ABOUT US

We are a group of passionate coaches and athletes who push for the betterment of sport, sports coaching, athlete success, health, and longevity.

OUR MISSION

To enhance performance and prevent injuries through quality, accessible and affordable education. We are here to help.

VISION

Help every athlete and every coach, in every sport, to achieve their full potential.

VALUES

We value the health and longevity of athletes.
We believe that all coaches and athletes should have access to practical mental training tools.
We care about improving performance while keeping athletes from getting hurt so that they always have the chance to perform.

OUR STORY

HeadStartPro began teaching athletes and coaches to prevent injuries with the SafeStart program in 2012. We delivered coach and athlete workshops in classroom settings to thousands of athletes. After working with a key group of teams and sports academies we recorded some impressive results. Organizations were reducing injuries between 30%-80% in the years they did the training.

HeadStartPro’s transition to performance-based training is the result of feedback we received from the teams we worked with. We discovered that the same critical errors causing injuries were also affecting athletic performance. We also learned that performance is a much better motivator for athletes than safety, especially if they’ve never been badly hurt. If the cause of a performance error or injury is the same, and we address performance first, injury reduction will follow. 

We found that teams often don’t have access to a classroom and getting groups together for additional training sessions can be a logistical nightmare for coaches. So our big question became: how can we make this training accessible to coaches and athletes everywhere? The answer is HeadStartPro’s online courses.

Our shift to providing online courses makes the HeadStartPro concepts, tools, and techniques accessible for coaches and athletes everywhere. There’s no travel time, no need to organize a classroom, and no need to take time away from practicing your sport. Coaches and athletes can learn on their own time so that when they come to practices, games or competitions, they have a common vocabulary and shared skills to enhance performance and prevent injuries. 

HeadStartPro’s online course launched in the Fall of 2018. Check out the online course or book our team for an in-person workshop.

OUR TEAM

The HeadStartPro team is a group of passionate coaches and athletes who are pushing for the betterment of sport, sports coaching, athlete success, health, and longevity. Our programs are designed to help individuals and teams to take their careers to the next level.

Book our expert coaching team for
in-person workshops and training!

MIKE SHAW

Co-Founder & HeadStartPro Coach

Mike Shaw, a UBC Okanagan alumni and national-level coach, comes to HeadStartPro from a decorated career in freestyle skiing. Following a severe skiing accident in 2013, Mike had to leave the sport he loved. Giving up his passion was difficult, but Mike picked himself up, and now takes what he’s learned from trauma to make a difference and help others.

Mike’s a subject matter expert in performance coaching and injury prevention. He’s developed strategies to help people achieve their full potential and excel in the face of adversity. He’s made it his mission to inspire others to take action and achieve their full potential with HeadStartPro.

In 2015, Mike was the Gert Vorsteher Memorial Award recipient. He has a unique story of human triumph that embodies resilience in its purest form. In his talks and workshops, he shares a gracious perspective that will motivate you and leave you with an unforgettable learning experience. 

Learn more about Mike in Red Bull TV’s documentary film: Mike Shaw The Healing Agent, or watch his TEDx talk called: “Grief Happens.”

HUNTER VISSER

Co-Founder & HeadStartPro Coach

Hunter Visser is a former World Cup Halfpipe skier who came to the world of performance and safety-education after sustaining a career-ending concussion. Since retiring from skiing competitively, Hunter has spent his time developing performance and safety curriculum for athletes and students of all ages. He indeed is a HeadStart mastermind and has a knack for connecting ideas in a relatable way.

Hunter began learning about mental focus and the importance of presence-of-mind as a high-performance athlete. After sustaining multiple severe injuries during his skiing career, Hunter understands what it takes to ‘bounce back’ and how important it is to keep focused in the moment to prevent an accident. He now empowers athletes to keep their minds on task at any given moment to improve performance and safety.

Hunter is no stranger to the front of the classroom or the stage with international speaking experience. In his spare time, he finds himself at home in the mountains, on his skis, mountain bike or snowmobile. As an avid yogi and musician, Hunter uses HeadStart as a simple tool to share his passion for mindfulness with coaches and athletes.

CAM SMITH

Co-Founder & HeadStartPro Coach

Before the evolution of HeadStartPro, Cameron started working for SafeStart Education & Athletics three years ago. He began his journey working in sports safety after searching for answers to help improve his own abilities. Being a multi-sport athlete, playing high-level hockey, soccer, rugby, MTN biking and a career as a professional freestyle skier, Cameron has garnered techniques to perform acutely at both a physical and mental level in various circumstances.

In the creation of HeadStartPro, he’s worked with numerous athletes to gain knowledge of the types errors they make and how they can prevent the mistakes from ever happening in the first place. Still competing in freeskiing events and shooting for videos and magazines, Cameron doesn’t just study the concepts behind improving performance and preventing injury; he lives it.

With a passion for sports psychology, Cameron seeks to change the game and provide accessible training for athletes everywhere at every level. Cameron has based his home in Squamish, BC where he is adventuring throughout the Lower Mainland or working directly with teams across Canada.

