Robert Matte

Déjà à la fin de sa carrière au niveau junior (1971) Robert faisait preuve d’un talent pour analyser les situations et formuler des plans, d’où sa nomination au poste de « conseiller et entraîneur de gardiens de but » auprès des équipes provinciales junior et intermédiaire du Québec participant aux Jeux du Canada de 1973-1977-1981 et de 1985.

 

Il était directement responsable de l’amélioration de la qualité du jeu des gardiens de but ainsi que l’amélioration des performances du Québec aux Jeux du Canada, grimpant du huitième rang en 1973 jusqu’à une médaille d’argent en 1977, une médaille d’or en 1981 et une médaille de bronze en 1985.

Au cours de sa longue carrière d’entraîneur, Robert a colligé et analysé énormément de statistiques sur la crosse parce qu’il croyait que tout plan de jeu stratégique devait reposer sur des faits réels et des données probantes. Son « Livre de jeux » est le meilleur exemple non seulement de la rigueur qu’il apportait à ses analyses mais également de ses talents en tant qu’enseignant.

Durant sa carrière de bâtisseur (entraîneur, mentor et analyste) Robert secondaires, de 1968 à 1970, il a écrit des articles au sujet de la crosse pour le journal hebdomadaire de son école (Collège Brébeuf). Étudiant à l’Université du Québec à Montréal/UQAM) en 1973 et 1974, il a écrit des articles sur l’entraînement physique et la préparation stratégique des équipes. Technicien bénévole au sein de la Fédération de crosse du Québec en 1977 et en 1981, il a rédigé des manuels sur le jeu de gardien de but dans les disciplines de crosse en enclos et d’inter-crosse; il a également écrit un document très technique analysant l’organisation d’une équipe de crosse de haut niveau.

Entre 2001 et 2004, dans son rôle d’entraîneur avec les équipes séniors qui concouraient à l’échelle internationale, il a écrit un « Livre de jeux » présentant ses philosophies du sport ainsi que des descriptions détaillées de jeux et de séquences pour la compétition de haut niveau.

En 2004, il a écrit un document détaillé faisant valoir le besoin de la « meilleure organisation possible » afin d’atteindre le succès aux plus hauts niveaux de la compétition dans le sport de crosse.

En tant que membre du comité technique de l’Association canadienne de crosse, sous la direction du membre du Temple de la renommée Bill McBain, il a rédigé, en 2004, le manuel de l’Association (sport communautaire) portant sur les aspects théoriques et techniques de la discipline d’inter-crosse, destiné à la filière communautaire du Programme national de certification des entraîneurs.

En 2003, en tant que membre du comité technique de la Fédération internationale de la crosse, il a écrit le livre des règlements d’inter-crosse (en anglais) ci-joint.

On pourrait raisonnablement dire que la progression du sport de crosse dans la province du Québec entre 1968 et 2016 se doit largement aux compétences administratives et organisationnelles de Robert Matte. De 1973 à 1980, il a siégé sur le comité technique de la Fédération de crosse du Québec qui a élaboré les règles, les règlements, les procédures, les Sous sa direction, le comité technique a été la pierre angulaire de la progression positive de la crosse au Québec. Tout passait par ce comité, avec Robert comme figure de proue.

En 1973, il a établi la Montreal Lacrosse Association et il a présidé cette organisation pendant 8 ans. Il a introduit le jeu dans le service des sports de la Ville de Montréal et il a veillé à l’allocation des budgets et des ressources techniques pour introduire la crosse et soutenir son développement dans 7 des 25 arénas de la ville.

 

Robert Matte

Immediately after his junior career (1971) Robert’s abilities to analyze situations and to plan accordingly led him to become “goaltender consultant and coach” to the Quebec Provincial Junior and Intermediate Teams involved in the 1973-1977-1981 and 1985 Canada Games.

He was directly responsible for the betterment of the goaltending position and the improvement of Quebec’s performances at the Canada Games; from an 8th position in 1973 Quebec went up to a silver medal in 1977, a gold medal in 1981 and a bronze medal in 1985.

During his lengthy coaching career Robert collected and assessed statistics on everything related to lacrosse as he believed that every strategic game plan had to rest upon verifiable facts and data. His “Team playbook” is the best example of his thoroughness as an analyst and his of talents as a teacher.

Throughout his career as a builder (coach, mentor, analyst) Robert had the opportunity to deliver countless lacrosse clinics and seminars and to produce informative papers, documents, and manuals on lacrosse.

As a collegiate student, from 1968 to 1970, he wrote articles on lacrosse in the school’s weekly newspaper (Brebeuf College). As a university student (Universite du Quebec a Montreal/UQAM), in 1973 and 1974, he wrote lacrosse papers on conditioning, fitness and team strategic preparation.

