Troy has been a fixture at the North Shore Winter Club for years. A hockey player and a swimmer growing up, these days Troy has traded in his flippers and skates for whistles and coffee.
In a lot of ways it’s a natural transition. After spending your childhood learning the ins and outs of a game, what better outlet for that knowledge than the youth of tomorrow, the next wave of athletes who would benefit from the advice of someone who’s been through it?
But as we know, what seems natural on paper can often be anything but. Here’s Troy on his transition to coaching.
How long have you been working at the club now?
The last two years I’ve been coaching Marlins and I coached the peewee A4’s last year. I grew up playing hockey here too. I really lucked out with that peewee A4 team because I had a lot of the kids I coached in swimming, which I was fortunate to coach as well, they just needed the help. The past two years the Marlins have been growing so much so we needed more hands on deck. I was originally an assistant with the Marlins, I wasn’t there for my technique-correcting abilities, moreso my positive vibes. But this year it was more actual coaching and not as much just helping the kids float.
What do you like more, coaching swimming or coaching hockey?
I would say coaching swimming because you can grow a relationship with the swimmers through swim meets and spending 12 hour days with them. They get way more comfortable with you. There’s better team bonding in swimming, there’s small groups who get along, in hockey it’s the whole team. I’m more comfortable with hockey over swimming, but I’m getting there. I’m not coaching hockey this year, I’m going back to school so I won’t have time. I got offered a junior B spot in the Okanagan, the North Okanagan Knights, but I didn’t practice with them or anything. So I decided to come home and play some senior men’s and play on a good team that won a championship.
So you’re going back to school?
I took a year off last year and I’m going back to school to take retail marketing and I’ll come back for swimming next summer. It’s a great summer job. I’m still swimming myself, May through August with the Marlins. With coaching I train less than normal, but I still have some top 8 finishes in the province which is nice. I care more about the kids’ swimming than my personal swimming. I’m going to Cap for now and then I’ll transfer to UBC later.
What improvements did you see out of the swimmers this summer?
A lot of the time we just emphasize the small things. The details. The kids have a tough time grasping simple concepts, so we really harp on just paying attention and focussing. As soon as they do that then they improve so much more. When the focus is higher then the technique is so much better. There’s so many things to pick up and you’re not going to perfect them all in a season, so you just want to make them better at a couple things during the year.
Sounds like you’re talking about coaching as well as competing.
Yeah I guess the same could be said for coaching. It’s a transition, an adjustment, for sure.
What rewards do you get out of coaching different sports?
I really just enjoy the kids, seeing them improve and seeing them excited when they improve is awesome. Winning games, it’s great in the dressing room, when swimmers finish top 3 in regionals and they know they’re going to provincials it’s really exciting. Towards the end of the year you really understand why you do it. Start to finish, when you see what they can do in a playoff atmosphere or in regionals, you feel, it’s kind of like …
Accomplishment. You helped to make it happen and it makes you so much happier because if it.