LARRY WILSON

Co-Founder & President

Larry began his career as a behavior-based safety consultant when he was 28, which did not help his credibility, but being so young did help in terms of getting people to tell the truth about their injuries and whether they were paying attention or not.

Getting people comfortable enough to talk about what really happened and to say whether rushing frustration, fatigue, and complacency were involved was the key in developing what Larry is probably best known for: being the author and creator of SafeStart, an advanced safety awareness training program currently being used by over 4 million employees in 65 countries. 

In the world of sports safety, SafeStart has evolved to HeadStartPro based on feedback from thousands of athletes. Feedback was consistent that the desired application for performance improvement trumped safety. In Larry’s mind, if the athletes are using it to improve performance they’ll get the safety benefit anyway.

Even after 30 years in the safety industry, Larry is still pushing the edge. His latest training programs take the concepts and critical error reduction techniques and extend them into the realm of performance. If successful, he predicts that this will dramatically improve voluntary support for safety in industry, sport, and education, at a rapid pace.

CAM MCGEOUGH

Creative Lead & Website Developer

Cam is the most recent addition to the HeadStartPro team. With a background in web, user experience, and graphic design, Cam plays a vital role in bringing HeadStartPro Performance Training into the digital world—making performance and injury prevention available to the masses. As Cam was the second “Cameron” to join the team, he has aptly embraced the nickname “WebCam.”

Cam is an avid snowboarder and has had plenty of first-hand experience with sports-related injury. Fortunately, Cam was introduced to the HeadStartPro model for performance and safety education, and has been able to apply it, not just to sport, but to business performance as well. With a few entrepreneurial and tech start-ups under his belt, Cam can vouch for the efficacy of HeadStartPro’s theory for critical thinking, creativity and productivity in his work. 

AUSTIN COLL

Graphic Designer

Austin comes to HeadStartPro from the Information Design Degree Program at Mount Royal University in Calgary, AB. He brings a variety of experience to his role as HeadStartPro’s graphic designer. In addition to his education, his experience as a freestyle skier and coach has taught him the importance of performance education and injury-prevention for success in sport. 

During his career as a slopestyle skiing athlete Austin competed at the national-level before suffering a number of injuries, cutting his athletic career short. Despite his injuries, Austin’s passion for skiing helped him forge a new path as a coach for his former ski team. Austin continues to foster a fun and focused environment for his athletes and brings that same energy to HeadStartPro.  

Austin’s passion for sports coaching and design motivates him to create information products that will affect positive change in the sporting world. His combined knowledge of UX design, usability, and information architecture enable HeadStartPro to deliver content in the most engaging and user-friendly formats.

ADVISORY BOARD

John Coleman, PhD

Sports Psychology Consultant & High-Performance Coach

John is a wellness and high-performance coach specializing in opening pathways to personal evolution. He joins HeadStartPro with over ten years of experience as a professional mental training consultant supporting athletes, business professionals, artists, and healthcare practitioners to unleash their dormant potential. 

John is currently the lead mental performance consultant for a number of Canadian Olympic and Paralympic teams (biathlon, cross-country, track and field, paralpine skiing), he has worked with a number of professional athletes, and is often sought after by business groups. John’s professional service has contributed to Canadian athletes winning over 60 medals at the international level of competition (Olympic and Paralympic Games, World Championships, and World Cups for various sports). 

John is also an artist sharing his love for nature and connection with wild spaces through detailed ink illustrations. Moving in nature is a must for John whether freeskiing, surfing, slacklining, or hiking. John’s doctorate project received a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for the progressive contributions his work made to the field of human performance enhancement.

David Threlfall

Pedagogy, Learning Design, & Content Expert

David Threlfall (M.Ed. in Educational Media from Temple University, Philadelphia, PA) is a welcomed addition to the HeadStartPro advisory board. He has been helping clients solve their training needs for over 30 years. Past clients have included API University, BASF, Campbell Soup Company, General Electric, GM Training, Hughes Aircraft, International Isocyanate Institute and Sun Company, Inc. Working with subject matter experts and employing sound instructional design techniques, David has prepared video scripts, workbooks, employee handouts and interactive learning modules on various health and safety (hearing conservation, bloodborne pathogens, ergonomics, hazard communication, RF radiation, etc.), environmental (RCRA, TSCA, transportation of hazardous materials, etc.) and industrial operations (industrial controls, maintenance, combustion turbine operations, etc.) training projects.

David was involved in editing the workbooks of the original five-unit SafeStart course. Since 2008, he has worked with Larry Wilson in revising the original course, editing new units to increase the depth of the curriculum and expanding the target audience for the SafeStart concepts and techniques. His depth of knowledge of the concepts used in HeadStartPro has made him an invaluable asset to the HeadStartPro team and their efforts to develop efficacious mental training solutions for coaches and athletes.

PAUL ARMSTRONG

U Sports Coach & Senior Development Officer

Paul has been a fixture in the Ottawa basketball community for over forty years. As a Carleton Ravens player, and teammate of Larry Wilson, Paul was a three-time OUA (then OUAA) All-Star and a member of the Canadian National Team in 1977. During his time coaching the men’s Ravens squad, Paul was a two-time OUA Coach of the Year and took the Ravens to the National Championships in 1988. Paul is an NCCP level three certified coach and was a long-time NCCP level one and two basketball course conductor. After leaving his position as head coach of the Ravens, Paul got involved in local club basketball as the technical director of the Ottawa Shooting Stars from 2003-2015.