As volunteer technician for the Quebec Lacrosse Federation, in 1977 and 1981, he wrote manuals on goaltending for both box lacrosse and inter crosse; he also produced a highly detailed technical document on the organization of a lacrosse team involved in high level competition.

Between 2001 and 2004, as a coach for the Quebec and Canadian Senior Inter Crosse Teams involved internationally, he produced a “Game book” which lays out his philosophical beliefs and detailed patterns and plays for high level competition. In 2004 he wrote a detailed document explaining the need for “the best possible organization” in order to achieve successes in lacrosse at a high level of competition.

As a member of the Canadian Lacrosse Association’s Technical Committee, under the leadership of Hall of Famer Bill McBain, he produced, in 2004, the Association’s manual (Community Sport) on the theory and technical components of inter crosse for the National Certification Program/Community component.

As a member of the International Inter Crosse Federation’s technical committee he wrote, in 2003, the Inter Crosse rule book (in English).

The development of the game of lacrosse in the Province of Quebec, between 1968 and 2016 is largely indebted to the administrative and organizational skills of Robert Matte. From 1973 to 1980 he was a member of the Quebec Lacrosse Federation’s Technical Committee which drafted rules, bylaws, procedures, technical manuals and principles of ethics and philosophy for the game.

The Technical Committee, under his dedicated leadership, was the backbone of the positive development of the game in Quebec. Everything flowed through this committee of which Robert was the driving force.

In 1973 he created the Montreal Lacrosse Association and was the Association’s president for 8 years. He introduced the game within the City of Montreal’s Sport Department and ensured that budgets and technical resources were allocated to lacrosse to support the development of the game within 7 of the 25 arenas of the city.

What did you first think about and feel when hearing the news of your induction into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame?

 When Mr. Black called me to tell me the news, I thought it was a joke. Simply because my friends told me not to get my hopes to high for this year because it could take 2 years, 5 years or never to be inducted in the Hall of Fame. So, to make sure it was not a joke I asked this gentleman questions about Travis Cook. To my surprise, he was correct on all of them. So, that’s when I knew it was real.

I was so surprised I must have told him « Thank you! » ten times.

He told me not to tell anyone about it but I had to tell my wife since she was wondering who I was thanking so many times. We did what he told us and waited for the press release because I was in shock, still wasn’t sure of what I had just heard. And what an honor it was! You can’t go higher than the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

What are one or two special or memorable moments or achievements that you feel were special highlights in your lacrosse career?

 An achievement of which I am very proud of is the acceptance of a Lacrosse section in the multi- sport club Montreal International in 1974. All the sports represented in this club were Olympic sports with athletes and coaches working towards the 1976 Olympics to be held in Montreal and behind.

Being accepted in that club was very special since Lacrosse wasn’t an Olympic sport. It was important for us because being there made it possible to receive money from the Quebec government to make our sport grow.

Another memorable moment was when goaltenders I had coached performed well at Canada games, the Founders cup and the President’s cup. My last pupil, Alexandre Fortier, who I started coaching when he was 16 won 2 bronze medals ,one silver and one gold at the President’s cup.

Coaching goaltenders was one of my passions having been a goaltender myself for over 20 years. That part of coaching was lacking a bit, the highlight being put on players. That’s why I implicated myself in that part of the game because ,to my belief, the goaltender can be a 6th player when needed and done right.

Were there any critical decisions that changed your path?

 My first big decision was in autumn of 1965 when I accepted to replace our goaltender who was hurt. It was supposed to be for one game but it became a 20-year journey. It gave me much more pleasure to stop a shot and restart the offense than scoring a goal. That really opened my eyes on how that position was important. It was pure enjoyment even with all the bruises.

I started analyzing the weaknesses and strengths of the teams. I wanted to be the most knowledgeable person in Lacrosse. Afterwards, I decided that with that knowledge I could help other goaltenders better themselves from pee-wee to senior level.

Then, having more Lacrosse in the city of Montreal became a goal of mine. That’s when I became more of an administrator than a player or coach, although coaching and playing caught up to me later. I couldn’t stop neither.

Are there special individuals whose support or influence made a difference in your journey?

As I said in my speech, I couldn’t have done all of this alone. Many people supported and influenced me along that journey.

I was lucky enough to work for the city of Montreal in the sports department. That was like another school of learning, like the Harvard university of sports. Many of the people there were coaches of Olympic athletes or had been athletes themselves.

Whenever we met, our discussions were about sports evidently. Everyone would share their knowledge about every part of sports: training, psychology, mental and physical preparation, listening to your athletes, etc.

Those discussions were priceless to me. I was like a sponge integrating all that was said and writing everything down in my special handbook.

It’s by this sharing of information that I came to see more clearly in Lacrosse.

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