With the Coach is a weekly series featuring a conversation with a local coach.
Coach: Andrew Robinson, a 25-year-old Lachine resident and Concordia University student
Team: Dollard U18 girls’ water-polo team
Years coached: 6
Playing experience: National team
Best coaching tip: Empower athletes to make decisions.
Andrew Robinson, who is completing an economics undergraduate degree, dove headfirst into coaching with the Dollard-des-Ormeaux water-polo club shortly after ending his own playing days in 2009. Not only does he helm Dollard’s U18 girls, he is also head coach of Canada’s U20 women’s team. He had been a member of Canada’s men’s junior and senior teams, which took him to the Pan American Games and world championships. The Lachine native was introduced to water polo at the outdoor Dixie pool and joined the Dollard club at 14. He followed his older sister, Christine Robinson, a national women’s member and Olympian, into the sport. His long-term goal, if it’s financially viable, is to make coaching water polo a full-time occupation.
How did you get into coaching?
Robinson: I felt like I owed something to the sport. When I finished playing, I want to stay involved. I started at Valois pool in the summer and I helped out at a pool in Calgary when I was there with the national team. I found it interesting. When I came back, I heard there was an opening at D.D.O. and I asked about it. … I had a lot of great experiences playing water polo, so I wanted to try to share some of that and help people in a sport that I love.
What’s your philosophy?
Robinson: Right now we’re trying to build an environment where the kids want to come to. I firmly believe if you love what you are doing, you are going to achieve a higher level. I want to make it a fun learning environment and at the same time make it competitive.
Is age a factor for a coach not much older than his players?
Robinson: I don’t see it as a problem. I find I am able to relate to them fairly well. I feel it helps in some respects. Obviously, it may not be ideal because when there is a proximity in age, it’s like we’re friends. I get along with them, but I do not want to cross that barrier. I find it helpful at times because I’m able to relate to some of the problems they are going through, if they have an issue coming to the pool.
Have you trained for coaching?
Robinson: I am currently at level 3 certified. I’ve gone through around 10 coaching courses that last about five hours each. I’ve dedicated quite a bit of time. I also spend time with the national senior team trying to learn technical ideas and how they implement it.