malcolm Farris was racing downhill during the big air event at the 2023 Canada Games in Prince Edward Island, O’Rourke was jumping off of her couch with excitement as he squeaked out a buzzer beating bronze medal. Working with O’Rourke for nearly a year now, Farris is appreciative of her commitment to supporting their development of her athletes. “She is fun to work with and good at making the training enjoyable, but also makes sure we are putting in the work,” says Farris, who also took home a gold medal at nationals. Whether it’s demonstrating their exercises carefully and concisely or letting the athletes be the DJ on the speaker, Farris believes her coaching style has been effective in his development. “I like how she is always willing to help us get better—Erin has definitely helped me in getting closer to my goals,” says Farris.
O’Rourke‘s impact on her athletes is apparent and can be largely attributed to her dedication to self improvement. Along with her role at CSI Atlantic she also holds positions with Quantum Fitness, Saint Mary’s University varsity soccer teams and New Gen Hockey as a Strength and Conditioning Coach, where O’Rourke is constantly honing her skills. “I always say at the end of the day, the hard work will pay off, put in the work and it will pay off,” says O’Rourke, “to continue to develop my athletes, I want to better myself to better them.” According to her, there is no shortage of inspiration around the CSI Atlantic office for her to strive to get better. “Seeing how great my colleagues are, watching them and their intelligence excel, I’m inspired by them,” says O’Rourke, “I want to grow here.”
As her infectious coaching style continues to make an impact at CSI Atlantic, O’Rourke’s commitment to growth and discipline is leaving a positive influence on the development of her athletes in their pursuit of greatness.