Level 3 NCCP – Coaching with Shadow Water Polo Club since 2000
- · International experience in both playing professionally and coaching in Europe
- · Assistant coach, Canada Senior Men’s National ‘B’ team: 2007, 2008
- · Head Coach 16U Boys Canada National team: 2009-2010, 2010-2011
Shadow Water Polo Head Coach Francis Gross fell in love with the sport at a young age in Eastern Europe. What started as a fun team sport soon became a lifelong career, first, as a professional player, and now as an instructor and national level coach.
“Our main focus is to raise the awareness of the sport among the general public. We want people to try it, and we want the number of athletes, clubs and competition to grow as well.”
Francis feels that kids and their parents need to become aware of the basics and fundamentals of the sport to really appreciate the incredible elements it brings. The game can be structured in a number of ways, and the degree of difficulty for players varies on their experience and development. For younger newcomers – the mini-water polo program is a great entry point that can help them start in shallow water, until they build the strength and confidence for the deeper water.
Water polo is competitive in cost to other “traditional” sports typically available in Canada. It also meets or exceeds the physicality, endurance and competition of those sports as well.
While the goals of Shadow Water Polo are to raise awareness of the sport, develop athletes in a manner that allows them to be their best, test themselves regularly, and aspire to bigger, even Olympic dreams – all while having fun with a tight knit group, Francis believes Shadow Water Polo teaches an even more important function:
“Sportsmanship – to become a great athlete, it is not enough to train. It’s about having and showing respect to your coaches, your parents, each other, your training and your opponents. It’s about healthy living, proper rest, diet and building good habits. The higher you go, the stronger your relationships and positive memories.”