Paul is a decorated U Sports coach and continues to take an interest in all aspects of coaching, including injury prevention. When Paul approached Larry about supporting Carleton’s men’s basketball team in 2013, it proved to be a watershed moment for both the Ravens and for Larry. The Ravens players began training with the HeadStartPro concepts (then SafeStart Athletics), focusing primarily on injury prevention and, in those training sessions, the HeadStartPro team began to delve further into the crossover between safety training and high-performance sport. Five years later, the safety and performance gap has diminished and evolved into the HeadStartPro program.

Paul is currently the Senior Development Officer for the Department of Recreation & Athletics at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He has been pivotal in the evolution of HeadStartPro from an athlete safety training program to a performance-driven mental training program that achieves injury-prevention results.

ATHLETE AMBASSADORS

Zachary Moxley

Adventurer & Cinematographer

At 21 years old, Zachary already has over a decade of experience behind the lens of a camera. After picking up his first camera at age 11 in his native Whistler, BC, Zachary sought to capture the scenic landscapes and gravity defying stunts performed around him by professional athletes and friends. Zachary’s early experience shooting professional freestyle skiers in front of the scenic BC backdrop led to the evolution of his trademark, vivid, west-coast style.

As an adventure seeker and world traveler, you might find Zachary skydiving off the coast of California, snorkeling with whale sharks in the Philippines, sandboarding the dunes of Peru, or hiking mountains on the Faroe Islands. His passion for visual storytelling and pushing the boundaries of traditional media with drone imagery and video has allowed him to create truly unique content. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself captivated while scrolling his astonishing instagram feed (@downtofilm).

Zachary uses the HeadStartPro concepts and techniques to improve his attention control while working on various film projects, but perhaps most importantly, Zachary uses HeadStartPro while Skydiving. According to Zac, “In the adrenaline seeking sport of skydiving, our minds must always be performing at their peak. The knowledge gained from Headstartpro has kept me sharp and helped me stay out of the line-of-fire in close call scenarios. I believe with these tools, I will continue to jump out of planes and avoid any drastic scenarios.

Cassie Sharpe

Halfpipe Skier & Olympic Gold Medalist

Cassie Sharpe is a professional skier and Olympic gold medalist from Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. In 2018 Cassie achieved a life-long dream when she qualified to represent Canada in the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Cassie worked tirelessly leading up to the Olympics to perfect her hardest trick, the cork 1080. Her blood, sweat, and tears that went into the 1080 paid off. During Cassie’s third and final run in the 2018 Olympic Games she stomped the landing! 

Cassie won the Olympics in thanks to the time and energy on the mountain but also to all the mental training and psychological preparation. In Cassie’s words, “split second decisions make the difference.” Cassie knows the value of mental training and mental preparation for elite performances. She joins HeadStartPro as an ambassador to help other athletes hone their mental game and achieve peak performances. 

Cassie actively works to support athletes in a variety of sports by speaking to large audiences, inspiring future champions. She enjoys meeting people she’s reached through her Olympic experience and hearing their stories. With HeadStartPro, Cassie is confident that she will continue to achieve her goals and push her personal limits, getting out of her comfort zone.

  • 2018 Olympic Gold MedallisT
  • 2016 X Games Olso, Norway, Gold Medallist
  • 2015 FIS World Championship Silver Medallist
  • 2015 Tignes FIS World Cup Gold Medalist

Kaza Keane

Carleton Ravens Athlete of the Year, Team Canada, & Raptors 905 Guard

Kaza Keane’s athletic career is a product of what happens when dedication, hard work and talent meet. He worked his way up through the ranks in Canadian basketball, getting his start in his hometown, Ajax Ontario. At just 24 years old, he’s had an impressive playing career with highlights that include: playing on the Canadian National Team, two national championship titles while playing for Carleton University, and being named Carleton Raven’s Athlete of The Year. His professional career started with the Raptors 905 team in the NBA G League and his current position playing pro ball for the Landstede Basketball Club in Zwolle, Holland.

When Kaza took the HeadStartPro course, he found himself making vast improvements on and off the court.

“I had times where I would be fatigued, complacent or even frustrated and it greatly hindered my development. Complacency, fatigue, and frustration would distract me from completely retaining information from others or even from my body in regards to how I could be improving. I now find myself using many methods HeadStartPro has taught me in my daily life as an athlete. I am far from perfect and therefore keep catching small errors, but without HeadStartPro I truly believe I would not be the professional athlete I am today.

Career Highlights:

  • 2 x USPORTS National Champion 2015- 2016, 2016-2017
  • Winning the Jack Donohue Trophy, as MVP of the 2017 U SPORTS Final 8 Tournament
  • Carleton’s Male Athlete of the Year Award, 2016-2017
  • Toronto Raptors Development Team 2017-2018
  • Team Canada Senior Men’s National Team 2017 – Current