After a fantastic State Team trip to Sydney, this year Team QLD is off to New Zealand for the Pan Pacific Youth Water Polo Festival, for what is set to be a fantastic two-weeks of water polo.
Leading the teams will be eight head coaches with a wealth of experience and knowledge, including Simon Daley, Nicola Johnson, Dmitry Gorshkov and three-time Olympian, Rhys Howden.
We caught up with Rhys poolside to find out more about his involvement in the State Team programme.
You’ve put your hand up to coach the 16&U Boys, that’s great! How come you chose that age group?
“I think that the 16 Boys are a good age group. They’ve done a lot of stuff with Dmitry, probably my brother and a few other coaches, so they’ve already got those skills in place. They are keen to learn, to listen and to implement what has been said.
I thought it would be good to get involved with the 16s at that development age to try and teach them the things I know – hopefully, they can learn something from me! It’s also about giving back to the sport and putting back into Queensland.”
No doubt they will! As a coach, will you be looking to learn from the other coaches involved?
“Of course, whether you’re an athlete or a coach, you can always take something from other coaches, athletes and other teams, you are always learning. If a coach comes in saying they know everything, well they don’t know everything! They can still learn from someone else, whether it’s someone better than them or worse than them, not everyone knows everything. I think it’s a good coaching group, I believe everyone is pretty close and we will be able to help each other out.”
Obviously, you’ve travelled overseas for water polo, do you have any advice for the athletes who will be travelling overseas as a team, possibly for the first time?
“It will be fun, New Zealand will be cool. I think for the athletes to be able to travel together to a different country, just makes that whole experience pretty special. I know through my experience any country that I went to, I thought how cool is this. I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if it wasn’t for water polo.
For me, we were focused on those high-performance issues – when to eat, when to sleep – but I think the kids will be too excited to worry about any of that stuff. I think the coaches will need to calm them down more than anything and getting them focusing on water polo! But it will be fun trying to calm them down, I’m looking forward to it.”
Rhys will be the Head Coach for the 16&U Boys teams and will be joined by a fantastic line up of coaches:
Federico Ulivi – 14&U
Rhys Howden – 16&U
Dmitry Gorshkov – 18&U
Billy Miller – 20&U
Nicola Johnson – 14&U
Kristina Smith – 16&U
Emma Jackson – 18&U
Simon Daley – 20&U